JESUSí TEACHING AND HEALING

 

Mark 1:21-34

Key Verse 1:27

 

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teachingóand with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."

 

Last week we were introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. His message is good news to all who repent and believe in him. Today Jesus introduces us to the power and authority of his teaching and healing ministry. We will see that Jesus cared for the physical and spiritual needs of the people. And out of his love brought healing to those who could not find healing anywhere else. May we learn that Jesusí good news has authority and power to heal our brokenness and save us from our sins.

 

I. Jesus drives out an evil spirit (21-28)

 

Read verses 21-22. They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

 

Every Sabbath when the people of Capernaum gathered in the synagogue they expected a scribe, or teacher of the law, to get up and recite the law to them. This often meant a long list of ďdo nots.Ē A sample of ďdo notsĒ can be found in Leviticus. Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head, do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material, do not slaughter a sheep and its young on the same day, and do not put tattoo marks on yourselves. In addition, the teachers of the law had their own interpretations of the law that added even more regulations on the people, as if this was what the people needed to please God. But instead of drawing the people closer to God they drew them farther and farther away. Jesus says of them in Luke 11:46, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.Ē And in verse 52 he says, ďWoe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."

 

Jesusí message was much different than the Pharisees because it led people directly to the kingdom of God. It doesnít say but we can guess that his message probably sounded very similar to the message he preached in verse 15. The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news. Jesusí words didnít burden the people. Instead, his message freed them from their sin. Where the law brought condemnation, Jesusí message was full of grace and truth. In Jesus, the people could see that his message was different, that he himself was different. Jesus was different because he had authority. He had authority by the fact of who he is and by the message he preached. When he spoke, God spoke.††††

 

Someone in my group Bible study asked a very good question. Can we speak, and teach with this kind of authority? I believe we can. How do we do that? First, we must repent and believe the good news of Jesus. Then, by believing, we receive forgiveness and we receive the Holy Spirit just as Jesus did when he was baptized by John in the Jordan. Through the Holy Spirit we receive power and authority. Acts 1:8 says, ďBut you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.Ē

 

This authority that we receive is much different than the authority of the world. Because the authority of the world is self-serving. Itís all about making me look stronger, or giving me more control, or putting me in a higher position. The goal of worldly authority in other words is to put others down so that they will be below me. But what is the beauty of Jesusí authority. We find it in the key verse of Markís gospel, chapter 10 verse 45, ďFor even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Every teaching Jesus gave in the Bible has authority and even today is amazing to us because he did it first and set the example for us. We have the authority of Jesus when we follow his example and humble ourselves to serve God and to serve others.

 

As Bible teachers and Jesusí witnesses let us pray to have Jesusí authority to preach the good news of repentance and forgiveness to this generation. Let us pray to do so by the power of the Holy Spirit and with a humble attitude that is willing to wholeheartedly serve others.

 

Look at verses 23-24. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you areóthe Holy One of God!"

 

As Jesus is preaching in the synagogue, Satan tries to interrupt him. This is part of Satanís plan to look for ways to hinder the preaching of Godís word. But instead of hindering Jesusí ministry, he advances it. The evil spirit itself reveals to us why Jesus came to earth. Jesus came to destroy Satan, to free us from his grasp, and to replace his rule with the kingdom of God. This evil spirit has enslaved this man for too long, and Jesus to drive it out and replace it with the grace of Jesus. ďBe quiet!Ē said Jesus sternly. ďCome out of him!Ē The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

 

How did the people react to this? Letís read verse 27. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teachingóand with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."

 

The reaction of the crowd confirms that no one had ever been able to heal people of demon possession. And conversely that people had been oppressed under the power of Satan. Before the people were amazed at the authority with which Jesus preached. But now they were even more amazed because they saw that Jesusí words that had real authority to produce real change in this demon possessed man.

This is also the power of Godís word today. Jesusí words are not just philosophical teachings. They have real power to produce real change in people and to free them from their sin.

 

Everyone wants to be free. But not everyone realizes what they need to be freed from. Itís not freedom from your parents, or from final exams, or from taxes. Itís freedom from the power of Satan. Satan is constantly working to find new ways to enslave us. We donít often see Satan possess people with evil spirits anymore. Instead, he has found other ways to try and hinder the work of God. I think the most cunning way Satan tries to hinder us is through fear. What makes people anxious today? The economy. Related to the economy, the price of gas. Itís amazing how these two things combined affect nearly every cross-section of our society. From high school kids working part time jobs, to families on a budget, to retired folks who want to travel. Our entire nation is anxious. The cynic might ask, ďWhat good is Jesus now? Is he gonna stabilize the economy?Ē The answer is probably not. But what our generation really needs isnít an economic stimulus package. What our generation really needs is a spiritual stimulus package, and that package is Jesusí word. It drives out all our fear and anxiety. Just like it drove out the evil spirit.

