Small Group Leader Study Guide
Date: March 17, 2019
Series: Son of God, Servant of Man: Gospel of Mark
Bible Text: Mark 1:21-34
This Week’s Printables:
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to follow Jesus for a single day during His earthly ministry? If so, this is your opportunity. You can almost hear Mark introduce this section of Mark 1 with the following words, “Jesus gave us permission to let our cameras follow him as he ministered on this Sabbath. His day begins early in the Capernaum Synagogue where he taught the crowds with great authority and cast out a demon from a possessed man. We then go for an after service lunch at the home of Simon and Andrew, where he miraculously heals a woman. Finally, we end the long day with huge crowds gathering outside the door. He healed many and cast out many demons. All this in just one day, and you will be with Jesus each step of the way.”
As you read through this week’s text, notice the keywords: immediately, astonished, amazed, authority.
Memory Verse for This Week
Mark 1:22 – And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
Core Practice: Worship
Possessions (Luke 16:11–12): I seek to maintain an eternal perspective on money and possessions, realizing God has give me all that I have, and that he expects me to manage it wisely for His glory.
Have you ever heard or seen something that amazed you? Share your experience with your group.
Have you ever witnessed something you suspected might be of a supernatural nature? What made you think this and how did you respond?
Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead to one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
Read the Text
The next set of verses describe one day in the life of Jesus. A Sabbath day and a busy day filled with ministry. Read Mark 1:21-34.
Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Spirit
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Jesus Heals Many
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
Immediately, Mark dives into Jesus’ earthly ministry. He started by teaching in the synagogue. Mark tells us the people were “astonished” at His teaching. Why do you think His teaching was astonishing?
The word “astonished” (ekplessonto) is a strong and expressive word. Its literal meaning is to be struck in mind, to be astonished. The people were stricken, stirred, aroused, moved by the Lord’s teaching.
Jesus astonished the crowd for two reasons.
- His message was very different
- His authority was strikingly different. Note the words, “He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Five comparisons will show this.
- Tradition vs. authority. Other teachers relied upon esteemed men, their traditions and teachings, and quoted them as their source of authority; but not Jesus. He taught with a personal authority; He spoke independently of all others. He spoke with a certainty, a positiveness, a finality that no one else had ever done.
- Form vs. power. Other teachers stressed ritual, ceremony, and form. Jesus stressed the need and availability of power to overcome the trials and sufferings of life.
- Humanism (laws) vs. the spiritual (truth). Other teachers reasoned and formulated law after law, teaching that these were the way to real life. Jesus spoke about matters of the heart and life, of the soul and spirit. The answers He gave were spiritual truths, not human thought and rationalism.
- Religion vs. life. Other teachers preached their religion; Jesus preached life—a life to be lived abundantly and eternally.
- Profession vs. possession. Other teachers professed to follow God, but they twisted and interpreted the law of God to their own liking. What they followed was their own man-made religion. They were anything but followers of God. Jesus practiced and lived what He taught. His life was so different from other teachers that people sat up and took notice of what He had to say.
[The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Mark, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “II. THE SON OF GOD’S OPENING MINISTRY: JESUS’ IMMEDIATE IMPACT, 1:21-3:35”.]
A word about Synagogues.
After spending the past two years in the Old Testament, the concept of a Synagogue may be foreign to some of you. Synagogues will play a prominent role in the New Testament as the meeting place for the Jews.
In the Old Testament, we saw both the Tabernacle and the Temple as the primary place of worship for Jews. As we enter into the gospels, the Temple still stood in Jerusalem, and Jesus will minister in the Temple, but as we progress in the New Testament, we will see the Synagogues take a prominent role.
Technically, a Synagogue is any building where a gathering took place. Often these were in homes. In fact, if ten Jewish men lived in a community, they were bound by law to conduct a synagogue meeting someplace. If there were enough Jewish citizens in a place and the local laws allowed, they constructed a synagogue building.
As one reads the New Testament, there are two important facts to remember about the synagogue. (1) Its primary purpose was to teach the Word of God. All other functions were secondary. (2) There was no permanent preacher or teacher. It was the practice to call upon both local and visiting teachers to give an exposition of the Scripture.
