Mark 1:21-28 Jesus Casting out the Unclean Spirit

If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it.  I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified.  I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you.  You have my permission to alter it and use it however God leads you.  God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.

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.

The Scripture today opens with Jesus going into the Synagogue on the Sabbath and teaching. And they were astonished at His teaching for He taught them as one having authority, not as the Scribes – have you heard this before? What do you think that means?

The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary puts it this way:  The scribes were the official teachers of the Torah – the first five books of the Bible – the books of Moses. And they would teach what they had been taught. They even had a term for this: “Scribal Tradition”. It’s not unlike in the beginning of Methodism – do you know what the early Methodist preachers would do? They would preach John Wesley’s sermons. Wesley’s sermons are good theology, but anyone who is preaching another person’s sermons is not going to come across as one having authority. I know you already understand this, but it’s like the difference between someone telling you about the OCC Shoeboxes being given away in impoverished places by what they have been told, verses Diane telling you what it was like to actually give out the shoeboxes.

This is what is meant by the phrase, Jesus wasn’t teaching like the Scribes, who were repeating stuff they had been taught. He was teaching like one of the prophets. What was the difference between the Scribes and Pharisees and the prophets? The Scribes heard from other teachers, the prophets heard from God. So when they said, Jesus was speaking as one who had authority, this is what they meant. He was speaking more from a personal experience with God. The God factor still makes preaching powerful today. Of course a preacher teaches what he or she has been taught, but if there is no personal experience with God, the sermon will fall flat. It’s what makes Francis Chan such a powerful preacher – he is preaching as one who has authority. May it be with me.

23 Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out…

Here is the first case of demonic posession in the New Testament. It is a difficult topic and one which we will never completely understand. Is there evil in the world? There certainly was then and would anyone dare argue that evil is not still present in our world today? Is there any doubt that the enemy of God still gets a hold on people and controls them and destroys lives? At the last supper, Scripture tells us that satan entered Judas. Ephesinas 6:12 says: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” And even if we believe this, we will never in this life completely understand it.

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!”

Notable here is that the forces of evil know Jesus better than the people who actually lived with Him. It’s probably because the forces of evil knew Jesus even before they became evil. Satan was an angel cast out of heaven. puts it this way:  “The Bible doesn’t give us a detailed account of Satan’s origin but it does indicate that Satan originally was one of God’s angels, created by Him to carry out His will. But apparently Satan became filled with jealousy and pride, and he decided that he would lead a rebellion against God so he could take God’s place as the ruler of all creation. The Bible says, “You said in your heart… ‘I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

But Satan’s rebellion failed, and he was cast out of heaven. Now Satan and those who followed him are fallen angels—no longer part of God’s heavenly army, but separated from heaven’s glory forever. He still is powerful, however, and he still does everything he can to block God’s plan for our lives. Don’t be deceived; Satan is your enemy, and he will do everything he can to keep you from God.”

So when the enemy of God says here, “What do you have to do with us?”, the unclean spirit knows Jesus very well, going so far as to say, “I know you are the Holy One of God”. The spirit also knows that Jesus has the power to destroy it. And the logical question here that will go unanswered in this sermon, and in this life is, “If God can destroy evil, which even His enemy knows He can, why does He let evil survive, and some might even argue lets evil thrive?” So back to the “Leave us alone. What do you have to do with us?”.

Isn’t that a question that people far from God still ask today?

Who are you to judge me?
Don’t tell me I am living in sin.
Don’t put your morals off on me.
Just let me live how I want.
Keep your religion in the church.
Mind your own business.
Separation of church and state.
What do you have to do with me Jesus of Nazareth?”
And even the church is not immune:
Don’t talk so much about Haiti.
I’m sick of hearing about drug addicts.
Don’t preach about money, it is my money.
What do you have to do with me Jesus of Nazareth?”

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.

Jesus’ answer when He rebukes the unclean spirit and frees the man is that anything that affects people is His business. In this life, He is concerned with every burden that weighs on you. He is concerned for your welfare. He is concerned about how we treat each other. He is concerned about the poor. He is concerned about those in prison. His business is people. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What I love about Samaritan’s Purse mission trips is they repeat over and over, “It’s not about the work, it’s about the people”. In Christ, it is always about people.

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.

And the people understood it not. Oh sure, word spread, in the next few verses Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law, and then the crowds begin to bring people to Him for healing. Chapter 1 of Mark end with Jesus healling a leper and telling the leper not to tell anyone. But His entire 3 ½ year ministry would go by and they would still not completely get it, because they could not handle the truth. They were not ready for the truth. At the garden of Gethsemane when they come to sieze Him, Peter draws a sword to protect Jesus as if Jesus needs any protection. They did not understand Jesus and they did not yet understand who they were in Jesus.

It was a new teaching.  And it was the final new teaching.  There is no new teaching since then nor will there ever be a new teaching needed.  The final teaching and final authority is this:

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:13 – “…for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:9 – “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Amen. Amen. Amen.