Two Journeys Ministry
In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis

The Authority of the Son of God (Mark Sermon 5)

Series: Mark

The Authority of the Son of God (Mark Sermon 5)

February 06, 2022 | Andrew Davis
Mark 1:21-28
Miracles, Deity of Christ, Demons

Jesus spoke at Capernaum, showing His authority through his words, judgment, and power. The right response is fear and amazement leading to faith.

             

- Sermon transcript- 

 Turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter one. We're looking at the text you just heard Chris read, verses 21 through 28. Immediately from the beginning of this amazing book, the Gospel of Mark, we have the theme, the thesis, the central idea of the Gospel of Mark. Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God," so the word gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus is the Christ and that the Messiah, the Christ, is the Son of God or God the Son. How wonderful it is that God, centuries before Jesus was born, promised the Messiah, a king to rule in David's lineage, and that he would rule not just the Jewish nation, but the whole world.

That's the best good news that there has ever been. Why is that? Well, it's because Jesus himself is so good, because Jesus is so good, and his kingdom is good. Jesus is pure and righteous and holy and kind and wise, and that's exactly the kind of king that we need. It's the kind of king we need in the world today and we will always need for all eternity. The infinite majesty of his person is established in this title, the Son of God, that Jesus is not merely the son of David, the descendant of David. He is that, but he is also God's only begotten son. And behind this is the idea of a kingdom, the kingdom of God, that God, the creator of the universe, is a king with rights to rule over that universe. And he has that right to rule over us completely and totally, so the central call of the Bible is exactly what Jesus said as he began his public ministry.


"Jesus is pure and righteous and holy and kind and wise, and that's exactly the kind of king that we need. It's the kind of king we need in the world today and we will always need for all eternity."

Look again at verse 15, Mark 1:15. "The time has come," he said, "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news." Because the kingdom of God is drawing near, every sinner is commanded by God to repent of their sins and believe the gospel, the good news, and thereby enter the kingdom of God and submit gladly to the king. So already in this very early stage of the Gospel of Mark, we have five proofs that Jesus is rightful king of the world and, therefore, king of our lives.

First, we had a divine forerunner, John the Baptist, who ran ahead of the king and proclaimed his way like a herald. Secondly, a divine coronation ceremony in which Almighty God himself anointed him directly with the descending Holy Spirit, not merely symbolically as the Jewish kings were with oil symbolizing the coming of the Spirit, but the Spirit himself descended on Jesus. And he was announced, proclaimed to the world, and specifically to Jesus, but also to the world. "You are my Son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased." And then thirdly, a sound defeat of Jesus' enemy, the central enemy, Satan, in direct spiritual warfare, resisting all of the temptations that Satan threw at him over a 40-day period in the desert. And then fourth, the clear proclamation of the message that I just proclaimed to you a moment ago. As he begins his public ministry after John is put in prison, "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe," that proclamation. And then fifthly, he's beginning to assemble his warriors who will join along with him, the apostles. They're not designated that yet, but they will be. And he walks along the Sea of Galilee and assembles them together, Simon and Andrew, James and John, saying, "Follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men."

Now in this passage that we're studying today, Jesus moves out to build his kingdom and calls people to enter it and to submit to his reign. Now, essential to this is that we sinners would recognize his authority and that it is his God-given right to rule over us, to give us commands that we must obey. We tend to, sinners, to be very hostile to authority, to be suspicious of authority, and we want to fight against it. Jesus seeks to win us, to yield to his authority. And throughout the gospel of Mark, we're going to see more and more evidences and persuasions of why we should submit to Jesus as our king.

I. The Authority of Jesus’ Words

 Now it begins with Jesus' teaching, with his words, the authority of Jesus' words. Look at verses 21 and 22. "They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. And the people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one who had authority, not as their teachers of the law." So the context of this preaching ministry is a synagogue in Capernaum. As a continuation of the previous passage, Jesus had walked along the Sea of Galilee, called these four disciples, future apostles, to follow him, Peter and Andrew, brothers, James and John, brothers, two sets of brothers. They were fishing along the sea and Jesus called them to follow him. And instantly they dropped their nets and followed him. They went with him, then, to Capernaum.