Here is a brief explanation of the role Synagogues played in the New Testament:
SYNAGOGUE Transliteration of the Greek word sunagoge, meaning “a gathering together.” It is used more than 50 times in the NT, mostly for the religious gathering places of Jewish communities in Palestine and throughout the Dispersion. The word sunagoge is usually the Greek rendering of Hebrew words in the OT that speak of the assembling or assembly of the people.
Origins and Early History. It is unknown just how or when the synagogue as an institution first began. One can imagine the situation in Jerusalem after the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The people who remained in and around the city who wanted to keep true to their faith would have felt the need to meet for worship, where they would continue to teach the law and the message of the prophets. Some think, therefore, that synagogues may have had their origin in such a situation. Jewish people in the various places of the Dispersion would have been aware of a similar need. Jewish elders met together with Ezekiel in exile in Babylon (Ez 8:1; 14:1; 20:1). Yet there is no positive evidence of actual synagogues at this early stage. In Nehemiah 8:1–8 the postexilic community gathered in Jerusalem, and Ezra the scribe brought the law, read it from a wooden pulpit, and gave an interpretation so that the people understood the reading. When Ezra blessed the Lord, the people bowed their heads and worshiped. These were the basic elements of what came to be synagogue worship. The first undisputed evidence of a synagogue comes from Egypt in the third century BC. From the first century BC onward, the evidence of synagogues is abundant.
Synagogues in NT Times. The Gospels give the impression of many synagogues existing throughout Palestine. Jesus frequently taught in synagogues (e.g., Mt 4:23; 9:35), especially during his Galilean ministry, but probably in Judea as well. In John 18:20 are the words of Jesus in his trial before the high priest: “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together” (RSV).
The Acts of the Apostles refers to synagogues in Jerusalem (Acts 6:9), Damascus (9:2), Cyprus (13:5), the Roman province of Galatia (13:14; 14:1), Macedonia and Greece (17:1, 10, 17; 18:4), and Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia (19:8). Paul made it his practice to go directly to the synagogue and to preach there as long as he was given freedom to do so.
Synagogue Worship. The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles give abundant evidence for the meeting of Jewish people on the Sabbath to worship in the synagogue. People also met for worship on the second and fifth days of the week. Luke provides us with the earliest description of a synagogue service. The Mishnah describes the pattern of the synagogue service: the confession of faith, the Shema (which included reciting Deuteronomy 6:4–9; 11:13–21; and Numbers 15:37–41); prayer (such as the 18 Benedictions); Scripture reading (the reading of the Law was basic, see Acts 15:21, and was read according to a three-year cycle; the Prophets were also read, but more at random); interpretation (as the knowledge of biblical Hebrew diminished in Palestine, an Aramaic translation of the Scriptures was presented after the reading in Hebrew, and in the Dispersion, a Greek translation); address (following the reading, anyone suitably qualified might address the people, as Jesus and the apostle Paul often did); and blessing.
Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 1229–1230.
Describe the opposition Jesus encounters as He begins His public ministry.
As we will see in our study of Mark, there were two primary forces opposing Jesus during His earthly ministry: evil spirits and the professional clergy (Scribes & Pharisees). This week, we see his first encounter with evil spirits.
If you are reading the text carefully, there should be something that both surprises and alarms us: the man with the demonic spirit was in the Synagogue participating in the worship service. Jesus didn’t meet this man out in some seedy part of town known for its wickedness and corruption. No, Jesus met Him at the Synagogue!
There are few references to demons/devils/evil spirits in the Old Testament. Later in church history, the instances of demonic possession are rare. Yet, as RC Sproul observes, “while Jesus was on the earth, it is safe to say, ‘all hell broke loose.’ Demonic representatives and Satan himself seemed to oppress people everywhere. Jesus Himself announced the significance of His work of demon exorcism by saying to His hearers, ‘If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you'” (Matt. 12:28). R. C. Sproul, Mark, First Edition., St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2011), 26.
