Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

There are times when all of us will wonder: is Jesus the real deal? Is he really my Savior? Does he care about me when I am in an awful mess? Can I trust his promises about life and wholeness?

Mark may have a lot of reasons for writing the gospel narrative, but surely this one is at the top of his list. He wants us to know that Jesus is the real deal from God: that he will be with us when we face the worst demons of our lives, and that we will see our faith in him validated.

The people around Jesus may not have realized who Jesus was, but the unclean spirits certainly did. They shout out his identity: "you are the Holy One of God!" Meanwhile the people of Capernaum were puzzled and wondered, "What is this? A new teaching?" They scratched their heads.

It's Epiphany, the time of the year when the assigned liturgical readings pull back the curtain and show us the Holy One of God. We may have our moment of doubt and we may struggle with demons that bind us, but we can trust that Jesus will be there when we need him. We will not face the demons alone, and Jesus can free us from whatever ties us into knots. He's the real deal, and we can bank on that!

Dear Jesus, we need you in our moments of doubt. Give us courage and steadfastness so that we always trust in you, the Holy One of God. Amen.

Wendell Debner
Director Emeritus, Doctor of Ministry Program, Luther Seminary
Bachelor of Divinity , 1966

Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV)

21 They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.
22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,
24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
27 They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.