Mark 1–2: Authority & Power

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 11: Saturday

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Mark 1:1

In Saturday’s Bible reading of Mark 1–2, Mark quotes a short prophecy from Isaiah as an introduction to John the Baptist, and after a few verses on John’s baptizing and preaching as a herald of the Messiah, Mark is then off and running with the ministry of Jesus Christ. Mark’s work is the shortest of the four Gospels, and sometimes you may think you need to stop and catch your breath to keep up with him—notice the frequent use of the word immediately in these first two chapters.

After Jesus calls the four fisherman, Simon (Peter) and Andrews, and James and John, they go into Capernaum, and on the Sabbath Jesus enters the synagogue and teaches.

“They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Mark 1:22

John was sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. Now a demon recognizes Jesus and makes this dramatic protest:

Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”

Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him.

They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.”
Mark 1:23–28

That evening, after the Sabbath is over, people start bringing those who are ill and those possessed by demons. Mark records that Jesus heals many and casts out many demons, not permitting them to speak.

Jesus’ ministry expands as He goes to synagogues throughout Galilee preaching and casting out demons. His authority over demons and disease is evident in this first chapter.

In the second chapter, Jesus begin His clashes with the scribes and the Pharisees. When He states He has authority to forgive sins and the scribes label this as blasphemy (not in direct confrontation, but in their hearts), He knows what they’re thinking, challenges them and authenticates His authority by commanding the paralytic to pick up his pallet and go home—which he did!

Their next objection is that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners. To which Jesus replies, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Chapter two ends with a final objection by the Pharisees to His disciples conduct on the Sabbath. Jesus silences them with His statement of the true purpose of the Sabbath, and then He tells them He is Lord of the Sabbath.

Matthew began his Gospel by calling Jesus the Messiah and beginning his authentication through Jesus’ genealogy. Mark identifies Him as Jesus Christ, the Son of God and begins his authentication through the ministry of John the Baptist and the events and interchanges that demonstrate Jesus’ authority and power.

_________
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
The Possessed Man in the Synagogue (Le possédé dans la Synagogue), James Tissot:
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Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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