Now, Capernaum was a prosperous fishing town on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. The sea itself was a freshwater lake, 7 miles wide, 13 miles long. Now, the word Capernaum literally means village of Nahum, village of Nahum. Perhaps it was the hometown of the Old Testament prophet Nahum. The town was on a Roman road called the Via Maris. Historians tell us that Capernaum had a sea wall, eight feet high, with a promenade that sat upon it about a half-mile long. Fishing piers were built out on that, on that sea wall, and they extended over a hundred feet out into the Sea of Galilee. That would be a perfect place for fishing ships to come in and unload their catches of fish.

Capernaum would become the base of Jesus' operations in that region for the beginning of his ministry after he had been evicted from his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus would do a river of miracles in Capernaum, a river of miracles, one after the other. There never has been, never will be, a wonder-worker like Jesus. But later, he would condemn the city of Capernaum for failing to repent, for failing to enter the kingdom as they should have done. And he would condemn them in Matthew 11:21 through 24, also with Chorazin, the city of Chorazin and Bethsaida. "Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you'll go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you, Capernaum, had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day, but I tell you it'll be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you, Capernaum."

To whom much is given, much is required, and the people of Capernaum were given much. They were given ample evidence of the greatness of Jesus Christ by these miracles that he did. Now, Mark tells us on the Sabbath, Jesus went into the synagogue. Synagogue was the center of Jewish religious life in every community. The word literally means a gathering, where they were gathered together, an assembly, a place where the Jews would meet, especially on the Sabbath, and they would read the Scriptures and they would pray and worship. Keep in mind that the common people did not have individual copies of the Scripture, and so they would come to hear the word of God read, what we know now as the Old Testament. Of course, the New Testament didn't exist yet. And so they would assemble together and they would read scripture. Furthermore, every qualified Jewish man in the synagogue had the right to comment on the scripture, on the passage that was read, to say something, a word of exhortation. And Jesus began to teach in that setting.

Now, Mark is a very efficient and a very economical writer. It's the shortest of the Gospels, and he doesn't give us any sampling of Jesus' teaching here. He focuses instead on the reaction of the people who heard him. They were stunned, absolutely stunned. Now the stunned reactions of the people who heard Jesus' teaching were very common, actually. Later in his ministry, Jesus' enemies sent some temple police to go arrest Jesus. And the temple police went to arrest him, and after a time, they came back empty-handed. And so Jesus' enemy said, "Where is he?" And they said, "No one ever spoke like this man." Oh, they were blown away, John 7:46. And so it was also in this synagogue in Capernaum, the people were amazed. The Greek word implies they were stunned, blown away. They'd never heard anything like it. And what amazed them was the overwhelming sense of authority with which Jesus taught.

He was not like their teachers of the law. Now, the teachers of the law, sometimes in some translations called scribes, were responsible for the constant copying of the Hebrew scriptures. Remember, again, they didn't have printing presses. They didn't have ways to mass-produce literature as we have today, and so every copy of the Scripture was handwritten, very costly. So these scribes, these teachers of law, worked all day long, copying literally letter by letter, the Hebrew scrolls, so there would be another copy of the Law of Moses, the Writings, and the Prophets. Now they were experts, so they believed, in what the Word taught and so they were responsible for teaching the people. Scribes were often honored with the title "rabbi," and they loved this. They loved to be greeted in the marketplaces and have people be deferential to them and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at the banquets.

However, their teaching style was far removed from the words of Scripture, long since removed, many steps removed. They would zero in on what previous rabbis centuries before had taught about this or that. And then how subsequent rabbis, then, commented on what the earlier rabbis said. And they would go over all the debates and wranglings of the Jewish people over this or that scripture and how this or that rabbi had resolved that particular wrangling. And they would go over the minutia of the law. Some of these scribes were mystical or allegorical in the way that they taught. Their position in Jewish society was secure because no one could challenge them. They had absolute teaching authority, the position of teaching. Very few people, however, the common people, even understood what they were talking about. Just didn't make a lot of sense to them. And they themselves were merely parroting what some other human teachers had said.

