The man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28) cried out in fear when he saw Jesus, “have you come to destroy us?” He continued, “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
That interaction, that phrase caught my meditation afresh this morning. Mark precedes and follows the story emphasizing that Jesus ministered with authority – this exorcism exemplifying such authority. So, assuming a theme of “authority” reading this passage, I take fresh note of what appeared to intimidate the unclean spirit.
The spirit did not cry out that Jesus was the “mighty one” (although He is) or that Jesus was the “powerful one” (although He is), or that Jesus was the “wise one” (although He is). What tormented this tormentor was this: “You are the Holy One of God.” Is it plausible that the authority Jesus radiated found its epicenter in the Holiness he bore?
I wonder if (our) authority is often muted by a casual relationship with Holiness. I cannot entertain or partner with the unclean in one moment and then expect to exercise dominion over it in the next. I don’t mean that a believer should muster and trust in his or her own “holiness.” That’s just laughable. I mean that the Holy Spirit makes me Holy, and because He does, I choose to live that way. I recognize that the Holy One abides in me. I recognize that I belong to and have been made one with Christ – The Holy One of God. And I live that way because I can and because I should. The Holy Spirit makes me Holy.
I reject a casual relationship with Holiness for this reason among many: I suspect there is a causal relationship between the Holiness I am conscious of and authority I exercise.