The Capernaum Demoniac Mark 1:21-28
Thoughts From Mark 1:21-28.
Mark tells a fascinating story about Jesus, His manner of teaching, and His interaction with demons. For Luke’s version of the story see Luke 4:31-37. Although Mark does not give us a complete doctrinal discussion of demons, this story does give us some definite information about them.
We will begin our discussion, however, with what Mark says about the teaching of Jesus. It was on the Sabbath, and Jesus entered the synagogue in Capernaum to teach. With regard to the audience, Mark says: “They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching as one having authority, and not as the scribes (verse 22).”
Mark does not deal at length with how the scribes taught, but the contrast he draws between Jesus and the scribes gives us some information. The contrast suggests that the scribes did not teach with authority. We have all heard teachers who did not have anything very conclusive to say. In contrast to them, Jesus was clear, definite and expressive of His power and authority.
The authoritative teaching of Jesus included what He taught, His manner of teaching, and the power He had to implement what He said. His manner was firm, unhesitating, and forceful. His audience would learn immediately that He implemented His speech with great power. He would interact right away with an unclean spirit, a demon.
Jesus taught with authority as only He could. He was both divine and human and, in his humanity, was empowered with the Spirit of God. What does this mean for us? We have the Word of God and can speak that Word with authority. Obviously, the Bible does not answer every question, so we must speak with humility when we do not have definite answers. Fortunately, we do have answers to many questions.
In my next “thoughts” we will discuss the confrontation between the demon and Christ who cast the demon out. We will discuss also, the relevance of this story for us today. Should we be prepared today to cast out demons? What are your thoughts on this subject?
More Thoughts from Mark 1:21-28.
Jesus lived in a world of spirits—the Spirit of God, human spirits, and demons or evil spirits. Because this same world exists today, the story in this passage of Scripture is very relevant to us.
At Capernaum, when Jesus taught in the synagogue, a man with an “unclean spirit” was in the audience. This man cried out, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” It is amazing that the spirit in this man knew who Jesus was. He even knew enough to question Jesus’ purpose.
Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying: “Be quiet, and come out of him!” The spirit threw the man into convulsions, but with a loud voice, he came out of him. All who saw this were amazed that even the unclean spirits would obey Jesus.
My parents opened a mission station in a remote village in Burkina Faso in 1946. Dad built our mud buildings for our home on a hilltop some distance from the village. The people in the village told us that at night they could see evil spirits dancing in the trees around our home. They were convinced that we would not stay to plant the church. The evil spirits would drive us out.
However, Mom and Dad, along with us as their children did stay. With all their hearts they believed John’s declaration that “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them [evil spirits]; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4).” Today, there are many pastors and churches who minister in that region of Burkina Faso. Our God is greater!
More Thoughts From Mark 1:21-28.
In one of the parallel passages, Matthew [8:17] adds this comment: “He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.” This was spoken in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:5. Christ has borne all our sicknesses not in the sense that He became sick for us but in the sense that He was a vicarious ethical assumption of our burdens. He healed at this time looking forward to His death on the cross which provided deliverance for the children of God.
The work of Christ at the cross includes complete deliverance of body and soul. However, no one has actually reached the fullness of God’s deliverance in this life. We have been delivered from sin but, like Paul, we must press on to maturity in Christ. Each day lived under the direction of the Holy Spirit ought to bring growth in our experience. In a similar way, although not exactly parallel, we see the same thing in regard to deliverance from sickness.
From time to time God heals us or gives to us a continuous state of health. But the final deliverance from this body will not come until we die. Then, we shall put on immortality and see the fulfillment of the work of Christ at the cross. Romans 8:23 says, “but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.