And in their traditionalism, they got further and further from the true Word of God. Jesus leveled all that, blew it all away. He razed that structure to the ground by the way he taught. He didn't cite any previous rabbis at all. He didn't cite any other human authority. He gave no allegiance to the high priest, didn't say anything about the school of instruction, biblical instruction in Jerusalem. He didn't refer to any of that. Instead, he spoke with direct, unquestionable, personal authority concerning the Word of God. Now, Matthew gives us a sampling of this. So in the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew, he says, "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,' and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool,' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

And then a few moments later, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery,' but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." Amazing. "You have heard that it was said, but I say to you," and then teaching clearly about the dangers of hell, teaching that the love of God does not merely check your external performance and behavior, but actually probes the inner workings of your heart, not only the external danger of the physical act of murder, but the eternal danger of anger, which is the root of murder. Not just the physical danger of actual physical adultery, but the eternal danger to your soul of lust, probing the heart.

Keep in mind, Jesus' handling of the law was perfectly right. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense because the tenth commandment was a commandment against covetousness, coveting. And where do you covet, except it in the heart, in the inside the heart? Coveting leads to actions, it's true, but the law was against a heart disposition, a heart sin. Jesus just extended that to all of it. God is not looking merely at the external appearance, but he's looking at the heart. And keep in mind also, that he was the first to unfold the infinite danger that hangs over all sinners of hell, of eternal conscious torment.

As I said in the book of Job, there is no clear doctrine of hell in the Old Testament. Doctrine of the grave, but beyond that, fires of hell, eternal conscious torment, it was Jesus that opened that up for us, the threat of hell. And perhaps the greatest, most shocking assertion of all are the things he said about himself and how he related to the Word of God, the Old Testament. When he had taught in Nazareth, the scroll of Isaiah was handed to him, and he unrolled it. And he found a specific place that related to the ministry he was about to begin, Isaiah 61. Luke 4:18 and 19 teaches this. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind and to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

And after rolling the scroll of Isaiah back up, he sat down in the customary physical position of a teacher and said these stunning words, "Today in your hearing this scripture is fulfilled." Fulfilled. It's a messianic prophecy. Jesus overtly claimed to be the one about whom Isaiah wrote. It's a staggering claim, a staggering level of authority. Our salvation, our salvation depends on hearing Jesus' words properly, understanding the authority with which he speaks to our souls. Those threats against anger, those threats against lust are threats against us. He is the judge who will sit on our final court trial, on our souls, and evaluate us. His legal opinion on the state of your soul matters because he is the king. And Jesus said in John 5:24 and 25, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life." The salvation of your soul depends on hearing Jesus speak the truth and believing that it's coming straight from God through Jesus. 

II. The Authority of Jesus’ Judgment

 Secondly, the authority of Jesus' judgment. Suddenly in the middle of this authoritative teaching that Jesus was doing, a demon raised its ugly head, revealed its presence. Verses 23, 24, "Just then, a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.'" Mark says, "immediately." He just says that a lot or, "just then." It's just a shocking moment, right in the middle. It's the sound of Jesus' voice and the purity of his word that forced this demon up and out to reveal himself. And the demon's reaction, we're going to see this again and again in the gospel of Mark, the terror with which demons greeted Jesus, they're overtly terrorized by him.

So, we get to this hidden power of demons. Many times in Mark's Gospel, we're going to come across the issue of demon possession. There is not a single clear example of demon possession in the Old Testament. There are some moments here and there, but it's not overt. There are only two mentioned in the book of Acts. It's not addressed in the Epistles. The activity of demons is huge in the book of Revelation, but it's especially centered in the Gospels during the ministry of Jesus.

