THE GOSPEL OF MARK – Chapter 1: 22-46

The Authority of Jesus Christ

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

We begin this week’s study with Jesus Christ in Capernaum preaching in the synagogue.

1:22: "They were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes."

Authority: "The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience; power, jurisdiction, command, control, mastery, charge, dominion, rule, sovereignty, ascendance, supremacy, domination, influence."

Jesus’ authority is God’s authority and He knows who he is and what his assignment is on earth. One of which is to bind Satan, and set free those enslaved by him. Here, his first head-on collision with the demonic realm is met with resistance. His ruling authority is to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven and to empower mankind through the power of His Name, His Blood and His Word to also have that authority.

1: 23-26: "There was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who You are---the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “be quiet, and come out of him!” When the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him."

“Unclean spirit:” morally unclean in thought and life. This would include sexual sins of fornication, adultery, pornography, licentiousness, profanity, etc.

The unclean spirit “cried out” as one in agony, at the presence of Christ. Demons most certainly can speak. We can command them to identify themselves. This demon knew his doom and knew Jesus. He called him Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy One of God. The demons of hell should also know our name.

Acts 19:15: "The evil spirit answered (the seven sons of Sceva) and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"

Our authority against demons is only as they have respect for the power and presence of Jesus Christ that we carry, His Blood, His Name and His Word. The unclean spirit recognized the authority of Jesus and knew he had come to destroy the demonic kingdom ruling over the Roman Empire at that time. He was commanded not to speak. One of the main rules of deliverance, do not allow the demons to take over a service to make a show. All demons love drama and make a scene to disrupt the service.

Today, there are humans who still have not recognized that Jesus Christ was born Son of God and Son of Man. Even the demons know who he is and the authority given to Him by the Father.

King James reads that the unclean spirit tore out of him. However, the interpretation of “tore” is convulsions.

1:27-28: "They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority, He commands even he unclean spirits, and the obey Him.” Immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee."

The effect on the people as a whole was to excite wonder, but not to evoke faith, and thus it was throughout Galilee. Today, a visual deliverance will draw crowds, but like the Jews in Capernaum, they will seek the miracle, but not the God of the miracle. The Jewish exorcists pretended by charms or invocation to drive away evil spirits; but this was quite another thing for demons to obey and be cast out.

Mark 1:29-31: "As soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So, he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them."

Even though it is still the Sabbath, Jesus heals Peter’s Mother-in-law on the Sabbath. He is demonstrating God’s law of Love and Healing is greater than the Old Testament laws.

Jesus’ method of healing her was to “take her by the hand and lift her up.” The speed and completeness of the woman’s cure is shown by her serving Jesus and the disciples immediately afterwards.

Mark 1:32-34: "At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. The whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him."

The populace of Capernaum, aware now of Jesus’ healing and deliverance powers gather at Peter’s house after sun set because now the Sabbath is over and they can legally carry their sick and Jesus can legally heal the sick. Jesus healed “many,” which according to Semitic idiom means all who were brought. Although the demons discerned the nature of Jesus’ person, Jesus forbade them to speak.

Mark 1: 35-39: "In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place, there He prayed. Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But he said to them, let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth. He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons."

The morning was the morning of the first day of the week, which afterward he sanctified and made remarkable by another sort of rising early. It was very early, a great while before day. The place where he prayed was a solitary place. Secret prayer must be made secretly. The length of time and hours we spend ministering in public must be covered in solitary prayer and time with the LORD.

1:40-42: "A leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing, be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed."

Leprosy was a sign of death. The disease was regarded by the Jews as a mark of divine displeasure. They spoke of it as “the finger of God.” The Leper was obligated to attire himself in the garments of death. He had to wear torn clothes, the garb which mourners wore for the dead. His head was to be bare, his upper lip covered, tokens also of grief for the dead. He was to reckon himself a dead man.

This man had surely heard of Jesus. Even though he was counted as a dead man, faith and hope rose inside him that he was able to approach Jesus to declare his faith.

It was a wondrous meeting and surely a divine appointment orchestrated by heaven. Two extremes of humanity (death and the giver of life) met at that moment in that Gennesaret road. It was a meeting of Mercy with Despair; Omnipotence with Weakness; Sympathy with Suffering; Purity with Pollution, Life with death! Any contact with leprosy was forbidden! The multitude and the disciples would have been panic-stricken. Under the Law given by God to Moses, the ceremonially unclean were banned from His Holy camp and His Holy city. The door of hope, so far as human remedies was concerned, was closed. Unless by some special intervention of Divine power, he was a Leper to the day of his death, an untouchable.

Let us consider that Jesus was grieved that people were coming for the miracles and healing, but their faith in God was not in their equation. Remember the curse Jesus spoke on Capernaum because of all the miracles which had been done in their midst, but there was no faith.

The Leper’s faith is the glory of this story. “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” He believed! He was convinced that the omnipotent Prophet of Galilee had only to utter the word, and he would be healed.

It is the same with sin---it is incurable by earthly power. Psychology cannot deliver a man from sin. An ocean of tears cannot cleanse it; human virtues and merits cannot eradicate sin. Man, or angel, beast of the earth, creeping thing or flying fowl, “the cattle on a thousand hills,” and ten thousand rivers of oil --- all would be of no avail to deliver us from sin.

Jesus Christ is our only deliverance from sin. He was the Leper’s hope and faith entered him. Faith spoke! Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing, be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. The Jewish rabbis taught that cleansing lepers would be a characteristic of the Messiah, so His very works proved it.

1: 43-44: He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “see that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” There were three kinds of offerings for lepers:

1. Sin Offering (Lev. 14:19).

2. Burnt Offering (Lev. 14:20)

3. Meat Offering.

The priest was to take two birds. The one was to be killed, and its blood poured into an earthen vessel filled with running water; the other, tied with a scarlet thread and a bunch of hyssop to a stick of cedar, was to be dipped into the earthen pitcher containing the mingled blood and water. With this the leper was sprinkled seven times, and then the living birds was set free to join its mates---symbolic that the leper was now at liberty to resume his life with his fellowman.

The bleeding bird was a type of the shed blood of Jesus Christ; and the spear which pierced the side of the innocent One and from which flowed out a running stream of “blood and water.”

The other bird, bound with its mysterious hyssop and tied with scarlet thread was immersed in the crimson flood. This is a type of the sinner wearing the bonds and fastenings of the everlasting covenant, plunged in the fountain of blood for sin and for uncleanness.

The scarlet (blood of Jesus) is between the cedar (largest tree) and the hyssop (smallest tree)---parents, children; great and small; all humanity.

The seven times sprinkling is completion of cleansing, the pronouncing of cleanness is justification, and the loosing of the living bird into the open field is the Jubilee and Liberty of the forgiven sinner, loosed into an open heaven.

The Son has made the sinner free. He is free indeed. The blood and water have effected the double cure. The one justifies, the other sanctifies. One delivers us from the guilt, the other from the pollution of sin. While we were yet sinners, He died for us. The scarlet thread, the mark and badge of covenant mercy, has been put on upon all of us. Stand fast, therefore in the liberty with which he has made us free.

“Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, yes, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Mark 1:45: However, he (the leper was who supposed to keep his deliverance a secret) went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.

I cannot be critical of the leper. Such good news, who could keep silent?

This further shows how expedient it was for us, that Christ should go away, for his bodily presence could be but in one place at a time. By the Holy Spirit’s presence, he is with his people all ways wherever we are.

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church


Scripture from N.K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry; and Sermons of John MacDuff. Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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