Summary: We are known by the power of our words just as Jesus make himself known through the power of his words.

Title: The Power of Words

Title: Mark 1:21-28

Thesis: We are known by the power of our words just as Jesus made himself known through the power of his words.


I have a friend who is taking a rather extensive seminar that, from what I can gather, is designed to help a person reach his full potential in life. One of the weeks the participants were given instruction regarding the power of words and in particular, the “negative” power of words. There were three words they were forbidden to use for one week. And if they used those words, they had to self-monitor and pay $2 every time they used one of those words. He told me that at the end of the week he had to fork over $38.

The three words were:

• “Can’t”

• “But”

• “Try”

As in, “I can’t but I will try.” Often our first inclination is to find an excuse for why we cannot achieve something.

Fortunately Jesus did not think in terms of “I can’t,” “but,” or “I’ll try.”

In our text today it could be said that Jesus was launching his campaign… a campaign not to be confused with American politics and or sullied by the influence of a Super Pac.

The book of Mark unpacks a whole series of logical steps very quickly. Other gospels accounts offer a more complete narrative. But we see in chapter 1 that John the Baptist was the prophetic “voice in the wilderness” that told us that the Messiah was coming. Jesus came and was baptized. He then went into the wilderness for forty days of testing after which he emerged filled with God’s Spirit and ready to begin his earthly work. He chose his twelve disciples and then it was only natural that he kicked off his campaign in a synagogue.

In Jewish culture the temple is the place of worship and sacrifice and the synagogue is the place of teaching and instruction. A typical synagogue experience consisted of prayer, the reading of scripture and an exposition or a teaching of that scripture. In that the synagogue had no in house teacher the Ruler of the synagogue would generally invite any person of competence to teach. If a man had a new message to preach the synagogue was the place to preach it or teach it.

He apparently became a regular teacher at the synagogue. Mark 1:21 tells us that every Sabbath he went to the synagogue and taught the people…. and the people were amazed at his teaching because his teaching had real authority.

On one occasion a man described as having an evil spirit disrupted his teaching and began to heckle Jesus but his heckling was short-lived in that Jesus essentially told him to “shut-up!” The man fell to the ground in convulsions and it says the evil spirit left the man. All of which further impressed the listeners who marveled even more at Jesus’ authority. And we see that this event was an epiphanal moment in which the news of what Jesus had done spread quickly throughout the entire area. Mark 1:28

Jesus spoke with authority. His words were powerful in silencing and exorcising an evil spirit that possessed a man. And as we follow the life and work of Jesus through the gospels we see that the words he spoke were powerful words of deliverance, grace, encouragement and instruction.

Transition: So what may be said of our words?

I. Your words have the power to build-up

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:23-32

Illustration: Sean and Liegh Tuohy, the real-life couple portrayed in the movie Blindside, share in their book “In a Heartbeat” the story of a young man who had aged out of foster care. He was no longer eligible for support and having no family to encourage him was fortunate to be hired by a state senator as an intern.

One morning the senator breezed into the office and as he passed through the mailroom he saw the young man already there and hard at work. Impressed, the senator said to the intern, “This is amazing – the mailroom has never looked so clean. You did a great job.”

A few minutes later the senator came back through the mailroom and found the young man in tears. Thinking he may have said something to hurt the young man he asked, “Did I say something to offend you?” “No sir,” the young man replied, “That’s the first time in my life anyone has ever told me I did something good.”

The authors commented, “A little bit of attention and a kind word – that is how little it takes to affect someone’s life for the better.” ((Men of Integrity, “How Little It Takes,” November/December 2010)

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