Verse of the Day Devotion. Mark 1:28
“And immediately the news about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.” Mark 1:28
After the four disciples began following Jesus, He left with them and went to Capernaum. “And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach.” Mark 1:21. There must be a period of time between verse 20 and 21 because what is in verses 16–20 could not have taken place on a Sabbath. As soon as He arrived at the city, He entered the synagogue where He began to teach. It was a common practice for visiting teachers to be invited to read the Scripture and/or speak, a custom from which Paul as well as Jesus benefited. That Jesus was invited to speak indicates he had already established a reputation as a teacher and that this was not one of the first events in his ministry. Jesus was recognized as a teacher even by his opponents, although there is no evidence that he had received any formal training. And we see this in chapter 12 where the Sadducees referred to Him as teacher. “And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.” Mark 12:18-19.
Then we read in the next verse, “And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22. The people that were in the synagogue where amazed at His teaching. 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. Mark used several different Greek words to indicate that Jesus made a profound impression by his teaching. Certainly he was not a typical rabbi. The scribes derive their authority from the ‘tradition of the elders’, the fathers of Judaism, we might say; whereas Jesus receives his authority directly from the Father in heaven as we see in a previous verse. “and a voice came out of the heavens: Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.” Mark 1:11,
Then an event occurs in the synagogue that showed His authority was greater than anyone there, including the teachers in the synagogue. “And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, what do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God! And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet, and come out of him! And throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him.” Mark 1:23-26. The questions the demon asked sought to put Jesus on the defensive and force him to justify his action. The demon knew who He was, for it declared several times who He was. ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and ‘the Holy One of God’. They also asked Him, ‘what do we have to do with you?’ They wanted nothing to do with Christ as a Savior; they had no interest in him, nor in his redemption. But he had something to do with them, to show his power over them and to deliver men out of their hands. And this He does, casting them out of him. These demons knew His authority, and now the people and the teachers knew also. “And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him. And immediately the news about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.” Mark 1:27-28. I cannot say this with total assurance, but I believe God did this for the purpose of showing Jesus’ authority to those in the synagogue, as well as the Jewish leadership.
Miracles obviously play an important role in this Gospel. Mark recorded seventeen individual miracles of Jesus and summarized others. In doing so he devoted more space in proportion to total length than any other Gospel. Nevertheless he did not attempt to employ them as compelling proof of the deity or authority of Jesus. They become proof only when accompanied by faith. They are signs of the advent of the kingdom of God. Especially do the exorcisms denote the breaking down of the reign of Satan and the establishing of the reign of God. And the Scribes, Pharisees and the Sadducees saw this as a potential lessoning of their authority, and this was one of the reasons they did not accept the authority of Christ, not because He did not have it, but that it minimized theirs.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries,