TEACHING – WITH AUTHORITY
Unto You Lord, not to anything or anyone else, be all the honor, praise, and glory. You alone are worthy.
Read MARK 1:21–28
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.’1 Worship the King who has brought God’s rule to earth.
Jesus’ move to Capernaum is a strategic decision. Unlike Nazareth, tucked away behind the hills, Capernaum is a bustling town on the trade route between Phoenicia and Syria. When Jesus chooses it for His ministry, He is selecting a place where His message would have maximum impact on both Jews and Gentiles. As a part of Galilee, it is now ruled (under the Romans) by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. It was Herod Antipas who beheaded John the Baptist and who reappears in the story at Jesus’ trial.2 Jesus is well aware of the threat that Herod poses,3 but does not allow it to deter Him from ministry.
The story presents us with two interconnected events. On entering the synagogue, Jesus begins teaching. To His Jewish hearers, His message is new. As we read on in Mark, we will often discover where His message differs from that of the Pharisees. Instead of detailed exposition of the Mosaic Law, hedged around with prescriptive details to prevent accidental transgression, Jesus’ fresh teaching, with its vivid illustrations and bold metaphors, will catch people’s attention and make His words memorable. They are all familiar to us, and we need to put ourselves in the situation of people hearing them for the first time.
It isn’t just His preaching that is memorable, however. When you hear someone who is mentally ill disturbing the proceedings in a public place, you remember that occasion for its bizarre oddity – but you have probably never witnessed anything like what happens here. This is no ordinary exorcism: the evil spirit just obeys Jesus’ word. The people watching are more than just surprised. The Greek word for ‘amazed’ used here (27) suggests an element of fear and apprehension. People actually sit up and take notice. Jesus has authority
How have you known Jesus’ power and authority? Maybe He is calling you to some new venture; pray that you may be willing to follow Him.
Sovereign Lord, I bow in amazement before Your powerful workings. You are the God whose purposes are never thwarted.
1 Charles H Gabriel, 1856 – 1932 2 Luke 23:7–12 3 See Mark 8:15
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