Mark 1:21-34

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 12, 2004


Jesus has come onto the scene in Israel.  As He was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit rested on Jesus and the Father spoke.  John the Baptist let the people know that the Messiah had come.  After being tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus began to call His disciples.  He found Peter, Andrew, James, and John and challenged them to follow Him so He could make them fishers of men.

:21-28 Synagogue in Capernaum

:21 And they went into Capernaum

Capernaum – at the time of Jesus, it was a small town of about 1500 people on the northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. 

It was the home town of the fishermen brothers Peter & Andrew, James & John, and fishing was probably one of the main industries for Capernaum. 

It was also the home of the tax collector named Matthew (Mat. 9:9).

Archaeologists have discovered the ancient site of Capernaum.  In 1981 they found the ruins of a first century synagogue, possibly the same synagogue that we have mentioned here.

Capernaum would become sort of a “home-base” for Jesus’ ministry in Galilee.

:21  he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

synagogue – the synagogue was a gathering place for the Jews.  In Jesus’ day, there was already a structure to the service, consisting of prayer, praise, a reading from the Torah and the prophets, followed by a sermon or teaching.  Each synagogue would have a “ruler” who would determine what was going to be done for that Saturday.  Apparently the ruler of the Capernaum synagogue had asked Jesus to teach that week.

Jesus went to church.

You and I need to be in church.  It’s good to be here together.

(Heb 10:25 NLT)  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.

:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine

astonishedekplesso – to strike out, expel by a blow, to be struck with astonishment to the place of panic and loss of self-possession; to be struck with amazement, amazed.  The language suggests that there was a prolonged amazement – they were blown away during His entire time of teaching.  This is a word that the gospel writers often use to describe people’s reaction to the things Jesus said.

Mark tells us that this astonishment of the people at Jesus’ teaching was one of the things that caused the scribes and priests to turn on Jesus:

Mr 11:18  And the scribes and chief priests heard [it], and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

:22 for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

authorityexousia – the ability to do something; the right over something as in the right to command others and the power to back up that command; liberty of doing as one pleases; the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed).

scribesgrammateus – a clerk, these were guys who knew how to read and write.  When it came to the Scriptures, these were guys who not only made the physical copies of the Scriptures, but were experts in the Law of Moses.  They studied the scriptures and the various commentaries on the Scripture.

When the scribes taught, their tendency was to quote each other.  They didn’t speak on their own authority, but only quoted the authority of other teachers.

Mark is unique in that he doesn’t tell us what Jesus taught, only that He taught.  But we know what He taught from the other gospel writers.


Pay attention to Jesus

Jesus had authority because He wrote the book.
He knew what the Book meant because He wrote it.
They were hearing the Word of God (Jesus) comment on the Word of God (the Scriptures).
Jesus’ teaching wasn’t based on quoting some other Rabbi.  He knew what God’s heart was about in the Scriptures and He didn’t try and explain it away. He would take the commandments and talk about the heart behind the law and what it meant in a real person’s life.
(Mat 5:21-30 KJV)  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: {22} But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. {23} Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; {24} Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. {25} Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. {26} Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

The issue of “murder” went farther than just shooting someone.  Jesus said it involved hating someone.  He said that you needed to make things right with others.

{27} Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: {28} But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. {29} And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. {30} And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

The issue of adultery went farther than just a physical act.  It involved lust for another person.  And Jesus advised us to do whatever it takes to correct the problem.  Take God’s commandments seriously.

I think that many of us are searching for answers in life.  There are a lot of voices out there trying to tell you what to do, what to believe, what to think.  The daytime television schedule is filled with “talk” shows and people who claim to know what they’re talking about, whether it’s the fellow that talks to the dead, or a psychologist named Phil.
If you’re looking for answers, go to the source. Pay attention to God’s Word.  Read your Bible.  Live your Bible.

:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit


Unclean people and church

This man was possessed by a demon.  Mark records that he was in “their” synagogue, indicating that this man wasn’t a member of the synagogue, but was visiting that day.
I wonder if the people knew he had a demon.
Does it seem strange for a demon possessed person to be in a church?
We might think that church is for “clean” people only.  Some people have the idea that when they stumble or fall into a sin, that they no longer are worthy of going to church.
The church ought to be a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.
The church ought to be a place where people are learning to walk with God, but is also ought to be a place for people who have sinned and fallen.

:24 what have we to do with thee

Or, “what do we have in common with You?”

:25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

hold thy peacephimoo – to close the mouth with a muzzle; to stop the mouth, reduce to silence; “shut up!”, “put a cork in it!”

:26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice

tornsparasso – to convulse, tear; medical writers use the term for the rotating of the stomach.  Luke records that the demon threw the man to the ground. The demon isn’t letting go of the man without hurting him. 

Jesus takes a demon possessed man and delivers him.  When Jesus shows up at church, He doesn’t leave you the same.

:27 they were all amazed…for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

amazedthambeo – to astonish, terrify; to be amazed; to be frightened; a different word than the one used in verse 22 to describe their astonishment at His teaching.  This display of power and authority is terrifying.

authorityexousia – same word that was used in verse 22.  Jesus has the authority.

commandethepitasso – to order, command, charge; this is a military term.  Demons aren’t something you or I on our own could command.  Commanding demons is a little like trying to herd cats.  Or like trying to tell a guide group of rebellious teenagers who say, “You aren’t the boss of me!”

Yet the authority of Jesus is so great that even they must do what He says.

Jesus didn’t just teach with authority, but He demonstrated His authority with power over the demons.


He has the authority to help you

Jesus doesn’t just have nice things to say.  He can change your life.
(2 Cor 5:17 KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When you open your heart to Jesus, He will begin to change you.
In a few weeks (Mark 5), we’ll see an account of a fellow that was changed by the authority of Jesus.  Let’s look at Dr. Luke’s account:
(Luke 8:26-35 KJV)  And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. {27} And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. {28} When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. {29} (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

Nothing could help this man.  He couldn’t even be held with chains.

{30} And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. {31} And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. {32} And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. {33} Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. {34} When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. {35} Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

The man was changed.  He was now sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind.  Totally changed.  It freaked the other people out.

Are you ready to let Jesus change you?

:29-31 At Peter’s house

:30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever

wife’s motherpenthera – mother-in-law, a wife’s mother

Peter was married.  The first “pope” was a married man.  The Catholic Church says that Peter’s wife must have died, but there’s nothing to support that.  Paul indicates that Peter had a wife and she traveled with him:

(1 Cor 9:5 KJV)  Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

laykatakeimai – to have lain down; she’s flat on her back, the tense indicates she’s been sick for some time.

sick of a feverpuresso – to be sick with a fever; from the word for “fire” – she was burning up.

:31 the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

she ministereddiakoneo – to be a servant, wait upon


Healed to serve

She responded to her healing by serving Jesus.
God’s desire is not just for Jesus to heal you, but for you to serve Him.

:32-34 Jesus’ healing ministry

:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

at evenopsios –evening

On the Sabbath day there were certain restrictions like not doing work, or not traveling too far. The Sabbath day ended at sunset.  The people bring their sick friends after the Sabbath is over.

diseasedkakos – miserable, to be ill

possessed with devilsdaimonizomai – to be under the power of a demon.

Jesus is getting a reputation about healing people and casting out demons.

:33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.

gathered togetherepisunago to gather together besides; This is a word very closely related to the word “synagogue”, the place where Jesus’ ministry began at Capernaum (1:21).

The day is over, the “synagogue” has left the building and continues where Jesus is.

Church isn’t just the building.  Church is where God’s people are and where Jesus is.

:34 and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

Why didn’t Jesus allow the demons to speak about Him?

Isn’t this “free” advertising?  Why does Jesus shut them up?

You don’t want advertising by the wrong people.  Would one of the presidential candidates like it if the Mafia took out a couple of TV ads to endorse them?

Jesus doesn’t need free advertising from demons.  He wants witnessing by believers.  The people He wants talking about who He is are those who know Him and have been changed by Him.