Mark: 1:21-28 | The Faith of a Demon

June 7, 2020
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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In today’s lesson, Pastor Dustin Daniels discusses the irony of how people don’t believe that Jesus is God, and yet the demons do. And even though the demons are absolutely terrified in Jesus’ presence–it’s impossible for them to be saved. People, however, are amazed in Jesus’ presence, but would not be saved.

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Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark: 1:21-28 | The Faith of a Demon
June 28, 2020

INTRO:
Last week we saw Jesus call four fishermen to be disciples.

Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, and then two more brothers—James and John.

They were all partners in this fishing business, so they knew each other well.

Several of the key points from last week included:

First, Obedience. We saw how Peter went against everything he’s ever known to put his fishing nets back in the water.

Peter’s obedience came before his understanding of the situation.

Secondly, Peter also recognized Jesus’ supernatural authority over nature.

Peter knew that hundreds of fish don’t swim blindly into nets—

Especially in the shallow water—after the sun begins to rise.

Peter knew that Jesus made this happen.

And thirdly, we learned that Jesus’ words of “Follow Me” were not a request or an invitation. It was a command from the Living God Himself.

Today, we learn how Jesus takes His new disciples into the city of Capernaum for what seems to be a regular day of teaching at the local Synagogue.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:21-28

Mark: 1:21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the Synagogue and taught. (NIV)

Mark: 1:22 The people there were amazed by his teaching, because he taught them like one who had authority, not like the experts in the law. (NET)

Mark: 1:23 Suddenly, a man in the Synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, (NLT)

Mark: 1:24 “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!” (NIV)

Mark: 1:25 But Jesus rebuked him: “Silence! Come out of him!” (NET)

Mark: 1:26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him. (NLT)

Mark: 1:27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” (NKJV)

Mark: 1:28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. (NKJV)

This is the Word of our Lord, Amen.


PRAY:

Father, it is good to be here today, together physically.  We are gathered together for one reason and one reason only. To worship your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I prayer that the word of Christ dwells richly among us this morning, as we sing, as we hear Your Word proclaimed, as we give and as we fellowship.

In Christ’s name. Amen.

EXEGESIS: Mark 1:21-28

Mark: 1:21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the Synagogue and taught. (NIV)

The name Capernaum means “village of Nahum.” It’s likely reference to the hometown of the Old Testament prophet Nahum.

Nahum’s job was to pronounce doom over the city of Nineveh.

It’s also the reason why those three chapters in your Bible still stick together.

But Nahum also means “compassion,” so it’s possible that it’s named for its compassionate residents.

Regardless, Capernaum was an important city in the region. It was a fishing town just northwest of the Sea of Galilee.

It had about 10,000 residents. Just a tad smaller than Cottonwood.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John had their fishing business, and it’s where Matthew and Zacchaeus worked as tax collectors (Matt. 9:9).

Back to…

Mark: 1:21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the Synagogue and taught. (NIV)

Jesus shows His ties to Judaism.

He participates in teaching in the Synagogue.

The Jews participated in a policy known as “freedom of the synagogue”— allowed any qualified man in the congregation to teach and preach.

This policy was extended to visiting rabbis, so that’s why we see Jesus preaching here.

Not only that, but news about Jesus is spreading. So, the residents in Capernaum would have been eager to hear Jesus teach.

Mark: 1:22 The people there were amazed by His teaching, because He taught them like one who had authority, not like the experts in the law. (NET)

It’s hard to grasp this in the text, but the congregation was shocked by Jesus’ authority over the Scriptures.

Mark is not talking about Jesus’ presentation style. It’s not about whether Jesus was a dynamic public speaker.

The focus here is not so much about how he spoke, but rather what happens when He taught.

Jesus’ preaching and teaching were not necessarily inspirational or motivational.

Jesus preached purity and power.

Jesus preached the gospel message—and it was confrontational because when He spoke, something happened.

Mark doesn’t tell us what Jesus taught here but instead focuses on the congregation’s response.

Back to

Mark: 1:22 The people there were amazed by His teaching, because He taught them like one who had authority, not like the experts in the law. (NET)

Your translation may say, “Scribes.”

Scribes studied the Torah (The first five books of the Bible).

They also studied Jewish oral traditions.

They would pass their teaching on to their disciples, who learned it by heart through constant repetition.

So the way Scribes taught was through the recital of laws.