Jesus encountered demons, it seems, every day, every single day. And he drove out demons, and driving out demons was one of the central displays of the power of his kingdom. It proved his authority, more on that in a moment. Seems like demons preferred to stay hidden, to do their work invisibly, subtly, even so it is today. But when Jesus came into the world, he brought the blinding light of his glory and of his truth. And it burned within the evil darkness that the demons had crafted, spiritual darkness. And suddenly they come skittering out and running like cockroaches in a darkened kitchen.

When I was a student at MIT, I lived in a fraternity in Boston. It was built in the Back Bay, which is landfill, friends, it's a bunch of landfill, and the cockroaches live there. We had to bomb that house three times a year. One night, I woke up with cockroaches running across my face. I knew that would get you. If you went down at night and turned on the light, there they'd be, and they'd run for cover. Amazingly, the demons run to Jesus, not away from him. But the demoniac of Gadara, you're going to see that, he comes from afar to Jesus. You know why? He knows he has nowhere to hide. You got to go deal with him. If you want something from him, you better go beg him because you can't get away from him. They understand who he is, and they're afraid of him.

And so when Jesus came, he turned on the light and they were revealed. So what are they? What are demons? Well, we addressed this at the end of the book of Job, sermons on behemoth and leviathan. Remember I said at the time, not a hundred percent certain the behemoth and leviathan represent demons and Satan, but I am a hundred percent certain that demons and Satan are an issue today and we need to understand their role in human suffering.

So, demons are fallen angels. Angels are spiritual beings, created similar to us in that they have intelligence, verbal skills, ability to evaluate God's work, and worship him. They just don't have the physical side of the bodies that we have. Revelation 12 makes it plain that Satan led some sort of a heavenly revolt against Almighty God, and it seems a third of the demons joined him in that heavenly revolt. As the dragon's tail swept a third of the stars from the sky and flung them to the earth, seems it's talking about angels that fell with him, and he lost his heavenly battle and was hurled to the earth. Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." And so the demons joined him. They are the Devil and his angels, his angels. Now, it seems some of them were locked immediately or some subsequent time later in a pit of some sort, a pit that they find torturous and that they're terrorized of it. They're held in that bottomless pit for future judgment, but that is not hell. That's not their final judgment. Demons have far greater power than human beings do. They have the ability to infiltrate human minds, to insinuate thoughts, mental temptations, and occasionally to take possession of people, to totally take over a human personality so that they violate their will. A person doesn't have a will in the matter anymore. That's what we're dealing with.

So in that synagogue in Capernaum, this demon inhabiting the body of a man cries out in terror, in rage to Jesus. Look at verse 24. "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God." Now, we're going to see many times in the Gospel of Mark, as well as other places in the New Testament, the demons have a very accurate theology. They get it right. The things they say is generally true, theologically.

As James said, "Demons believe that God is one," or that there is one God, "and they shudder." They get the doctrine right. Remember the demon possessed girl who walked along behind Paul and Silas in Philippi? Acts 16:17, "The demon possessed girl was crying out. 'These men are servants of the most high God who are telling you the way to be saved.'" Every word of that's true. So it is with demonic statements about Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. They're factually true. That demon calls him Jesus of Nazareth. That's his hometown. It's his human name, his human location. He is fully human. But he also says, "I know who you are. You're the Holy One of God." Holy, sinless, you've never sinned. And you recently defeated our king Satan in a battle in the desert, and you still haven't sinned. You're holy. But you're not just a holy person, you are the Holy One of God.

Later, we're going to have this open demonic testimony in Mark 3:11, "Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, 'You are the son of God,'" accurate theology. So the demons speak the truth about Jesus and we're going to find again and again, they are terrified of him. Why are they terrified of him? First, they know who he is, and second, they know who they are. That's why they're terrified. Jesus is their mortal enemy. They're in open warfare against Almighty God. And beyond this, it seems in Revelation 12, along with Satan, they know that their time is short. They don't have much longer to do all this. Revelation 12:12, "They know that their end will be the lake of fire." That's their future punishment. And the lake of fire was crafted as a punishment for the Devil and his angels. But then since we humans, under Adam, joined Satan in his rebellion against God, we get the same punishment that was crafted for the Devil and his angels if we don't repent of our sins and flee to Christ.

