21 Jesus and his followers went to Capernaum. On the Sabbath day He went to the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught like a person who had authority, not like their teachers of the law. 23 Just then, a man was there in the synagogue who had an evil spirit in him. He shouted, 24 “Jesus of Nazareth! What do you want with us? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are—God’s Holy One!” ~ Mark 1:21-24
Capernaum was the hometown of brothers, Andrew and Simon Peter. It was a city of about 10,000 people. Ten miles from Capernaum was Tiberius which was famous for its mineral hot springs. These hot springs had medicinal properties, and, the people came from all over the area to bathe hoping to be healed from their ailments. As we shall see, the Lord Jesus performed many miracles in this seemingly insignificant area up north.
According to v.21 of today's passage, there came a day when the Lord Jesus went into the synagogue and taught the people. Teaching is the primary means by which the Lord Jesus liberates us. It is in the changing of our minds to think as He, that we are truly set free from the false. And, the most preferred way of the Lord to change our minds is through the verse by verse teaching of His word.
According to v.22 the people were amazed at the teaching of the Lord Jesus because He did not teach like their religious teachers. The people were familiar with truth but they had moved so far from it that they were amazed when they were confronted by it. As we have, they discovered the words of the Lord Jesus were full of life. This is why you and I are drawn to His words when we hear Him. They understood that the Lord Jesus knew the secrets of life. This means that we must measure everything by the truth, what the Lord Jesus has said about any subject.
For 2000 years we have possessed the complete answer to the restless and fruitless yearning of the human soul. In His Word, God has given us the tools we need for a satisfying life. This is why the people in the synagogue at Capernaum that day were amazed at His teaching. His words are always pregnant with truth that resonates within the human soul.
According to v.23-24, the Lord Jesus taught with such insight that a demon who had possessed a man was tortured by the truth that He spoke. This is what caused the demon to lash out at the Lord Jesus in a fit of rage. As we will see, when this demon was forced to leave the person he was inhabiting, he left reluctantly. But he had to go, as we shall see because he was confronted by a superior power. This is the first of seven times in the Gospels that the Lord Jesus cast a demon out of someone.
Throughout all of time, the only name demons have ever feared is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the first of at least 3 times when demons identified the Lord Jesus as the Son of God. In the demonic world, unlike the world of sinful men, there are no atheists! These demons knew exactly with whom they were dealing and that gives credence to the identity of the Lord Jesus as God.
So, in v.24 of today's passage, a pattern is established that will continue throughout Mark’s gospel: the demonic world never failed to identify the Lord Jesus for who He is: the Son of God. The forces of evil have always known His identity and they are often not quiet about it. Today's passage reveals it was the goal of Mark to tell and to show us the identity of the Lord Jesus. This only reinforces the fact that the Lord Jesus is the sovereign God and we can trust Him with our very lives. And, like the very first disciples, when we see Him for who He really is, we will be known as His disciples.
Discipleship is different for all of us. God taylors the truth for us for where we are in our development. He doesn't change the truth, but He trains us all differently by it. This is what I mean when I say He taylors the truth for each of us. God formed each one of us lovingly and intentionally. We are not just "accidents-of-nature." In fact, God caused, involved and utilized unique purposes, plans, and designs that led to our existence.
According to Psalm 139, God was and is personal involvement in making each of us. In Psalm 139 certain phrases are used to capture the idea of God's nurture and creativity when He fashioned us in our mothers womb. He used phrases like "knit together" and "fearfully and wonderfully made" and "woven together" to communicate this idea. God created us with certain purposes and destinies in mind. He even determined the number of days we would live on this earth. And, God's ultimate purpose for our lives is that we would bring glory to Him by enjoying a personal and eternal relationship with Him, now.
Unfortunately, there are many who are convinced that their life is not important or are useless. Some even consider themselves a burden to society, thinking it would have been better if they had never been born. Nothing could be further from the truth! God has created each of us in a way that is unique and special. Each of us is designed in a way that no one else is, and, God desires to accomplish His good works in each of us and through each of us for the good of others.