Most Scribes would hesitate to make any authoritative comment on the law.

So what we see Jesus do here, is the opposite.

Jesus taught directly, decisively, and here’s the key…by His own authority.

They never saw anyone “own” the text.

That is a crucial element for us today—the authority of Jesus.

George Whitefield was a methodist preacher from the eighteenth century.

Someone once asked how he knew if he had preached a good sermon.

Whitefield said, that was easy—either someone got saved, or someone got angry.

That’s a good description of what happens when Jesus preaches His Gospel.

Mark: 1:23 Suddenly, a man in the Synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, (NLT)

“Cried out.”— this man screamed bloody murder.

Have you ever heard someone scream in horrifying pain? Agony.

That’s what’s going on here.

Now, the question is why?  Was he in physical pain?

No, he cried out because of verse 22, Jesus was teaching as one who had authority.

His violent outcry was a response to the authoritative teaching of Jesus.

The demon panicked because he heard the truth from Jesus, God the Son.

The demon is unable to restrain himself and erupts in a demonic rage against what Jesus just said.

We see the same kind of thing happen today, don’t we?

People are always trying to cry out and shut down anyone who speaks God’s truth.

And in the demons rage, he says in verse 24.

Mark: 1:24 “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!” (NIV)

What do you want with us? We see this question in other parts of Scripture.

“What is it to us and to you?” Meaning “We have nothing in common” and “Leave us alone,”

The demon is totally aware of being in severe danger and wants Jesus to leave.

Think about it; this demon knew a Savior was coming. He heard the prophets preach it just like everyone else.

Demons know our Bibles better than we do.

But just because the demon knew Jesus was coming,

And just because demons know the Bible,

The demon’s words lacked love.

They had a knowledge of God but lacked the love of God.

The very presence of Jesus torments this demon.

The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works. (1 John. 3.8)

The demon calls Jesus two different names.

The first, Jesus of Nazareth, shows his disgust for Jesus.

Nazareth is just this tiny little village.

Philip tells Nathanael, “We’ve found the Messiah! It’s Jesus of Nazareth!”

Did Philip say, “Glory to God.”

No, he said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

The second name that the demon uses, the Holy One of God, shows the demons fear.

Make no doubt about this…the demon is fully aware of Jesus’ divine authority.

Mark: 1:25 But Jesus rebuked him: “Silence! Come out of him!” (NET)

Jesus is unfazed by the demon’s theatrics.

There’s no dialogue, negotiation, or struggle.

We see Jesus give two commands to the demon.

First, —shut your mouth.

The devil deceived Eve with his tongue.

Jesus steps in and does what Adam should have done.

This is why Jesus is known as the second Adam.

He corrects all of Adam’s mistakes.

As you read through the Gospels, you’ll notice that anytime a demon declares who Jesus is, Jesus always shuts him down.

Jesus doesn’t need any help telling people who He is. Especially from a demon.

Demons don’t really make good character witnesses.

The second command involves and exorcism.

Other people were known to perform exorcisms before Jesus.

But normally exorcisms in the ancient world were long, drawn-out affairs.

The exorcist would chant some type of formula. If that one didn’t work, he would chant anther one to try and expel the demon.

But here, Jesus does the very opposite. Five words in Greek. The battle is over before it even begins.

Mark: 1:26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him. (NLT)

Jesus cast out this demon by the same power that will one day cast him into hell.

Jesus’ command, resulted in the demon’s violent departure.

The demon was forced to go. He was unwilling. So we see why he screamed.

Mark: 1:27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” (NKJV)

The congregation had no box to put what they just seen in.

Notice that the Jews were focused on the teaching and not The Teacher.

Do you find it ironic that congregation didn’t recognize Jesus as God wrapped up in flesh and bones,

But the demon did.

And he responded in terror—That demon feared that Jesus might cast him immediately into the abyss (Luke 8:31; cf. Rev. 9:1).

This demon understood that eternal punishment is waiting for him in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41)

So, not only do we see Jesus teaching with authority, but He also cast out demons with that same authority.

This is important to note. Rabbi’s generally didn’t play the part of exorcists.

And those who did play the part of an exorcist did so with some type of formula.

Jesus didn’t use a formula. He used five words.

So here, we’re starting to see the uniqueness of Jesus.

He is a teacher, prophet, exorcist—really, we could say that Jesus is a healer.

