The Gospel of Mark #4:
Jesus’ Authority Over Demons
Text: Mark 1:21-28
Thesis: To demonstrate that Jesus’ authority extends even to the spirit world in order to
encourage all people to enthrone Him as Lord.
(1) Jesus is now in Capernaum, which seemed to be “his headquarters during much of his Galilean ministry” (Brooks 49).
(a) In Matthew 9:1, Capernaum is described as Jesus’ own town.
(b) It “was a lakeside town on the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee” (Black 55).
(2) He goes into the synagogue and taught with authority.
(a) “The synagogue was a place of informal worship and instruction” (Brooks 50).
1) It originated during the Babylonian exile.
2) A common practice was for visiting teachers to read Scripture and/or teach.
(b) “The reason for the astonishment was that Jesus taught on the basis of his own authority and not by citing previous scholars as did the other teachers of that day” (Brooks 50).
(3) While in the synagogue, Jesus came across a man who was demon-possessed:
I. The Story:
A. “His opening burst, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?,’ was a common Old Testament formula which was roughly equivalent to, ‘You have no business with us yet!’ The evil spirit wanted Jesus to go away” (Hughes 1:42).
B. “The demon tried unsuccessfully to oppose Jesus by employing his name” (Brooks 51).
1. Jesus silences the demon immediately.
2. “Even true testimony from satanic beings could only discredit Jesus in the eyes of most” (Brooks 51).
C. Also, Jesus commands the demon to come out of the man.
1. This is 1 of the 4 “exorcisms” in Mark.
2. “There is no incantation, no ritual, no ‘props’ of any kind, simply an authoritative word of command” (France 104).
D. “The people in the synagogue were amazed and afraid. They realized that something new had appeared on the scene – a new doctrine and a new power” (Wiersbe 113).
II. The Application:
A. Jesus is the only one with all authority (cf. Matt. 28:18).
1. Jesus is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Eph. 1:21).
2. Therefore, we must obey Him!
B. What about demon possession today?
1. Demons were/are disembodied spirits being “capable of volition, communication, and even fear” (Goodwin 395).
2. Their origin [2 main theories]:
a. Fallen Angels –
(1) Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4 refer to wicked, fallen angels.
(2) However, there is no reference to angels ever entering humans and their characteristics are different from those ascribed to demons.
b. Departed Spirits of Wicked Men (Pre-flood?) –
(1) “The word ‘demon’ actually has the history of referring to the departed, or disembodied, spirits of the dead” (Goodwin 400).
(2) This was a common view in early church history (e.g., Josephus, Philo, Justin the Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen).
3. Demons seem to have been a New Testament phenomenon.
4. Demons were cast our by the commands of Jesus and the apostles and with prayer and faith (cf. Mark 9:29; Matt. 17:19-20).
5. There is no reference to a Christian ever being possessed (after all, we have the Holy Spirit in us).
6. Do they still possess people today?
a. Some suggest that Zechariah 13:1-2 teaches a cessation of demon possession, but this is too vague of a reference to be certain.
b. Others suggest that demon possession had to end when miracles ended.
7. Regardless, Jesus is more powerful; therefore, if we follow Him, then we will be victorious.
(1) Will you submit to the authority of Jesus?
(2) If so, will you obey Him today?