It is also interesting to note that the evil spirits were among the first to publicly recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Holy One of God. In fact, upon seeing Jesus, the demon immediately confessed him in front of everyone. This reinforces the teaching of Philippians 2:11 in which Paul tells us that when Jesus is ultimately revealed in His full glory, every tongue will confess and every knee shall bow to Him.
Notice also the use of the plural pronoun:
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God” Mark 1:24.
Does this imply that the man was possessed by multiple evil spirits or that this evil spirit was speaking on behalf of the kingdom of darkness? RC Sproul argues for the second option.
I suspect that he was representing the whole kingdom under the domination of the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this world, Satan himself (Eph. 2:2).
On behalf of Satan and his legions of demons, this man—this demon—screamed against Jesus, basically saying: “What do You have to do with us? What do we have to do with You?” The answer to these questions was, in one sense, absolutely nothing. The demons had nothing in common with Christ—they represented two different realms, the realm of Satan and the realm of God. The only relationship the demons had with Christ was one of conflict, and now they were faced with defeat and judgment. The demons recognized that they were under God’s sentence. They knew that when the Son of God appeared on the earth, their doom would be certain, for Christ was coming to bind the strong man, Satan, with all of his hellish powers (3:27) [Sproul, 26].
Jesus immediately silenced the demon (1:25). He did not want and would not allow the testimony of evil spirits.
What is extraordinary about Simon’s Mother-in-Law?
Mark 1:29-31 gives us another glimpse into this busy day in the life of Jesus. Mark tells us,
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. Mark 1:29-31
What I fine extraordinary in this text is the acknowledgement of Simon’s mother-in-law. If you are familiar with church history, you know that Roman Catholics believe Peter became the first pope of the Christian church and that the papacy was established upon him. What is extraordinary (and ironic) is that the first pope, whom Catholics believe was Peter, was married!
To this day, Catholicism demands all of their priests and their pope maintain a vow of celibacy. They cannot marry.
Was Peter the first Pope?
The verses Catholics cite to claim Peter became the first pope is Matthew 16:18-19–“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
According to Catholic teaching, “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” mean “supreme authority on earth over the earthly empire of God. The person who possesses the power of the keys has the full power of allowing a person to enter the empire of God or to exclude him from it [and] . . . the power to forgive sins must also be included in the power of the keys” (Ott, 1960, 418).
The entire authority structure of the Catholic church more closely resembles the imperial structure of Europe’s aristocracy more than a biblical leadership structure for the church. Rather than having a King, Prince, Duke, Count, etc., the Roman Catholic church designates a Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests. The Roman Catholic church is modeled after the kingdoms of Europe rather than the Kingdom of Heaven.
In their book, When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretations, Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes correct this misinterpretation of Scripture:
That Jesus’ disciples were given the power to pronounce the forgiveness of or retaining of sins by Christ is not disputed by Protestants. What is disputed is whether this is a unique power now possessed by those with proper ordination, such as Roman Catholic priests. There is absolutely nothing in this text to indicate that it is.
It is important to observe that Jesus gave this same power to all the apostles (Matt. 18:18), not just to Peter. So, whatever this power was it was not unique to Peter.
In fact, everyone who proclaims the gospel has the same power, for the gospel “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16 NIV). Indeed, Paul defined the gospel in terms of Christ dying and rising “for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:1–4). So every preacher of the gospel—clergy or laity—has the power to say, on the basis of a person accepting Christ’s death and resurrection for them, that their sins are forgiven. Likewise, all who evangelize can say to those who reject the gospel that their sins are retained. For, as the apostle Paul said, messengers of Christ are “the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death” (2 Cor. 2:15–16).
The Catholic claim that the Old Testament priesthood is somehow “translated” into a New Testament priesthood on the basis of Hebrews 7:12 misses the whole point of this passage. The writer of Hebrews is arguing that both the law and the Old Testament priesthood are done away with by Christ, our great High Priest, for he writes: “When there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law” (Heb. 7:12 NIV). He then goes on to say “a former commandment is annulled . . .” (v. 18). Christ did not translate Aaron’s Old Testament priesthood into a new one for priests in the New Testament. The whole point of this section of Hebrews is to show that Christ, by perfectly fulfilling what the Old Testament priesthood prefigured (cf. 7:11, 18–19), did away with it and replaced it with his own high priestly office, after the order of Melchizedek, not after Aaron (7:17–28).
