Gospel According to Mark. Day 4

Day 4

The Man with an Unclean Spirit

21 And they went into Caper′na-um; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. 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; 24 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.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying 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.

Things to know: 

Synagogue is a Greek word that literally means a gathering of people but also refers to the place of assembly. Although the origin of the synagogue as a Jewish institution is unclear, by the first century C.E. they were found in both Palestine and the Diaspora, where they were used for a variety of communal needs: as schools (Josephus, Antiquities 16.43), for communal meals (Josephus, Antiquities 14.214-216), as hostels, as courts (Acts 22:19), as a place to collect and distribute charity (Matt 6:2), and for political meetings (Josephus, Life 276-289). Worship also took place in first-century synagogues, although this would not develop into something like modern Jewish synagogue worship until much later.  Nonetheless, reading and interpreting the Torah and Prophets is well attested in first-century synagogues (Acts 15:21), and although scholars disagree about the extent of communal prayers, literary sources suggest that Jews prayed in at least some synagogues at this time (Matt 6:5, Josephus, Life 280-295). 

Messianic secret - we see that the evil spirit knows all about who Jesus is. Jesus, however does not let the spirit talk and tells the healed person to be silent about the miracle. There are few explanations to why Jesus wants to keep his power somewhat secret. Some say it is because he knew that when he admits to being a Messiah openly, he will get crucified. Others also point out that people understood Messiah to be a political character. Jesus does not want them to think he is a Messiah before he explains what that means properly.  

Meditation: 

Jesus speaks with authority and acts with authority. Do I let the voice of Jesus be the authority in my life? Do I consult the christian teaching before making a choice? Or am I just serving my own interests? Am I trying to please God or would I rather follow the popular trends? 

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