Mark 1:16-34 (Wednesday Evening Bible Study)

Mark 1:16-34

  • Mark 1:16-20
    • 16 As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order. 20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
    • Fishing was a huge industry in Galilee
      • Josephus (Jewish Historian) noted that in his day there were 330 fishing boats that worked the Sea of Galilee
      • Fish was a staple in the diet of the day (meat was hard to come by and most only ate meat (other than fish) once a week)
      • Most was salt fish to preserve it
        • Fresh fish was a delicacy in places like Rome
      • Names of the towns around the lake echo the importance of the industry
        • Bethsaida: House of Fish
        • Tarichaea: The Place of Salt-fish
    • Jesus Chooses His Disciples
    • Who were these men
      • We must notice what they were
        • Fishermen: That is to say that these men were ordinary men
        • They were not the well-schooled that other Rabbis would want
        • Not wealthy
        • No one ever believed in ordinary people the way Jesus does
          • George Bernard Shaw “I have never had any feeling for the working classes, except a desire to abolish them, and replace them with sensible people”
        • It was as if Jesus said, ‘Give me 12 ordinary men and with them, if they will give themselves to me, I will change the world.’
        • We should never think so much of what we are as of what Jesus Christ can make us
      • We must notice what they were doing
        • They were doing an honest day’s work
        • They weren’t looking to be used by God
        • God calls the ordinary out of our everyday lives to work for His Kingdom
      • We must notice how He called them
        • Follow me
          • More than likely, they had heard Him teaching already. This is not necessarily the first interaction that they have had with Him
        • Jesus didn’t lay out His theology and ask them to study it
          • In other words, He called them by asking them to follow Him…a personal reaction to Himself
        • In by far the greatest number of cases, people follow Jesus not because of anything that He said, but because of everything that Jesus is
      • We must notice what Jesus offered them
        • He calls them to a task
          • Not to a life of ease, but to service
        • It has been said that what we all need is something in which to invest our lives. So Jesus called His disciples, not to comfortable ease and not to a lethargic inactivity; He called them to a task in which they would have to spend themselves and burn themselves up, and, in the end, die for His sake and for the sake of others. He called them to a task wherein they could win something for themselves only by giving their all to Him and to others.
  • Mark 1:21-22
    • 21 They went into Capernaum, and right away he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach. 22 They were astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes.
    • Jesus in the Synagogue
      • There are certain differences between the synagogue and the church as we know it today
        • The synagogue was primarily a teaching institution and consisted of three things
          • Prayer
          • Reading of God’s Word
          • Exposition of God’s Word
          • No music, no singing, no sacrifice
          • It may be said that the Temple was the place of worship and sacrifice; the synagogue was the place of teaching and instruction
          • The synagogue was the more influential of the two
            • One Temple
            • Everywhere where 10 or more Jewish families lived, the Law required there to be a synagogue
            • If a man had a new message to preach, the synagogue was the obvious place to start
        • The synagogue had certain officials
          • Ruler
            • He was responsible for the administration of the affairs of the synagogue and for the arrangements for its services
          • Distributers of Alms
            • Collections were taken and then given to the poor
            • The poorest of the poor would receive 14 meals per week
          • Chazzan
            • “Minister”
            • He was responsible for taking out and storing the sacred scrolls
            • Cleaning the synagogue
            • Blowing the blasts on the silver trumpet to mark the Sabbath
            • The elementary education of the children of the community
          • One thing they did not have was a permanent preacher or teacher
            • When the people met at the synagogue service it was open to the ruler to call on any competent person  to give the address and the exposition
            • This is why Jesus was able to teach in the synagogues
        • Jesus taught with authority, unlike the scribes
          • The most sacred thing in the world to the Jews is the Torah
          • Considered completely divine
          • ‘He who says that the Torah is not from God has no part in the future world’, ‘He who says that Moses wrote even one verse of his own knowledge is a denier and despiser of the word of God.’
          • If the Torah is so divine…
            • It becomes the supreme rule of faith and life
            • It contains everything necessary to guide and direct life
          • Torah demands two things
            • It must be given the most careful and meticulous study
            • It is expressed in great, wide principles; but, if it contains the direction and guidance for all life, what is in it implicitly must be brought out. The great laws must become rules and regulations
            • This was the thought process of the Jews
          • Scribes (the highest rank was Rabbi) arose and became experts in the law. They had three duties
            • Out of the great moral principles they were to extract rules and regulations for every possible situation in life