Exorcism shows the unique holiness of Jesus.

It also should make us very aware of our eschatology—it’s what we believe about Heaven or Hell.

Don’t miss this—Jesus is showing us that He has the power to judge your final destiny.

Mark: 1:28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. (NKJV)

In other words, this little incident went viral on YouTube.

PREACH:
This passage for today is ironic.

The demon was absolutely terrified but could not be saved;

and yet the congregation was amazed by Jesus, but would not be saved.

So, these people who were amazed by Jesus’ teaching, but wouldn’t believe…

Wow, Dustin, you make the gospel sound scary.

How can it be good news, if it’s so scary?

We need to be both terrified and amazed to understand the good news of Jesus.

We, as sinners, should be terrified of two things:

First, by our sin and the volume of it.

Secondly, there is nothing we can do about our sin, apart from the person and the work of Jesus Christ.

God tells us very clearly through Scripture that we will be held accountable for how we live our life.

That’s the terrifying part.

But, we should also be amazed that God would send Himself to make things right between us.

God the Father, sends God the Son, to be the sin offering on our behalf.

Sin is so serious that someone had to lose their life in order to save yours.

But it couldn’t be just anyone; it had to be someone who was perfect, pure, and blameless before God.

Someone who had to be human because humans sinned.

And at the same time, this someone had to be God, because only God can endure the full weight and punishment of His own wrath.

So when Jesus was murdered on a Roman cross, God made a way for you to be reconciled to Him through His Son.

God offers you a gift of grace—something that you don’t deserve, a relationship with Him.

And when you accept this gift of grace, your sins are supernaturally placed on the cross, and Jesus’ right standing before God is then supernaturally given to you.

In other words, God, as the Judge, legally declares you, “innocent.”

All because of the person and work of Jesus. Salvation has nothing to do with you. It’s all about God.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! NKJV

In other words, you say you believe that there is a God.

Scripture says, “congratulations, you have the faith of a demon.”

The difference between a demon’s faith and a true Believer in the gospel is this…

Jesus said, “Repent and believe in the good news.”

Repentance! One of the greatest concepts known to mankind.

Repentance—To make a dramatic and decisive choice about what you think about God and what you think about your sin.

And then when you make that choice— to accept Jesus the Christ as the Lord of Your life,

God gives you Himself through the Holy Spirit…

God will show you how to live your new life In Him through the Word of God with the people of God.

For those of you who haven’t repented of your sin, I’m praying you do that,

And for those of you who have, I’m asking that you call a few people this week, and simply ask how you can pray for them.

PRAY:
 Make your ways known to us, Lord; teach us your paths. Guide us your truth and teach us, for you are the God of our salvation; We wait for you all day long. Remember, Lord, your compassion and your faithful love, for they have existed from eternity.  Do not remember the sins of our youth or our acts of rebellion; in keeping with your faithful love, remember us because of your goodness, Lord. The Lord is good and upright; therefore he shows sinners the way.
He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. (Prov. 25 CSB)

In Jesus Name Amen.

Tithes and Offerings:

Today we are going to pray for two of our missionaries in Bulgaria. It was part of the old Soviet Union.

The government used to teach that there is no God. So, as you can imagine planting new churches in Bulgaria is hard because most people are still atheists. They think religion has nothing for them, so they reject the gospel without knowing its meaning.

Brian and Mandy Davis are two of missionaries. They agree Bulgaria’s spiritual climate is dark, but they point to examples when the light of Christ pushes back against that dark.

The good news is that Bulgarians are becoming Christians. For example, Brian and Mandy have worked for some time with Donka, an 85-year-old widow. She grew up under communism. Donka comes by often to read the Bible, but so far, she has not accepted Christ.

And that’s why a portion of your tithes and offerings go to missionaries all around the world for people like Donka and others like her.

We now have four ways to give:

  1. Two black boxes in the foyer.
  2. PO Box 4540 Cottonwood AZ 86326
  3. Online via our website at RiverBible.org
  4. Or text 928-421-4030. Give 1

Sermon Bibliography
Cross, F. L., and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.

Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.

Hooker, Morna D. The Gospel according to Saint Mark. Black’s New Testament Commentary. London: Continuum, 1991.

Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

MacArthur, John. Mark 1–8. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

Oden, Thomas C., and Christopher A. Hall, eds. Mark (Revised). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.

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