And so Jesus will say in his judgment, in Matthew 25:41, "He will say to those on his left," the goats, the unbelievers, "'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" Those are demons. Furthermore, there was, at that time, an immediate possibility that Jesus would command those demons to be thrown into the pit to join other demons that are being tortured until their final damnation, that they'll lose their freedom to roam on the earth. 2 Peter 2:4, "God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment." So Tartarus, the pit, it's a pit. Doesn't come across, always, in the English translations, but there's a pit. Also Jude 6, "The angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home, these he has kept in darkness bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great day." So they've not been judged finally yet, but they've lost their freedom and they're being tortured. They're afraid of this.

So another time in Matthew 8:29, a demon cries out, "What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to us before the appointed time?" Are we going to lose our freedom? So the demons knew full well that Jesus is the judge of all the earth. It is his right and his power to condemn all demons, if he wants, to immediate torture. He is Lord of heaven and earth. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to him. That's who he is. And so the demon is terrified of Jesus' power to judge.

And let me just stop and say our salvation in part begins with a healthy fear of Jesus' power to condemn us to hell. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," Proverbs 9:10. John 5:27 that God has given the Son authority to judge "because he is the Son of Man." He has the right to judge your soul. He has that right. Matthew 25:31, 32, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels, the holy angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. And all the nations will be gathered before him," all of them, "and he will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."

And then again, Revelation 20:11 through 15. "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and the books were open. Another book was open, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

So it is right for us to fear that and flee to Christ. It is right for us to understand that Christ came to drink hell for us on the cross, that we might be set free from that terror ourselves. And all you have to do is repent of your sins and believe the good news, that your sins can be forgiven by simple faith and that you will be welcomed into the family of God. That's the gospel. Demons understood better than all of those unbelievers in Capernaum what kind of threat Jesus' power, as judge of all the earth, holds for them. The demons were in terror of him. And so we must flee to Christ.

 III. The Authority of Jesus’ Power

 So thirdly, the authority of Jesus' power. Verses 25, 26, "'Be quiet,' said Jesus sternly. 'Come out of him.' The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek." Jesus has direct and immediate power over this and every demon. Again and again, we're going to see this. I love this phrase that came into my mind as I was memorizing Mark: effortless power over demons, effortless. There's never any struggle by Jesus. It's not hard. Doesn't matter how many of them there are, effortless. And Jesus gives this demon an instant command, "Be quiet." Though what the demon said about him was true, he wasn't going to be hired by the kingdom of God to proclaim biblical truth. He didn't need demonic messengers, doesn't want demonic messengers. He would commit to us, dear friends, the message of reconciliation, the ministry of reconciliation. He would entrust it to us and give us the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim freedom for captors and the advance of the kingdom of God. That's our job, not demons, so he tells him to be quiet.

And he didn't want these people in the synagogue to listen to another word from this demon because there is such a thing as the doctrine of demons. 1 Timothy 4:1, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons." John 8:44, "When he lies," Satan lies, "he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies." So tells him to be quiet and then he gives the healing command for this poor man, "Come out of him."

Now, the account tells us nothing about this man. We don't know anything about him. Other accounts will have conversations. There'll be things that happen after the healing. Not this time, we don't know anything about this man, nothing, but the time had come for him to be set free from this demon. And then we see demonic obedience, "demonic obedience." I put little air quotes there. Find it interesting that in every case the demons instantly obey Jesus. As a matter of fact, we're going to find, in many cases, they're more obedient than people are. At the end of this chapter, a leper, he's going to heal a leper, and tell him not to tell anyone, but go to the priest. Remember? Remember this guy? We'll get to him, God willing, but he disobeyed. And he told everyone, spread the story everywhere. And what's the result? Jesus couldn't enter any town or village anymore because of the throngs.

