“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.” (Mark 1:16–34, ESV)
II. The Authority of Jesus over our Calling (vv. 16-20)
II. The Authority of Jesus as a Teacher (vv. 20-28)
In addition to having the authority to call men, Jesus also has authority as a Teacher. After picking up a few new disciples Mark tells us that Jesus went in Capernaum which would have been on the northern side of the Sea of Galilee. This was an important location because it became Jesus’ headquarters for ministry. Since this would be Jesus’ headquarters it was fitting for Him to participate in the local synagogue. It is not surprising that that He would also be asked to teach. Upon hearing Jesus’ teaching the people were amazed. The people had heard the Rabbis teach the Old Testament before, but it was never like this. This teaching was different because it was authoritative. Jesus’ authority was not derivative; it was intrinsic in His nature. A great example of this authoritative teaching is found in Matthew 5:21-22. Jesus was simply explaining the Scriptures and all the implications that they have on our lives.
The power of this authoritative message was too much for one particular individual in attendance. One of the individuals attending at the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit. This spirit, or demon, was controlling this man. He knew that this authoritative teaching was trouble for him and all demons. He was scared, because He knew who Jesus was (James 2:19) and what He could do.
The Divine authority of Jesus’ words is on full display when Jesus rebukes this demon and silences Him. It may seem strange that Jesus would not let this demon—or any demon—admit that He was God, however Jesus had several good reasons for doing this. First, Jesus wanted to avoid any accusation that He was associated with demons (cf. 3:22). Second, Jesus wanted to avoid mass frenzy over His ministry. He needed the time and freedom to complete His earthly ministry before He would be crucified. In fact, He had just called four new disciples that would need to be trained before He left. So, Jesus exercised His authority over this demon and kept him quiet.
At all of this the people were again amazed. Mark tells us that they questioned what this new teaching was. They knew it was authoritative, but they did not understand it. Unfortunately the authority and teaching of the Scriptures was something new to them. From what Mark tells us they did not respond appropriately. They were occupied with the effects of Jesus’ teaching rather than on the spiritual implications. They were more interested in the demons that were being cast out, than the teaching of the Messiah who was in their presence. They were only interested in what Jesus could do for them in the “here-and-now.” They had no concern for obeying Jesus’ teaching because they did not recognize His authority. We must guard ourselves from this kind of faulty thinking and obey Jesus’ authority.
III. The Authority of Jesus over our Health (vv. 29-34)
The most important aspect of Jesus’ authority is in the spiritual realm. However Jesus’ authority is not limited to the spiritual realm. Vv. 29-35 make it clear that Jesus has the authority to heal physical problems. After the encounter with the demon in the synagogue Jesus and His disciples went back to Simon’s house. There Simon’s mother was very ill. Dr. Luke described this fever she had as a “high fever.” (Luke 4:38). This would have been life threatening, and a great cause for concern. However, Jesus had the authority to heal her simply by the touch of His hand.
Word spread quickly about this Jesus, and as soon as the Sabbath was over the whole town came to Jesus to be healed. Jesus again silenced the demons because they were adding to the hysteria (Luke 4:41). It is important to note that none of these people seemed the least bit concerned with Jesus’ message. No one was showing up to “repent and believe” (1:15). They were only interested in what Jesus could do for their physical situation. Jesus of course healed many, and thus displayed that He has the authority to take care of our physical situation. But there is an important less here for us. We should not be like these people who were concerned only for their physical situation. Instead, we should trust in Jesus’ power to take care of us and concern ourselves with the spiritual truths of Jesus’ teaching.