Week 28 | Section 42

Power and AuthorityJesus has gone to the Synagogue on the Sabbath but there encounters a demoniac. Astounding those present, he sets the demoniac free and word of Jesus’ authority spread throughout the region. The Good News is not limited to our salvation but our daily experience of God’s grace and power in our lives as we live Christ.


Scripture:

Mark 1:21-28
21 They went into Capernaum,1 and immediately on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue2 and taught.3¯4 22 They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes.5    23 Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,6 and he cried out, 24 saying, “Ha! What do we have to do with you, Jesus, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us?7 I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!” 25 Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”8 26 The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” 28 The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area.9
Luke 4:31b-37
31b He was teaching them on the Sabbath day, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority.10 33 In the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Ah! what have we to do with you,11   Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!”12 35 Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down in the middle of them, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 Amazement came on all, and they spoke together, one with another, saying, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 News about him went out into every place of the surrounding region.

Group Dialog:

  1. What kind of authority does Jesus have in the synagogue? In his teaching? And over evil spirits? How should this truth influence our daily lives?
  2. What is the source of (Jesus’/ of our) truth, authority, and power?
  3. What spiritual struggles do you face? How can Christ’s authority, truth, and power help you overcome these things?
  4. What is our role in relationship to the authority of Christ in our lives? In regards to truth at work within us? And in regards to the ministry to which we have been called?

Learning Objectives:

Jesus is all powerful, Jesus is Holy, Jesus is the Messiah,  submission, free will, Jesus is the source of truth, our authority in ministry comes from Christ and our association in him.


Image: The Old Veteran – The Old Veteran Cypress resides on the North Shore Trail of the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Naturalists at Point Lobos estimate the Old Veteran has already exceeded the 300 year lifespan of most Cupressus macrocarpa but he still rests through the fog, and rain, despite the eroding cliff from the waves crashing below.


Study Notes:

  1. Jesus had just come from the Sea of Galilee and he and the first disciples (Simon and Andrew, James and John) now enter the synagogue in Capernaum, which becomes Jesus’ base of ministry.
  2. Jesus’ goes to the Synagogue early on the Sabbath as was customary among the Jewish people (Luke 4:64:42-44). Though “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt 12:8), going there also gave Him opportunity to preach the good news of the kingdom of God to a group the chosen people and a people who were actively seeking God. Indeed, the people there recognizing his authority were in awe. Jesus’ very nature as being God has authority as demonstrated further as the story develops.
  3. While we are now in week 28 of our study and Jesus’ baptism was about a year before, Mark’s Gospel is just getting started. Mark wrote to a Roman audience and cut to the chase rather quickly to emphasize Jesus power and authority – something the Romans would appreciate, expect and respect in one who would be called Lord.
  4. Philo called synagogues “houses of instruction” which were primarily used for personal and communal instruction in the Law and the prophets. While the law commanded that Jews present themselves in the temple in Jerusalem three times a year,  their day-to-day worship and learning was in the local synagogue. While originally the Hebrew word for “synagogue” simply meant “assembly” or “congregation” about the time of the exile of the Jews to Babylon (607-537 B.C.E.) local synagogues became important and many were created through each region. A quorum of ten men was necessary to form a synagogue. Women sat in a separate section, and were not expected to take part. The policy that developed early in synagogue life was something called “freedom of the synagogue” which allowed for various teachers to provide an exegesis on a reading from the law, poetry, or prophets. Read more.
  5. That is he interpreted the Scripture himself and did not appeal to another authority such as an renown rabbi, or Moses. Indeed later he even clarifies the Mosaic law asserting his authority over it as well.
  6. The Gospels speak openly about the presence and activity Devil and demons.  The devil was once an angelic being, when he rebelled against God, aiming to usurp praise and power to himself he was cast out of heaven and 1/3 of the angels followed him.  If we accept angels then we must also accept the notion and activity of demons among us.  Please understand that demons and the devil are not the yin-yang of God. God is the creator, the author and authority of all creation.
  7. These demons are well aware of Jesus’ identity. They wonder if today will be their last. But God seems to have four step process for dealing with Satan and his minions 1) cast from heaven; 2) cast out of the soul of human beings; 3) overcome by the power of the cross, resurrection and ascension, 4) final judgement.
  8. Note that demons possess people but angels lead us to God and we are filled with the Holy Spirit (not angels). Thus we are filled with God the Spirit – a higher authority than the one filled with a demon(s). Don’t even enter into deliverance (exorcism) unless you are saved, sure of the grace and authority of God,  and then begin with prayer.  Many denominations insist (with good reason) that you have a priest or even a bishop present.  We won’t go any further into this practice today as not even the disciples received this training in this day. Its a lesson for a later time in ministry.
  9. its only reasonable and we will in fact see the numbers of followers and disciples grow as a result of the stories of Jesus’ miracles and teachings that people began to share as they traveled from town to town.
  10. No doubt his message was full of grace, relevant, unwavering, and majestic. He did not appeal to the wisdom of other prophets and renown teachers, saying “Hillell says __.” or “Shammai says __”.
  11. They had nothing to do with Jesus, nor did they desire to attempt to match him in battle for they would lose and this they knew for sure. But Jesus was not willing that one should perish and he took compassion on the possessed man.
  12. As written in Psalms 16:10 Jesus, the Messiah, was holy both in his divine nature as the Son of God, and as the Son of man, being born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit he without original sin, or any transgression since. As the Messiah the devil and the evil spirits knew their power was limited and in fact doomed.