The demon instantly obeys but he doesn't do it cleanly. You know what I'm saying? He doesn't do it cleanly. He makes the man writhe around in convulsions like an epileptic seizure. You're going to see this again in Mark 9:25 through 27 with the demon possessed boy. When that demon came out, he threw the boy on the ground and made him writhe around foaming at the mouth, dehumanizing him. So this is the demon's way of showing rebellion. He hates Jesus. He hates his absolute authority of power over him. He writhes and rages, but he has no choice but to obey. And so he comes out of the man with a shriek, howling in rage that he has to obey. Well, he has the right theology about Jesus, as do all the demons, but he hates him. That's the difference.

That's why James is saying it's not enough to have the right theology. Do you have a heart relationship with God through Christ? Do you love him? Do you yearn to please him? It's different than the demonic theology. The only reason he obeys is because he's forced to, because of terror of immediate judgment. Here is the awesome power of King Jesus. By Jesus the entire universe was made, by the word of his power. And by Jesus also, the entire universe is moment by moment sustained, by the word of his power. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, he will say, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me." All the angels, both the good ones and the evil ones, will fall down before his glorious throne. And all of human beings, both the redeemed and the condemned, will fall down before him and proclaim Jesus is Lord.


"Here is the awesome power of King Jesus. By Jesus the entire universe was made, by the word of his power. And by Jesus also, the entire universe is moment by moment sustained, by the word of his power. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

IV. The Only Right Response: Fear and Amazement Leading to Faith

Finally, the only right response. How should we respond? Fear and amazement leading to faith. Verses 27, 28, "The people are all so amazed that they asked each other, 'What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.'" Verse 28, "News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee." People are amazed, but they're amazed specifically at his authority. "What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." They're focused on authority, so I organized this sermon on the issue of authority, on Jesus' authority, because that's what they're amazed at. You have heard that it was said, but I say to you. You have heard, but I say to you. And the fulfillment of the scripture, "Today in your hearing, this scripture is fulfilled." Also, as he says in John's Gospel, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me."

Wow. Can you imagine hearing that as a Jew in the first century? Moses wrote about me. It's true, though. So this teaching searched their hearts and their minds. It exposed their heart sins and made them realize their need for a savior. Then they see a demon so obviously far beyond their power to control, immediately in terror obey Jesus' word, so news about him spread widely. As a result of this stunning day in the synagogue, the word spread rapidly through all of Galilee, but it would not stop there. It would not stop there. The word's been spreading ever since. Amen? Was not going to stop in Galilee. God the Father said to God the Son in Isaiah 49 in verse 6, "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

So what about you, dear friends? The people of Capernaum, as we said, as a whole did not repent and believe, though they saw all of those miracles. They did not cross over from death to life. Jesus said the people of Tyre and Sidon would've repented in sackcloth and ashes if they saw that ministry, if they heard his words. The question is, what about you? Have you repented of your sins, of your rebellion against God? Have you turned away from rebellion and wickedness and in faith, in the abandonment of faith, come to Christ and trusted in him? He spoke a word of woe to Capernaum because they didn't repent. Do you think you'll go up to the heavens? No, you're going to be cast down to the depths because you didn't repent and believe. So we have to combine the fear of the Lord's power to judge with this attraction, this amazement, at such a man, at the Son of God, and be drawn into a love relationship with Christ and find, in faith, the forgiveness of all of our sins.

Close with me in prayer. Lord, we thank you for the beauty of your Word. Thank you for the power that this gospel account shows Jesus' power over demons, Jesus' power to tell us the truth, Jesus' power and right to judge. We thank you that by his death on the cross and by his resurrection, we have everything we need for the full forgiveness of our sins. Lord, I pray that you would move us now by your spirit to turn away from wickedness, to turn away from evil and sin, and to find in Christ a loving Savior and the King of our lives. In his name we pray, amen.

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