Summary: The teaching and spiritual authority of Jesus as described in Mark 1.

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“Amazing Authority”

March 30, 2008

Me: I have seen some amazing things in my life.

• Jesus stature in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue stands 130 ft tall, weighs 700 tons, and is located at the peak of the 2,296 ft Corcovado mountain.

* Niagara Falls

• Diamond Head in Hawaii

You: What are some of the most amazing things you have ever seen? Share them real quick with a person sitting around you.

Whenever we see something truly amazing, we get overwhelmed. It leaves a profound impact on us. We are often able to go back in our minds and relive the experience.

God: Today we are going to look at a passage of scripture where people are amazed by Jesus. We are in our study of the book of Mark and today we are going to see what happened when the divine, the human, and the demonic collide.

Let me give you a little background. Jesus is in Galilee where he has called his first disciples. They have left their homes and have followed him to the village of Capernaum. On the Sabbath day, Jesus goes into the synagogue and begins to teach.

Let me give you a little historical background. The concept of synagogue for the Jewish nation evolved out of the exile period where the Israelites were taken into Babylon and other areas. Since they could not worship in the temple, they developed the idea of synagogue where the community would gather to pray and study the Torah. As Jewish villages became repopulated, synagogues grew into a foundation of village life.

It was very common to have a teacher come into the synagogue to teach. It was a Jewish custom often referred to as the “freedom of the synagogue.” Jesus as well as his disciples used this to proclaim the message of the arrival of the Messiah.

This is where we find Jesus in our scripture today.

“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.” Mark 1:21-22

The people were amazed at the authority of Jesus’ teaching.

Jewish teachers taught using the authority of the rabbi who trained them. They would quote rabbi so and so as the authority of their message.

Jesus did not quote any other rabbi, but spoke with the direct authority of God.

The teaching of a rabbi was called his yoke.

Jewish teachers took the law of God and added their interpretations to it. This was called that particular rabbis yoke.

In the day of Jesus, the Jewish law contained about 630 different laws. However, God had given only ten laws that were to be followed. The rest of the development of the law was based on the teaching and interpretations of the rabbis. The law became so immense that no one could keep it all. Jewish teachers constantly held it over the heads of the people that they were not keeping the law. Jesus however, put the law into two aspects:

“Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus teaching was not one that was overbearing and difficult. It was one that gave freedom to love God and love other people.

Look at this verse in the historic context of the teaching being a yoke:

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30

The teachings of Jesus are not meant to cause us to struggle, but are meant to give us freedom.

As Jesus was teaching, a man possessed with a demon entered and interrupted the gathering.

“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 are--the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” Mark 1:23-28

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