Thursday, April 9, 2015

Who Is Jesus? Jesus Is An Authoritative Teacher and Healer.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and He healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis (Ten Cities), Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed Him. Matthew 4:23-25 (NIV)

After Jesus preached His initial sermon (Mark 1:14-15) and called His first four disciples (Mark 1:16-20), what follows in the Gospels is a series of stories that paints the theological portrait of Jesus not only as the Son of God but as a Preacher, Teacher and Healer (Matthew 4:23-25; see also Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44). The chronological connections of these stories are very loose because the Gospel writers do not provide a day by day account or travel log of Jesus’ public ministry. For example in Mark’s Gospel, Mark will say “sometimes later” and no one knows the exact time. This is common in all four Gospels because the writers do not give us a clear chronology of Jesus’ day to day activities. Instead, the Gospel writers paints Jesus’ theological portrait with their series of stories about Jesus’ public ministry. All four Gospels in the New Testament portrays Jesus as a traveling Preacher, Teacher and Healer that travels from one small village to another and Jesus is accompanied by His disciples (faithful and genuine followers) (Matthew 4:23-25).

Jesus preached the Good News (also called the “Gospel”) of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43-44). The Good News has come to everyone who wanted to hear this lifesaving message. The Gospel is that the Kingdom of God has come – the presence, reign and rule of God came to earth with Jesus. Also, the Gospel is that God is with us and God loves and cares for us (John 3:16; see also Luke 17:20-21). The prerequisites (or requirements) for entrance into the God’s Kingdom included repentance (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15), righteousness (Matthew 5:20), and wholehearted faith (dependence, allegiance, and belief) in God (Matthew 18:3; see also John 3:3).

Jesus and His companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, He went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, for He taught with real authority — quite unlike the teachers of religious law. Mark 1:21-22 (NLT)

Beginning with Mark 1:21, Jesus and His disciples came to the town of Capernaum and on Saturday (Sabbath) morning and they went into the Jewish place of worship — the synagogue (see also Luke 4:31). The town of Capernaum was Jesus’ headquarters or base of operation during His public ministry in the Galilee region (Matthew 4:13-14). Jesus moved from Nazareth, His hometown, to Capernaum (Matthew 4:12-13). Capernaum is located about 20 miles farther north of Nazareth and situated on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. When the Sabbath day came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach (Mark 1:21). Jesus customarily went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day (Saturday) (Luke 4:16). Jesus was a good Jew and the synagogue was His institution. The synagogue was the center of Jewish worship and could be organized anywhere by ten married Jewish men. Thus, Jesus’ custom of regular worship sets an example for all God’s people.

Mark summarizes Jesus’ ministry by saying “and He was teaching them” (see also Mark 1:21; Mark 2:13; Mark 10:1; Mark 14:49). Throughout Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus was custom to teaching the people (Mark 10:1). Although Mark records far fewer actual teachings of Jesus than the other Gospel writers, there is a remarkable emphasis on Jesus as Teacher. The words “Teacher,” “teach” or “teaching,” and “Rabbi” are applied to Jesus in Mark’s Gospel thirty-nine (39) times. As Jesus was teaching, the congregation was astonished and amazed at His sermon (Mark 1:22; Mark 6:2; Luke 4:32; see also Luke 2:46-48). Gospel writer Mark frequently reported the amazement and astonishment that Jesus’ teaching and action produced during His public ministry (e.g., see Mark 2:12; Mark 5:20, 42; Mark 6:2, 51; Mark 7:37; Mark 10:26, 32; Mark 11:18; Mark 12:17; Mark 15:5). Jesus taught with real authority. He was forthright and confident. Unlike other synagogue teachers, Jesus did not try to prove His sermon points by quibbling and quoting like the religious teachers. Other religious teachers in the synagogue often quoted from well-known rabbis to give their teaching more authority. However, Jesus did not have that need because Jesus is God (e.g., see John 20:28; Romans 10:9; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9). With the fullness of God dwelling in Him, Jesus knew exactly what the Holy Scriptures said and meant as He is the ultimate authority! As God, Jesus taught and spoke as One with divine authority as Jesus’ authority was Himself (Matthew 7:28-29; Matthew 9:6, 8; Mark 1:22; John 7:46). Even more, Jesus’ life was authentic and true. There was no discrepancy in what He said and what He did. Jesus was real! Jesus preached and His life and teaching matched perfectly with no inconsistency. The people observed Jesus’ genuineness and authenticity as His life, teaching and preaching produced “good fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20).

Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, “Why are You interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One sent from God!” Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” He ordered. At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him. Mark 1:23-26 (NLT)

In the Jewish synagogue, there was one with “an unclean spirit” (Mark 1:23). This person’s life was controlled and driven by evil and he was suffering and bondage. This scene revealed the powerlessness of the synagogue with the presence of an unclean spirit. Even in the synagogue, this man life was controlled by evil and he was suffering. People with unclean (evil) spirits are not happy people. Such evil spirits could cause mental disorders and other violent behaviors (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-29), bodily disease (Luke 13:10-16) and rebellion against God (Revelation 16:14). The unclean spirit recognized Jesus (Mark 1:24). Jesus authoritatively said to the unclean spirit to “be quiet” and to “come out of the man” (Mark 1:25, 34). This is one of many exorcisms in Mark’s Gospel. There were people in the first century casting out unclean spirits with special charms, special water, and many other long and struggling methods to drive out the evil spirits. However, these people struggled to gain power over evil spirits. In Mark, Jesus simply said “be quiet” and “come out of him!” (Mark 1:25). Jesus simply authoritatively spoke with no necessities of potions, magic charms, etc. and no effort. Jesus’ Word was His authority. The evil spirt immediately responded to Jesus’ Lordship and Kingship (Mark 1:26). Jesus healed not just their physical sickness, but also their spiritual sickness as well. There is no sin, sickness, pain or problem too great or too small for Jesus.

Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey His orders!” The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee. Mark 1:27-28 (NLT)

At Mark 1:27, all were amazed and all began to discuss “who was Jesus.” Jesus’ teaching was not based on scribal authority and unclean spirits obeyed Jesus’ authority (Mark 1:28). Jesus’ fame spread throughout Galilee (Luke 4:36-37). By days end and because of the fame of Jesus, people were bringing their sick, the lame and people filled with evil spirits to Jesus (Mark 1:32-34). There was hopelessness and despair of the people. Jesus healed all kinds of disease and casted out all kinds of evil spirits. Jesus would not let the demons to speak because they recognized Jesus.

Life Application Study Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005).
Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1995).
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
Loyd, Melton, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament. Due West Campus: Erskine Theological Seminary, 2015.

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