Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Jesus was not your average preacher
Based on the Gospel of Mark 1:21-28
Not your average teacher or preacher.
Jesus was known as the son of Mary and Joseph and as the carpenter from Nazareth; but Jesus is also the Son of God. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear how the people began to see there was something special about Jesus as he began his teaching and healing work in Capernaum, a city on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.
On the Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and served as prayer leader. Any adult male member could lead the prayer; it didn’t have to be a priest or synagogue official. After the prayers of thanks and praise to God, the synagogue manager brought in the wooden chest that contained the scrolls of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. One of the scrolls was unfolded and laid on the reading desk. Jesus asked a reader to recite a part from the scroll and then a prayer of thanks was said.
Jesus began to teach. He astonished the people with his teaching because he spoke with such authority. Jesus didn’t quote earlier authorities, as was done by the scribes (well-educated Jews who diligently studied and explained the Law).
As the Son of God, Jesus understood the Scriptures as no one else could and clearly explained their true meaning. Jesus had the people’s complete attention. Simply said, the Word of God explained the Word of God.
Suddenly, a piercing scream sounded through the synagogue. It came from a man who was disturbed by an evil spirit (devil). The evil spirit recognized Jesus and twice called him by name – “Jesus of Nazareth” and “the Holy One of God.”
Jesus said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” With only mere words Jesus silenced the evil spirit and sternly ordered him out of the man.
The evil spirit shrieked one last time as he left the man and went out totally defeated. The demon’s control over the man was ended and the man was healed and at peace. Jesus had to deal with the powers of evil – not only here but throughout his public ministry.
The people were amazed and awestruck as they realized Jesus not only teaches with authority but also has power over evil spirits. As a result, Jesus’ fame spread throughout Galilee and people thronged to hear him teach and preach because he spoke with such conviction and his words touched people’s hearts.