Summary: how Jesus amazed the people with his words and actions
February 2, 2003 Mark 1:21-28
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.
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!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet and 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.
This past Tuesday the President of the United States gave a speech to the entire country. Did you watch it? Were you impressed? Many Americans listened to what he had to say, expecting he would mainly talk about reasons why we should invade Iraq. But surprisingly he brought up different issues, like AIDS in Africa and hydrogen cars - issues that many people weren’t expecting him to talk about. Finally at the end he brought up the issue with Iraq. Then afterwards the critics came on to give their evaluation of his speech. The conservatives liked it, while the liberals ridiculed it. My one critique - without getting political - is that I wish they’d stop clapping every two seconds - boy that’s irritating.
Writing and giving a speech or performing for an audience is a difficult thing to do. When you go to a concert or a speech - there’s a whole different atmosphere to it when it’s live. Some entertainers have produced very good music but couldn’t perform it in front of an audience very well. There’s a big difference between writing a sermon and giving a sermon. Sometimes I am very excited about what I have written, but then when I give it - many aren’t as enthused. The last thing I like to see is someone’s eyes starting to go half shut - to have them slowly slink into their pew and become one with the cushion. But it’s hard to prevent sometimes.
There was something about Jesus that made Him stand out from anyone else. People would go without food - travel long distances - all to see Him. He was simply an amazing Person - which shouldn’t surprise us - since He was God. Today we’re going to look at what set Him apart from other people - what made Him simply Amazing!
Jesus is Simply Amazing
I. His words are amazing
Mark gives us the first thing that made Jesus stand apart. 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. One thing that made Jesus stand apart was his teaching.
When I looked up the word “amazed” in the Bible- I was amazed at how many times Jesus amazed the crowds. For instance, When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, God’s Word says - the crowds were amazed at his teaching (Matthew 7:28.) When Jesus went home to Nazareth to teach, Matthew 13:54 says they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. Even when he said nothing, people were amazed - as Pilate was when Jesus would not answer the Jews’ accusations.
It wasn’t the WAY that Jesus taught that was amazing - but WHAT Jesus said - that amazed the people. He would expound on God’s Word in such vivid and concrete ways - that most people had a hard time swallowing what he was saying. For instance, he told Nicodemus - an old man - that he needed to be born again if he wanted to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus thought, “what! I can’t go back into my mothers’ womb and be born again?” It was this amazing statement of Jesus that made him think and ask questions however.
Another example is when Jesus very plainly told the disciples that he would be crucified in Jerusalem. But instead of running away from Jerusalem - he went straight there. Mark 10 says that the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Jesus was talking about life and death situations - and it amazed them that Jesus would walk into such a situation.
One of my favorite examples is when Jesus told the disciples in Mark 10 - “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” And how did Jesus answer? With man this is impossible!