Indeed, a vivid contrast is made here between the repeated offerings of the Aaronic priests and the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ our High Priest that should cause serious pause for Roman Catholics who believe that Catholic priests offer up continually the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass. The Book of Hebrews declares: “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but he [Christ], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.” For “by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:11–12, 14 NASB). Contrary to the Catholic claim that Hebrews is only speaking of a once-for-all unbloody sacrifice, no such qualifying word is found in the text. Hebrews says emphatically the opposite of what Catholics affirm, namely, that the Mass is a sacrifice that is repeated over and over. Holy Writ says explicitly that Christ offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. Then he sat (his work finished forever) at the right hand of God (Heb. 10:12). This sacrifice is called a “once for all” offering in the preceding verse, which is directly opposed to the Catholic view.
While Roman Catholicism acknowledges that “the entire Christian family” is “a kingdom of priests,” nevertheless in practice it denies what the New Testament clearly affirms, namely, that all believers are priests. By making such a strong distinction between the common or universal priesthood and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood they render ineffective the apostle Peter’s teaching that all God’s elect (1 Peter 1:1) are “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (2:9). In fact, there is only one priest necessary in the New Covenant, our great High Priest Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 7–8). The task left for all other priests (namely, all believers) is to minister the gospel (2 Cor. 3–4).
The appeal to the Old Testament to show that all Israelites were called priests (Exod. 19:21–21) even when God had established the Aaronic priesthood as a special ministerial class misses the whole point of Hebrews (“Quick Questions,” This Rock [September 1993], 30). The Aaronic priesthood has been done away with—and every believer has direct access to only one High Priest, Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us!
The fact is that nowhere in the New Testament are church leaders called “priests.” They are called “elders” or “bishops” (overseers) who were exhorted by the apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:2) to “shepherd the flock of God among you, [overseeing] not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God.” Peter continues, exhorting overseers to be examples to the flock. “And when the Chief Shepherd appears you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4 NASB). The whole hierarchical institution of the Roman Catholic priesthood as a special class of men endowed with special priestly powers to forgive sins and to transform the communion elements into the actual body and blood of Christ is contrary to the teaching of these verses. For in these verses: (1) no one is described as a priest nor has priestly powers except the Chief Shepherd Christ himself; (2) Peter describes himself as “a fellow elder” (v. 1); (3) the leaders of the flock are called elders, not priests; (4) they are depicted as undershepherds, not overlords (cf. v. 3) of the church; (5) they have no special binding power but are to lead by example, not by constraint (vv. 2–3). The whole spirit of this is contrary to the priestly powers claimed by the Roman Catholic church. [Norman L. Geisler and Ron Rhodes, When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretations (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 115–117.]
Book Study: Twelve Ordinary Men
This portion of our group lesson is based on Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur. This week’s discussion is based on Chapter 4: James–The Apostle of Passion.
What do we know about James?
- One of the included in Jesus’ intimate circle of his closest disciples (Peter, James, & John).
- The only time James is mentioned by himself is in the book of Acts, where his martyrdom is recorded.
- Is the oldest of the two Sons of Zebedee (James & John)
- Based on contextual evidence in the gospels, the family of Zebedee appears to be a prominent, well-to-do, influential family. (NOTE: Zebedee’s influence may have stemmed from his wealth, his family lineage, or both. There is evidence from early church records that Zebedee may have been a Levite and closely related to the High Priest.)
- James was a man of great zeal; so much so that Jesus gave the two brothers the nickname, “Boanerges,” the Sons of Thunder. This name appears to be one of gentle admonishment for the brothers who could let their zeal become uncontrolled.
- James and John both seemed to be concerned about position and prestige, leading to well-recorded disputes about “which of them should be considered the greatest” (Luke 22:24).
