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Study of Mark: Mark 1:21-28 May 12, 2009

Posted by Warren in The Gospel of Mark.
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Mark 1:21-28 ESV
(21) And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.
(22) And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
(23) And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
(24) “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 out with a loud voice, came out of him.
(27) And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
(28) And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Mark starts right in on the teaching and preaching ministry of Christ. Note that Mark does not follow any chronological order — he records events more in a thematic order. The ministry in Galilee is recorded first.

The first thing I noticed is that the people were all astounded by his authority. They were used to being taught by the scribes, whose teachings were largely based on the teachings of others. Their authority resided in their education. Jesus’ authority was different. He relied on nobody (see verse 27 — ‘A new teaching with authority!’).

The people weren’t the only ones who noticed. Verses 23 and 24 tell us of a man who had an unclean spirit — a demon. The demon knows exactly who Christ is. It knows why Christ is there, and it knows it’s in trouble. Hoping to buy a pardon, it bears public witness to Christ’s identity. Jesus doesn’t want that kind of witness.

The demons of Hell know Jesus is the Christ. They oppose Him for that reason. This attempt by a demon to escape judgment shows that Christ knows the motivations behind everything that we do — he knew the demon was being self-serving, hoping to avoid punishment. He rebuked the demon, and cast it out of the man.

This brought about more amazement and speculation about Christ’s authority. The people in the synagogue knew of only two entities who had that kind of power over demons — God and Satan. Christ had to be one of the two. Unfortunately, as we will see later, many people chose the wrong option, and attributed Christ’s miracles to the power of Satan, rather than God. People are always trying to find other sources for God’s blessings on us, rather than giving praise to God. We need to be careful that we are not giving Satan credit for more than he is capable of accomplishing, and that we give God proper honor and glory.

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