The heart of the Christmas season is celebrating the life of Jesus Christ. In His life, we see the identity of Jesus Christ on display. Jesus came to change our hearts for Him. How does the life of Jesus change our hearts for Jesus? Each Friday throughout the month of December, Esther St John will walk us through Mark 1 to help our hearts see Jesus. In this post, Esther walks us through Mark 1:21-34.
The Identity of Jesus
Last week we saw how every aspect of Scripture is important! As we read, we can observe and ask questions like “why, what, where, who and how”. Yet, remember, the reason why we ask these questions is not merely to obtain information but for heart transformation. God uses His Word to reveal Himself to us, to teach us about his character, and to change our hearts. With hearts transformed, we will have a change of life! Praise God!
In this week’s passage, we see Jesus going to Capernaum to teach in the synagogue. People were listening to His teaching and were mesmerized! Why? Because “He was teaching as someone who has authority and not as the scribes”. How was Jesus’ teaching different than the scribes? Why is this important for us to know? These are good questions for us to ask. This same verse is mentioned in all the Gospels, and we can find them in Mathew 7:28-29, Luke 4:32 and John 14:10.
Examine the Text:
- Why is it important for us to know that Jesus’ teaching had authority? (Read John 12:49-50 and Luke 20:1-8 for guidance.)
- Where did Jesus’s authority coming from?
- Why were the scribes not able not teach with the same authority?
Everything Jesus said came from the mouth of God. He was not merely a messenger or a prophet like John the Baptist was. He was more; He was the One whom all the Prophets were speaking of and the prophecies were pointing to.
While Jesus was teaching at the synagogue, a man with an unclean spirit was there. The man said something that is very important for us to notice. He said, “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.”
Apply to Life:
- How can circumstances in your life give you an opportunity to know Jesus better, in His character and mission?
- How is the identity and authority of Jesus being displayed in your life today?
Jesus’ performing miracles and teaching with authority came from His identity as the Son of God, not the other way around. His identity was not based on what He did but in who He was and is, as He is God Himself.
Apply to Life:
- How does this truth about Jesus encourage you in terms of your identity?
- The unclean spirits knew Jesus’s identity before He performed a miracle. They didn’t need to see Jesus casting them out before recognizing who He was. The demons knew Jesus. In what ways are you tempted to put your identity in what you do instead of resting in what Jesus has already done for you?
In verses 29-34, we see Jesus healing many people. Scripture tells us Simon shared with Jesus about his mother-in-law’s fever, and immediately He went to see her and healed her. As soon as she was healed, she started serving them (verses 30-31). What a heart of gratitude! She didn’t serve Jesus so that she could be healed. She served Jesus because she had been healed by Him. In other words, her service was not based on what she could get out of Jesus; it was based on gratitude toward Jesus. Jesus initiated and performed this miracle in her life, and her serving was a result and response of Jesus’s work in her.
Apply to Life:
- How are you tempted to serve Jesus for what He can do for you? What Scripture can/will you memorize to help you have a heart of gratitude and serve in response to the gift of the gospel?
Right after the healing, the whole city gathered around them, and they brought to Jesus ALL who were sick or oppressed by demons (verse 32). However, Jesus healed MANY, but not ALL of them. Why? Because the purpose of the miracles was for people to listen to the preaching of the gospel. That is the mission and message Jesus came to share.