January 25, 2015
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
Mark 1: 21-34
This is a study of Jesus’ ministry in the early chapters of Mark’s gospel. Mark started the gospel by introducing us to Jesus as the son of God. He continued last week with the story of Jesus calling the first disciples. This week, Jesus starts his ministry with an awesome display of his authority to teach us, to command the spiritual world, and to work amazing ways in our lives.
After his baptism and calling of disciples, Jesus now begins his ministry one day on the Sabbath in Capernaum. In these stories (Mark 1:21-34), Jesus clearly shows he can act with divine authority:
1. Jesus Has Authority in his Teaching
“The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22)
In the synagogue, the scribes taught from tradition, the law and its detailed applications to life. Unlike these speakers, Jesus taught with real, genuine, personal authority, just as he interpreted the law with simplicity and clarity throughout the gospels, e.g., in the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5) and gives his own Truth (e.g., in the parables such as the prodigal son).
As those in Jesus’ time, we innately recognize the Truth, the authority of Jesus Christ, the solid Truth on which we base our lives. Let us all go to the Word, and read Jesus’ Truth for ourselves!
2. Jesus Has Authority Over Works
“Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.’ ‘Be quiet,’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him.’ The people were all so amazed….’What is this? A new teaching—and with authority. He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.’”…. (Mark 1: 23-28)
Jesus faced a demon, just as we still have demons in the dark places of this earth. Yet he did not face them with the magical incantations of the movies, but with simple authority over the spiritual world, “Be quiet.” The demons recognized him and obeyed.
In the physical world, showed his authority by healing diseases. In Mark 1:29-34, Jesus healed both spiritual possession and physical diseases, e.g., Simon’s mother-in-law. The whole town recognized Jesus’ authority (Mark 1:33) and brought their family and friends to see Jesus proclaim real Truth and make things happen.
3. Jesus Has Authority Over Our Lives
Through these brief stories in Mark 1:21-34, Mark in his conciseness seems to be asking the reader, “Would you bring yourself, your friends, neighbors, and relatives to Jesus who is fully capable of bringing Truth into your lives and powerful enough to make things happen?”
If you knew that you had a big God with authority to speak Truth and make things happen, what need or person would you bring to him?