Sermon Sunday: What is This? Jesus Came with Authority (Mark 1:21-28)

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As we have started through Mark, we come to our fifth sermon, taking our time through this gospel that, as we dig into this, will move in a hurry. Six times in twenty-eight verses you see the word “immediately” (twice in the verses we see today).

Yet, you will notice there are other words that play prominently in this passage. The main word for us this morning is the word “authority.” This word has a heaviness to us. What has authority over us? Well, for one, humanity has always struggled with authority–all the way back from the Garden of Eden. And nothing has changed. In fact, the last two years have shown repeatedly that we just don’t like people (especially certain people) telling us what to do. Why? Because we think we have it all together.

And I believe that’s part of the story here with Jesus and his time in the synagogue. Jesus goes to Capernaum to start a ministry phase in Galilee. Capernaum is one of the cities on the shore of Lake Galilee. It has an eight-foot seawall with several piers going out about 100’ feet into the water.

And most of these towns had a synagogue. These synagogues did not have the same equality as the Temple in Jerusalem. To have a synagogue, you needed ten men over 13 years of age. You could have nine men and 100 women–that would not have permitted you to have a synagogue. Now, any rabbi could come to read and teach from the Torah (the Hebrew Bible).

When Jesus started, something happened–to the point that those listening asked this question: “What is this?”


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