Loving God, may my thoughts and deeds be pleasing to You today. I lift Your name in joyful worship.
Read Mark 1:21-28
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Authority, like dynamite, can easily be highly destructive so it must be handled with prayer and care. That’s how wise disciples always handle Jesus’ authority.
Jesus travels with his new disciples to Capernaum, somewhere as unknown as Nazareth in terms of Old Testament records. It is later described as a proud, unbelieving city whose fate would be worse than others because of this (Matt. 11:23,24). It was not an auspicious place to start them out on their discipleship journey with him! It was customary for Jesus to attend the synagogue and later it became common for him to teach while there. Like any other Jewish male he could teach if invited to by the synagogue rulers. Yesterday, we saw his authority at work in his calling of the four fishermen, and now in the synagogue he astounds his audience with not just what he says but the authority with which he says it. The listeners were struck with amazement and wonder.
We don’t know how dissatisfied they’d previously been with their normal teaching diet nor do we know what Jesus actually said. But we do know from elsewhere that he always spoke truth, focused on important issues, stimulated curiosity by his use of popular illustrations, and undergirded everything he said with God-given authority and love (John 18:37; Luke 11:42; Mark 4:2-9). They were doubly amazed when he went on to deal with the demonic oppression experienced by an unnamed individual. It is an interesting comment on the spiritual situation at Capernaum’s synagogue that someone who was demonized and who seemed not to want to be set free could worship with no one noticing his serious condition!
Throughout his Gospel, Mark stresses the impact that Jesus had on people. Using six different Greek words he describes how Jesus constantly filled people with a mixture of wonder, awe, and fear. Tragically, this didn’t necessarily translate into belief and personal discipleship, as people quickly forgot what had impressed them.
Think back to when something Jesus said or did had a significant impact on you. What lasting change has it made in your life?
Merciful Lord, I pray for those whose personalities seem overtaken by alien powers. Your power is greater than the powers of darkness. Bring light, joy and deliverance to troubled souls.
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