As Mark continues to share with us the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he continues with His ministry around the Sea of Galilee. And as we continue looking at Jesus, we are going to see over and over again that His lifestyle authenticated His preaching. He lived what He taught. It was the passion of His heart, it is what drove Him, and His life testified of that fact. And of course, there was no one before Jesus or after Him that preached like Jesus did, as we are going to see.
Now something we need to keep in mind is we can know the Word of God and we can speak the Word of God so often that we become comfortable, insensitive to it in our own lives, reaching a point where it no longer impacts our life. We may allow Gods Word to point out all the sin in the lives of others, but when it comes to our sins, we can justify them or ignore them. Be very careful. We must allow the Word of God to impact our own hearts and transform us before we go and remove the speck out of someone elses eye when we have a telephone pole in our own eye.
Mark is also going to show us the authority Jesus has over both the physical and spiritual world. That he truly is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He created the heavens and earth, and thus, He holds everything together. As Colossians 1:17 points out, "And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." In saying all that, lets dig into the Gospel according to Mark, looking at chapter 1 and beginning in verse 21.
1. Capernaum was a city located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was also the new home town of Jesus. In fact, it became the hub of His Galilean ministry. Now we know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and He grew up in Nazareth, why did He leave Nazareth?
The reason He left Nazareth was he was rejected by family, by friends, by the community in general. In Luke chapter 4 we see Jesus go into the synagogue on the Sabbath day in Nazareth, and He reads from the scroll of Isaiah, and He tells the people that He is the fulfillment of what the prophet Isaiah spoke about, He is the Messiah. And we read beginning in verse 28 of Luke chapter 4, "So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way. Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths." Luke 4:28-31.
That brings us up to where we are at in Mark, as Jesus was rejected in Nazareth. John the baptist is thrown into prison by Herod. And Jesus heads to Capernaum to begin His Galilean ministry.
As was the custom of Jesus, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day to teach, to expound on the Scriptures that were being read. Now you can go to Israel today, and in the city that once was Capernaum, you will find a second century synagogue that was built upon a first century synagogue, the one that Jesus taught in. Also, one of the rulers in this synagogue in Capernaum was Jairus, whose daughter was raised from the dead by Jesus. The results of what Jesus said to the crowd that had gathered in the synagogue is found in verse 22.
1. The people were "astonished", it is the Greek word EXEPLESSONTO, which carries with it the idea of being struck with terror or startled. In our vernacular we might say that "Jesus blew their minds!" Why would that be when they had teachers, the Scribes who spoke the Words of God? The Scribes were schooled in the written Law and the oral interpretation that came from it. Thus, the knowledge they had was transferred from Scribe tradition and they would simply quote knowledge that was passed down from their predecessors. An example of this is found in Matthew 5:21, where Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment."
But Jesus was much different. He taught with authority. He didnt have to quote what others thought the Scriptures said, but taught with authority that stands alone. Again, in Matthew 5:22 Jesus continues that thought when He says, "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca! shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, You fool! shall be in danger of hell fire." You see, the Scribes quoted others, Jesus spoke with the authority of God.
2. The other thing we need to remember is the religious leaders placed heavy burdens upon people, burdens they themselves couldnt even keep. Jesus, on the other hand, explains the Word of God, and instead of beating the people, He gives them hope, joy, peace. And when they heard Jesus speak in this manner, with that kind of authority, it blew their mind because they never heard anyone speak like that.
1. Remember when we were studying the temptations that Jesus went through by Satan in the wilderness, and when Jesus defeated him with the Word of God, we are told that "Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time." Luke 4:13. This is that opportune time. Right in the middle of Jesus teaching, here comes this demon possessed man screaming, "Let us alone!" Dont be surprised that when you are doing the work of God, the demonic forces are going to try to stop you. They tried to stop Jesus and He put them to silence!
2. Who are these demons? Some say they are the spirits of the dead that were evil. I dont think so. I think they have been watching too many scarey movies that have influenced their thought. Most likely they are part of the angelic realm that rebelled against God when Satan rebelled against God. In Revelation 12:3-4 we read of this event taking place, looking back on it. We read "And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born."
Now some of these demons, these fallen angels, can posses human bodies, or those that are unsaved. Not everyone that is unsaved is demon possessed, but the possibilities are there as you turn from God and open yourself up to the spirit world. I dont believe that Christians can be demon possessed, for if Christ is in you He is not going to share the throne of your heart with a demon. And if you are a child of God, why would God allow that? He wouldnt!
3. Also, they recognize who Jesus is, that He is the Holy One of God, that Jesus is God! At least they are honest about that fact. Secondly, they recognize their time is limited. The word "destroy" carrys with it the idea of running or putting them out of business. You better believe they are worried about that. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and one day He will put them away, cast them into the Lake of Fire for eternity!
1. Dont ever make Jesus equal with Satan or his demons. They are created beings, Jesus is the eternal God. He is no match for them. It is the power of God that set this man free. What lesson can we learn from this? Keep Jesus between you and the devil!
1. They never saw that kind of teaching, with authority, and they never saw that kind of authority over the spirit realm. What Jesus said He was able to do. His words were not empty. And they were totally amazed at what they heard and saw.
2. The result of this was His fame began to spread. You see, when Jesus begins to work, people begin to take notice. That is what should happen in all of our lives. That as we begin to serve the Lord, as we walk by faith, people will stand still and take notice. They will be intrigued by you. And when your words match up to your actions, they will see that your faith is real! Jesus put it this way in Matthew 5:16. He said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
1. As soon as Jesus finished up in the synagogue, they walked over to Peters house, which also was in Capernaum, to have the Sabbath meal. And Peter brings his friends, James and John, and his brother Andrew, along with Jesus for this meal. And as they arrive, Peters mother-in-law is very sick, she could have possibly died from this illness, whatever it was. And thus, she could not serve the Sabbath meal. What did they do? Call 911? No! Give her some chicken soup and let this thing work its way out of her? No! They go to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, and He touches her and heals her.
The result of this is she serves the Lord and those that were with Him. Anytime anyone is truly touched by Jesus the end result will always be service to others. Ministering to the needs of others, as Peters mother-in-law did.
2. One other note, this tells us that Peter was married, he had a mother-in-law!
1. Now during the Sabbath you could not walk long distances. So after the Sabbath, which took place at sundown, the people came to Peters house with their loved ones who were sick, demon possessed, and brought them to Jesus. And the way the Greek is structured here is implying a continual gathering of people, one after another, they just kept coming to Jesus.
2. Now we see that many who came to Jesus He healed them physically, but we dont know how many lives were transformed spiritually. We dont know how many actually surrendered their lives to God, repented of their sins. It is great to be healed physically, but if you are spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins, you will die again, and still be eternally separated from God.
3. In Luke 10:15 we read "And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be thrust down to Hades." Why did this happen? Because they saw the power of God with their eyes but it never truly changed their lives. And God judged them for that. Today Capernaum is a ghost town you can visit and see what life was like. You can see the second century synagogue, but the city today is dead because they refused the light of this world, Jesus Christ. Lives did not change, they missed the lesson that Jesus was showing them. May we not miss it!
4. As we bring this to a close this evening, understand this. Jesus did not perform miracles to impress people with His power, but to authenticate His ministry. When John the baptist was in prison, put there by Herod, he got discouraged. He wasnt sure if Jesus was the Messiah, for things were not going like John had planed. The kingdom was not being established. So John sends his disciples back to Jesus to ask Him if He really is the one or should they be looking for another. We read in Matthew 11:4-6 of that encounter, "Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." In other words, Jesus was the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets spoke about. He is the Messiah! He is God!