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And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “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.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 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.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 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.
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider
1. In Lesson 2 (link above) we saw that Mark 1:1 introduces Jesus as the “Christ” and the “Son of God.” How do verses 21-45 demonstrate that Jesus is, indeed, the promised Messiah, and that He is divine? How does Mark 1:1-20 “credentialize” Jesus and lay the foundation for what he does in verses 21-45?
2. In Mark 1:1-20, Jesus is baptized, successfully endures the “trial by fire” of temptation, calls His first disciples, and begins His ministry. Where, and on which day, according to verse 21, does Jesus’ ministry begin? Is there any significance to the fact that Jesus began His ministry in a synagogue on the Sabbath? What is a synagogue? Why would this have been a natural and appropriate place for Rabbi Jesus’ ministry to begin? Why did Jesus begin His teaching ministry by seeking out a Jewish audience? According to Mark 1:15, what was the central message of Jesus’ teaching that day?
As we study Mark, watch for the word “Sabbath,” the events that happen on the Sabbath, and their connection to Jesus’ deity, lordship, and authority.
3. What are the three main categories of ministry Jesus engages in in 21-45?
4. Examine Jesus’ preaching/teaching ministry in 21-22, 38-39, 45. Where did Jesus teach/preach, primarily? What was the people’s reaction to Jesus’ teaching? What does verse 22 mean when it says, “He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes”? How does verse 38 indicate Jesus’ preaching/teaching was His primary focus in ministry?
5. Examine Jesus’ exorcising of demons in 23-27, 32-34, 39. What was the demon in 23-27 responding to? (21-22) How did this distract people from listening to Jesus teach? How did both Jesus’ teaching (21-22) and the first exorcism (23-27) demonstrate Jesus’ authority and divinity? When the demons testified about who Jesus was (24, 34), what was His response to them? (25, 34) Why wouldn’t Jesus allow them to speak even though what they were saying about Him was true? How did the people react to this miracle? (27-28)
6. Examine the healings Jesus performed in 30-31, 32-34, 40-45. Did Jesus heal Simon’s mother-in-law just so she would get up and serve them? (31) What do you think was her attitude of heart as she “began to serve them?” How did so many people (33-34) know to come to Jesus for healing? (28, 45)
What was the ceremonial status of a person with leprosy? How did being ceremonially unclean separate a person from the people of God and from the worship of God? Normally, a priest would be made unclean by touching a leper. But when Jesus, our great high priest, touched lepers, was He made unclean, or the leper made clean? (41-42) How does this healing point to Jesus’ mission to reconcile unclean sinners to a holy God? Compare Jesus’ obedience and submission to God’s word (44) with the former leper’s disobedience to Jesus’ word (45). How might his disobedience have caused difficulty for others who wanted to get to Jesus? (45)
7. Why was Jesus famous? (28, 33, 45) Returning to the last question in #4, do you think Jesus would have preferred to be known more for His teaching or for His miracles? Why?
8. What do verses 35-37 indicate about the importance of prayer to Jesus? Why do you think (28, 33, 45) He got up so early to pray?
Verses 35-37 give us an idea of how important prayer was to Jesus- so important that, even though He must have been exhausted from the hard work of ministry, He made sacrifices (like sleep) and cordoned off uninterrupted time for it.
Talking with the Lord as you go about the activities of your day is a wonderful way to “pray without ceasing,” but do you also follow Jesus’ example of cordoning off a regular, uninterrupted block of time specifically devoted to prayer, even if you have to make sacrifices to do so? If not, sit down this week, make a plan for your prayer time – when, where, what you’ll need to sacrifice – and implement it daily.