Monday 18 February 2013

Bible Book:

"They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority." (v. 22)

Mark 1:21-28 Monday 18 February 2013


Earlier the Gospel writer reports Jesus proclaiming, "The timeis fulfilled, and the kingdomof Godhas come near;  repent, and believe in the good news" (Mark1:14). Here Mark's Gospel doesn't talk about the contentof Jesus' teaching in the synagogue; it is more interested in themanner of the preaching and the reaction of the people.

People would have been used to the scribes, who studied the lawand taught it to the people, quoting what earlier distinguishedrabbis had said about a passage, thereby giving a second-handaccount, and relying on the eminent names to give authority to whatthey were saying. However Jesus was giving his own interpretationand speaking on his own authority. This must have appeared quiteshocking on one hand, but also very exhilarating.

It would be the equivalent in our day of a congregation used torather dry commentaries on Bible passages and doctrine hearing avisiting preacher talking with passion and conviction about livingin a relationship with God. It would have been a case of theirfaith coming alive and seeming very relevant to their daily lives.The people would probably have left that service feeling bothgreatly encouraged and also personally challenged about theirrelationship to God.

This synagogue service also brings Jesus into contact with a manwith an unclean spirit (verses 23-26). It was common at that timefor certain illness, particularly mental illnesses, to beattributed to demon possession, and so exorcism and healing wereoften linked. The spirit challenges Jesus, but also recognises, andis overcome by, his power. Through Jesus, the man is both healedand restored into a right relationship with God.

The writer is at pains to tell us that Jesus' authority is notonly recognized by the ordinary people but also by supernaturalbeings. This is presented as further evidence of who Jesus reallyis.

To Ponder

  • What do you find most helpful in a church service?
  • What makes you feel that someone is speaking withauthority?
  • How do you react to the idea of demon-possession as portrayedin this passage? Is exorcism still valid today? Or would youexpress the condition in a different way?

Previous Page Sunday 17 February 2013
Next Page Tuesday 19 February 2013