- The Bible leads us to the conclusion that James was a strong leader and held much influence within the group of disciples, although his position was second behind Peter.
What significant events during Jesus’ ministry did James witness?
As a member of the inner-circle (Peter, James, & John), James was witness to several events that demonstrated the power, glory, sovereignty, and agony of Jesus. These include:
- The day Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37); a witness to Jesus’ power.
- The transfigured Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1); a witness to Jesus’ glory.
- A private debriefing on prophetic end time events on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13:3); a witness to Jesus’ sovereignty.
- The night of prayer and waiting with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33); a witness to Jesus’ agony.
All of these events would have had a tremendous impact on James and strengthened his faith while equipping him for the martyrdom he would eventually face.
As noted, James was a man of zeal. How did his zeal for the Lord change as the Lord Jesus shaped Him for service?
Another word for zeal is passion. James was a man of great passion. He added intensity and fervor to the Twelve. As we noted above, however, Jesus chose an interesting nickname for James & John: Sons of Thunder.
The best illustration of the kind of passion and zeal James possessed is found in the person of King Jehu, whom we learned about in our study of the Kings of Israel.
Jehu quickly gained a reputation for driving his chariot at breakneck speed. He became the sword of justice the Lord used to destroy the family of Ahab. In 2 Kings 10:16, Jehu is famously recorded as saying, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.”
The Bible then records, “So they had him ride in his chariot. And when he came to Samaria, he killed all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke to Elijah.”
As John MacArthur notes, however, Jehu’s passion was a passion out of control. His zeal was tainted with selfish, worldly ambition and bloodthirsty cruelty. Likewise, as James matured in His faith and walk with Jesus Christ, you see focus and control to His zeal. See the next question for more.
How can zeal become a stumbling block for people in spiritual leadership?
We have witnessed a wave of celebrity pastors forced to resign from their churches in the past few years (e.g. Mark Driscoll, Darrin Patrick, and James MacDonald). The same words could be used to describe these men as we see used to describe men like James: passionate, intense, ambitious, driven, strong. These men would be described as “zealous for the Lord.” Yet, their zeal misled them. Their zeal became contaminated with pride and selfish concerns. They used their position to and power to “rain fire” down on those who questioned them or stood in their way.
Zeal is good when it is under the control of the Holy Spirit; raw zeal driven by one’s self interest can be deadly.
There is a legitimate place in spiritual leadership for people who have thunderous personalities. Elijah was that kind of character. (Indeed, Elijah was the role model James thought he was following when he pleaded for fire from heaven.) Nehemiah was similarly passionate (cf. Nehemiah 13:25). John the Baptist had a fiery temperament, too. James apparently was cut from similar fabric. He was outspoken, intense, and impatient with evildoers.
There is nothing inherently wrong with such zeal. Remember that Jesus Himself made a whip and cleansed the temple. And when he did, “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up’ ” (John 2:17; cf. Psalm 69:9). James of all people knew what it was to be eaten up with zeal for the Lord. Much of what James saw Jesus do probably helped stoke his zeal—such as when the Lord rebuked the Jewish leaders, when He cursed the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida, and when He confronted and destroyed demonic powers. Zeal is a virtue when it is truly zeal for righteousness’ sake.
But sometimes zeal is less than righteous. Zeal apart from knowledge can be damning (cf. Romans 10:2). Zeal without wisdom is dangerous. Zeal mixed with insensitivity is often cruel. Whenever zeal disintegrates into uncontrolled passion, it can be deadly. And James sometimes had a tendency to let such misguided zeal get the better of him. [John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You (Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group, 2002), 80.]
Becoming A House of Prayer
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.
Prayer is an important part of being in a small group. Group prayer goes better when we follow three simple guidelines.
- WE PRAY FOR ONE TOPIC AT A TIME – Anyone in the group is free to introduce a prayer request either before prayer begins or during the prayer time. Once a topic is introduced, the group focuses on that request alone. Once it’s covered, the group moves on to the next topic.
