Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
A New Teaching
In this passage of Mark, we see the public’s first conception of who Jesus was, that most people saw him as a new teacher with a new teaching. This isn’t surprising as we know from other gospel accounts that at a young age, Jesus showed amazing mastery of the Word. Also, we know from John’s gospel that there is some intimate, eternal connection between Jesus and the logos, or the Word. So people were definitely correct in their perception of Jesus.
But how many teachers do you know can also command spirits to leave people with only a word? He is a great teacher, but obviously so much more.
When I think about God’s character, I think about it as some strange zero sum game, that he is either one way or another. I emphasize a sole element of his character at a time, and at the expense of other sides of who he is. Jesus is a great teacher…no, He is a righteous JUDGE…no no, he’s a loving Father. None of these is wrong, but none of these alone is a complete understanding of who Jesus is. Like in this passage, our understanding of God needs expansion, that he is a Teacher and a Judge and a Father and even more. For many of us, God is not different from who we think he is, he is more than we think he is.
1. When you think about God, how do you usually see him, as a Teacher? A Friend? A Father? A God? Why do you think this is?
2. Out of the different conceptions of God’s character that you are aware of, which is the hardest for you to remember or relate to? Why do you think this is?
3. Why do you think it is important or useful to have an expanded, larger understanding of God’s character?
4. Is there a situation in your life where this larger understanding of God would be useful or appropriate? In what ways does reshape how you see that situation?