Year B – Epiphany 4 – Mark 1:21-28

“21They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.”

Summary – Jesus goes to Capernaum and according to tradition, on the Sabbath, He goes into the synagogue and begins to teach.  The people were amazed by His teaching because He taught as One superior in knowledge and with authority yet to be experienced by those awaiting Messiah. At that time there was a man with an unclean spirit. The spirit calls out to Jesus in a sense as if saying, “what are you doing here, I know who you really are and I do not want to hear from you!” The very thing that man with the unclean spirit needed was deliverance by the hand of Jesus but the evil spirit speaks out and challenges Him. Jesus in the authority of the Most High God rebukes the spirit who with no power over the Christ angrily causes the man to violently shake and as ordered by Jesus the spirit comes out of the man.  Everyone there was amazed and wondering if this was a new teaching.  Jesus became famous, and the news spread throughout the region.

Insight – Jesus’ message was revolutionary and it still is but He did not upset the religious system of that time at that time. Jesus taught in an organized manner and did so within the established religious order even though right practice had been distorted by the religious leadership of that time. Jesus’ sermon is remembered not altogether for what he said, but for how he said it. Rather than offer a personal opinion on a subject, the religious teachers of that day relied on a whole series of quotations from great men of the past to support their teaching. Jesus relied on the authority of God according to the written Word alone and the people responded quickly to his fresh style. He then both supported and demonstrated His/God’s authority by casting out the unclean spirit.

Child’s Catechism – How did Jesus teach? He taught as one having authority.

Discussion – Where can we find truth to rely on as an authority in all areas of life? In what ways do you show that you trust God’s authority in your life?

Prayer – O God O Lord, we thank you Jesus for being faithful to your calling and standing against all evil in every age. Give us this day the faith we need to trust Scripture for every area of our lives as You did in obedience even unto death. Help us, O Lord, lead and empower us to spread the truth of Your Word faithfully in our everyday walk and lives. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Contributed by Tom Miller, MA

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