- PRAY MORE THAN ONCE – Because the group is focusing on one topic at a time, each person is encouraged to pray several times during the prayer time for those topics they feel most led to pray about. No one is required to pray.
- WE KEEP OUR PRAYERS SHORT AND SIMPLE – Group prayer goes better when members keep their prayers short and to the point. When someone prays for a long time, it’s hard for the other members to stay focused and long prayers tend to intimidate those who are just learning to pray out loud in a group. No one is required to pray out loud.
Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:
- Take Action: Do you rely on the power and authority of Jesus Christ as you minister to people? If not, why not? In giving us His Great Commission, Jesus told us, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Take Courage: Someday every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. No matter how evil the world may seem today, even the demons must acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Holy One of God and submit to Him!
Work to memorize this week’s memory verse: Mark 1:22 – And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
This week’s Core Practice: Possessions (Luke 16:11–12): I seek to maintain an eternal perspective on money and possessions, realizing God has give me all that I have, and that he expects me to manage it wisely for His glory.
Remember to use the Daily Bible Reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.
Demons are Cast Out
21] And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.
Capernaum is where our Lord and His mother and brethren had moved to from Nazareth (Mt 4:13; Jn 2:12). But Mark focuses on His deeds, not words.
Synagogues could be formed whenever there were at least 10 Jewish men above the age of 12. They welcomed visiting teachers to read and teach; Paul always took advantage of these opportunities (Acts 13:14-16; 14:1; 17:1-4).
22] And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
… at his doctrine… KJV teaching = doctrine. The primary purpose of the Scriptures is doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16). Doctrines are the absolute truths of God. The doctrinal approach views the Bible from the perspective of God. Sound doctrine gives the faithful student and teacher authority (2 Timothy 4:2-4; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1-8). [Common Man’s Reference Bible]
… as one that had authority… Not “Thus saith the Lord”; but rather, “Verily, verily, I say unto you…” There is no other person in history who has the right to speak that way.
23] And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
… in their synagogue … it is surprising how often Jesus encountered demons and unclean spirits in and around synagogues and religious leaders.
An unclean spirit has multiple personalities (Mark 1:24; Mark 5:7-10). Every person possessed with devils that approached the Lord Jesus was a religious person (Luke 4:34; Acts 19:13). [Common Man’s Reference Bible]
24] “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
Let us alone; Evil is not to be left alone. Note the plural pronouns…
25] But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
“Hold thy peace”: phimoo = “Be muzzled!” Jesus rebuked him: Our Lord did not desire testimony from demons. Jesus would use the same terms when stilling the storm (Mk 4:39).
26] And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
“Hold thy peace”: phimoo = “Be muzzled!” Jesus rebuked him: Our Lord did not desire testimony from demons. Jesus would use the same terms when stilling the storm (Mk 4:39).
27] And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
28] And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
… his fame spread … Jesus did not welcome this type of superficial public excitement lest it create problems with both the Jews and the Romans…
Peter’s Mother-in-Law is Healed
29] And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Originally these brethren dwelt in Bethsaida. It may have been after Simon’s marriage that he moved to Capernaum, possibly to share the home of his wife’s mother
30] Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her.
Simon’s wife… Catholics do not follow the examples of the levitical prists or Peter, their first vicar of Christ, because they were married (Lev. 21:1-9; 1 Tim. 4:1-6).
“…anon”: eutheos “again.”
31] And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
“…took her by the hand.” Mark also notes:
– Jairus’ daughter Mark 5:41
– The Blind man Mark 8:23
– Demon possessed child Mark 9:27
– Picking up the child Mark 9:36-37
[We need to take people by the hand…]
32] That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons.
The Scripture differentiates the diseased from the possessed.
KJV = devils. There is one devil, but there are many devils. The proper word is devils, not demons. The deceived revisers of Alexandria refused to properly translate the words “daimon” and “hades” because they were inspired of Satan (Gen. 3:1; Luke 4:10-11; 2 Cor. 2:11). [Common Man’s Reference Bible]
33] And the whole city was gathered together at the door.
34] And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
… suffered not the devils to speak, He would not receive testimony from the hosts of the Evil One.