              • Became an endless task
              • Jewish religion began with the great moral laws; it ended with an infinity of rules and regulations. It began as religion; it ended as legalism
            • They were to transmit and teach the law and its development
              • Never written down
              • Oral law
              • Even though it was never written down, it was considered more binding than the written law
              • From generation to generation scribes were taught and committed to memory
            • They had the duty of giving judgement in individual cases (practically every individual case produced a new law)
          • How did Jesus’ teachings differ from the scribes?
            • He taught with personal authority
            • The scribes would never give a decision on their own
              • “there is a teaching that…”
              • The last thing they would ever give was an independent judgment 
            • He cited no authorities and quoted no experts
            • He spoke with the finality of the voice of God
            • The terrific, positive certainty of Jesus was the very antithesis of the careful quotations of the scribes. The note of personal authority rang out—and that is a note which captures everyone’s attention.
  • Mark 1:23-28
    • 23 Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out, 24 “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 Jesus rebuked him saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, and so they began to ask each other, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 At once the news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.
    • Jesus not only taught with authority, He healed with authority as well
    • Healing of the demon possessed
      • Where did these demons come from?
        • Some believed they were as old as creation itself
        • Some believed they were the spirits of the wicked who had died and were still carrying on their malignant work
        • Most connected the demons with a story in Genesis 6:1-8
          • When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. 3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men. 5 When the Lord saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, 6 the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. 7 Then the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.” 8 Noah, however, found favor with the Lord.
      • There were many exorcists that claimed to be able to cast out demons
        • By AD 340, the Christian Church had an Order of Exorcists
        • Ordinary Jewish and pagan exorcists used elaborate incantations and spells and magical rites
        • Jesus with one word of clear, simple, brief authority exorcised the demon
    • The power was not in the spell, formula, incantation, or elaborate rite; the power was in Jesus, and people were astonished
  • Mark 1:29-31
    • 29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.
    • Jesus went to Peter’s after the service
    • Jewish custom would have had the main Sabbath meal immediately after the service
    • Instead of insisting on eating or resting after the service, Jesus healed Peter’s mother in law, giving of Himself for others
    • This miracle tells us about three people
      • Jesus 
        • He did not require an audience in order to exert His power
        • His methods of healing were different than any other
          • What Peter’s mother in law was suffering from was, according to the Talmud, a burning fever
            • Prevalent today and then in this part of the world
            • Talmud lays down the methods of dealing with it
            • A knife of iron was to be tied by a braid of hair to a thorn bush
            • Successive days, they read Exodus 3:2-3; Exodus 3:4, and then Exodus 3:5
            • Then a magical formula was pronounced and the cure was supposed to be achieved
          • Jesus disregarded the common practices of the day and simply spoke with authority to heal her
      • The disciples
        • Even though they had not been with Jesus long, they were already willing to bring things to Jesus 
        • Therein lies the very essence of the Christian Life. “Take it to the Lord in Prayer”. The disciples had learned what became the habit of a lifetime—to take all their troubles to Jesus and to ask His help for them.
      • Peter’s Mother in Law
        • No sooner had she recovered, she began to serve.
        • SAVED PEOPLE SERVE PEOPLE
  • Mark 1:32-34
    • 32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town was assembled at the door, 34 and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
    • The emergence of so great a new power and authority was not something which could be kept secret
    • Three times we have seen Jesus healing people
      • Healed in the synagogue
      • Healed in the house
      • Healed in the street
      • Jesus recognized the claim of everyone
    • Wherever there was trouble Jesus was ready to use His power. He selected neither the place nor the person
    • The people flocked to Jesus because they recognized in Him a man who could do things
      • The person people want is the effective person. Jesus could and can produce results
        • The crowds came, but they came because they wanted something out of Him
        • Not because they loved Him
        • Not because they had caught a glimpse of some new vision
        • They wanted to use Him
    • We must all go to Jesus, for He alone can give us the things we need for life; but if that going and these gifts do not produce in us an answering love and gratitude there is something tragically wrong. God is not someone to be used in the day of misfortune; He is someone to be loved and remembered every day of our lives.

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