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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Fourth Sunday After Epiphany
Series B

Option #1: "A Teaching With Authority"
Mark 1:21-28
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. Authority over evil--text, vv23-27

A. Visible evil--demonic et al--Mk 5; Matt 8:29; Lk 8:28; James 2:19--demons’ opinion of Christ’s power; re: "the Holy One"--Acts 3:14ff; Mark 1:34, 3:11-12; Luke 9:37ff, 11:14-22

B. Evil within--repent!; Mark 6:12-13; Acts 5:31-32, 20:21, 2 Peter 3:9

II. Praise Him for the authority of His Word--Matt 9:33-35, 12:22-28, 15:31; Mark 7:37

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:


When He began to teach in Palestine, all knowledge of God and all exercise of His authority were mediated through the priests and scribes who, however, claimed the Old Testament as their source. Christ was neither the destroyer nor the creator of institutions. He never discussed the abstract right or capacity of the Jewish orders to be religious teachers. He enjoined obedience to their teaching (Mt 23:2-3). Still less did He question the authority of the Old Testament. He came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law and the prophets (Mt 5:17). But He did two things which involved the assertion of a new and superior authority in Himself. He repudiated the scribes’ interpretation of the law (Mt 23:13-16), and He declared that certain of the provisions of the Mosaic law itself were temporary and tentative and to be replaced or supplemented by His own more adequate teaching (Matt 5:32, 34, 39, 44; 19:8-9). In doing this He was really fulfilling a line of thought which permeates the entire Old Testament. All its writers disclaim finality and look forward to a fuller revelation of the mind of God in a day of Yahweh or a new covenant or a Messiah. Jesus Christ regarded these expectations as being realized in Himself and claimed to complete and fulfill the development which had run through the Old Testament. As such, He claims finality in His teaching of the will of God and absolute authority in the realm of religion and morals.

(A) His Teaching: His teaching is with authority. His hearers contrast it with that of the scribes, who, with all the prestige of tradition and establishment, in comparison with Him, entirely lacked authority (Mt 7:29; Mk 1:22; Lk 4:32; Jn 7:46).

(B) His Works: His authority as a teacher is closely associated with His works, especially as these revealed His authority over that world of evil spirits whose influence was felt in the mental disorders that afflicted people (Mk 1:27; Lk 4:36).

(C) Forgiving and Judging: In His claim to forgive sins, sanctioned by works of healing, He exercised a divine prerogative (Matt 9:6, 8; Mk 2:10; Lk 5:24). It stated an infallible moral judgment, a power to dispense with the recognized laws of retribution and to remove guilt, which could only inhere in God. All these powers are asserted in another form in the statement that He is the final judge (Jn 5:27).

(D) Life and Salvation: He therefore possesses authority over life and salvation. This authority begins in His power over His own life to give it in sacrifice for men (John 10:18). By faith in Him and obedience to Him, men obtain salvation (Matt 10:32; 11:28-30). Their relation to Him determines their relation to God and to the kingdom of heaven (Matt 10:40; Lk 12:8).

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I don’t have to tell you that there are all kinds of scary movies out there. Some people like them because they feel "high" when they are scared.

In the time of Jesus, there were some very frightened people and they didn’t have scary movies to watch. They actually saw people who possessed by demons. We believe that angels help us; well, the devil has servants too and if we play around with things like Ouija boards, we can get into a lot of trouble.

In the Bible lesson for today, we are not told about how the man became possessed. We are told that they were in the synagogue when this man cried out: "What do you want with us, Jesus? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Son of God!"

Why am I telling you this? Simple: I want you to know that the very powerful angels of Satan are afraid of Jesus. That’s because He is the Son of God. If you know someone who is playing with the devil, tell him to stop. He is playing a very dangerous game. If you know of someone whose house has strange things happening, Jesus still can help today. After all, "He gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him!"


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Option #2: "Under New--God's!--Management"
Mark 1:21-28
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.



Point: God wants to cast out our personal demons.
Problem: Like the demon(s), we may get our Christology right intellectually, but we lack Spiritual maturity and understanding.
Promise: God in Jesus took/takes on all our demons and, in the Holy Spirit, gives us authority and confidence to exorcise others'.
1. akathartos, v23: not cleansed, unclean in a ceremonial sense: that which must be abstained from according to the levitical law; in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life. (Blue Letter Bible)
2. The Greek word for authority or power is exousia, from which we derive the word "exorcize," as in Jesus' exorcizing the unclean spirits (Mark 1:21-22). (Paul Berge)


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