 

Jesus drives out our deepest sin and fear and unbelief with the power of his words and the authority of his nature as God himself. No person or thing can do that for us. And now as much as ever college students need to hear this message. Ask Tony Pham how Jesusí words freed him and changed his life. His life testimony is a testament to the power of Jesusí word to change people in a real way. Jesus helps me in a real way too every time I start to worry about the only thing in my life that makes me worry: my baby Samantha. Before she was born I had nightmares about accidentally dropping her. Recently, I had nightmares about taking her on a plane next week. Soon, Iíll be worrying about what school sheíll attend, if her skirt is too short or her shirt is cut too low, I donít even want to talk about boys! Instead of worrying, I can only find peace in Godís word and though prayer. And I can teach her Jesusí words and keep reading her childrenís Bible to her (even though she doesnít really like it just yet).

 

Thank Jesus who came to free all people from the grasp of Satan. Thank God who called each of us to share this good news of Jesus with those who donít know him. May we the grace and authority of Jesus give us true peace and hope in the kingdom of God.

 

II. Jesus heals many (29-34)

 

Read verses 29-31. As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

 

When I first read this I thought it wasnít very important. But after reading it again and again, I see that it was important for Jesus to encourage his disciples by healing Simonís mother in law. Not only was Jesus almighty God who could drive out evil spirits, but he was also personal God who answered the disciples request to heal her.

 

By healing her, Jesus reveals his compassion and love for even one person. After a long day of preaching and driving out the evil spirit, Jesus was tired and deserved a break. Any request no matter how small could have been annoying or bothersome. I think I know how Jesus might have felt. Sundays for me are very busy days, especially on a day when I have to give the message. I have to wake up early, be sure the message is ready to go, get dressed, and get the baby ready for her babysitter. Then I go to church and give the message which can mean 30-40 minutes of speaking. Once service is over I have one thing on my mind: food, soccer and relaxation. If I am interrupted by any request, call, text message that doesnít fall into one of these three categories, then sorry! Thank God that Jesus isnít like me. Jesus reveals the depth of his love for all sinners in verses 32-34.

 

Read verses 32-34. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

 

Notice that the whole town gathered at the door bringing the sick and demon-possessed. And, whether it was one woman or many people, Jesusí heart was moved to heal their sickness and take away their suffering. Isaiah 53:4 says about Jesus, ďHe took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.Ē

 

In this situation where so many people came to Jesus, thank God again that Jesus is not like me. The logical, efficient, lawyer side of me would get a bullhorn and herd the groups of people by sickness and disease. Lepers to the left, lame and blind in the middle, demon possessed on the right, all others in the front. Then with one swooping wave of the hand I would heal them and send them on their way. But Jesusí chief concern wasnít efficiency or expediency. Jesusí concern was for each person and their needs, not his own. Luke 4 tells us that Jesus healed them by laying his hands on each one of them. This is the difference between superficial concern and sacrificial love.

 

Superficial concern treats people as just a number and seeks to do as little as possible to satisfy their most basic need. At the MVA, youíll be treated like a number. And we expect to be treated like a number. Thatís why it was so refreshing when I went to the MVA and the woman actually took the time to answer my questions and treat me like a person. She actually looked at me and didnít seem like she was in a hurry to get to the next person. Jesus was this way with each sick and demon possessed person who came to him. The people had minimal expectations for interacting Jesus. They expected to be treated with little concern for thatís how the teachers of the law had done it. They probably just wanted to be healed. How refreshing and amazing it was for Jesus to go beyond their expectations. Jesus took the time to know their names, to lay his hands on each person, and to pray for them. Jesus began healing these people just after sunset and didnít stop until well past midnight.

 

The challenge to each of us is whether or not we have superficial concern or sacrificial love for others. I realize now that without sacrificial love it is impossible to raise disciples of Jesus. Every person who ever went on to be a Bible teacher or missionary probably did so because Jesus was revealed to them through the sacrificial love of their shepherd, or pastor, or someone who showed them what Jesusí love really was.

 

Growing up, I saw this a lot in the way missionaries in our church really took the time to not just teach the Bible to college kids, but to try to understand them, to feed them when they were hungry, to give them shelter when they had no place to sleep, and to help them when they needed help. Ultimately, itís not easy to do this. Itís much easier for us to do the minimum. But itís much better for them when we treat them with love. This is the example Jesus set for us to follow.

 

Thank Jesus who loved each of us personally and held nothing back to sacrifice himself that we might be free. Through this passage, I pray that we might recognize the power and authority of Jesus and his word. May we share this message of Jesus with others and do so by the power of the Holy Spirit and with Jesusí authority. May God use us to serve one person with Jesusí love. Letís read the key verse.