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October 31, 2017

Mark 1:21-34: Proclamation and Demonstration

Mark 1:21-34

21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

What does it mean to teach and preach with authority and not as the scribes? When Jesus preached his message, he came with power from the Father. He didn’t preach a canned sermon or did a declamation or showed off his oratory skills. Jesus taught as one with heart. And what made it different was that with his proclamation of the gospel, He also demonstrated the power and authority of the message of the Kingdom.

I am reminded of what Richard Baxter said,

O sirs, how plainly, how closely, how earnestly, should we deliver a message of such moment as ours, when the everlasting life or everlasting death of our fellow-men is involved in it! Methinks we are in nothing so wanting as in this seriousness; yet is there nothing more unsuitable to such a business, than to be slight and dull. What! Speak coldly for God, and for men’s salvation? Can we believe that our people must be converted or condemned, and yet speak in a drowsy tone? In the name of God, brethren, labor to awaken your own hearts, before you go to the pulpit, that you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners. Remember they must be awakened or damned, and that a sleepy preacher will hardly awaken drowsy sinners. Though you give the holy things of God the highest praises in words, yet, if you do it coldly, you will seem by your manner to unsay what you said in the matter. It is a kind of contempt of great things, to speak of them without much affection and fervency.”

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor (1656, rprt; Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 147-148.

23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,24 “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 out 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.

Proclamation then demonstration. We need both. Whether we preach and cast out demons, preach and help the poor, preach and change our city with action.

Proclaim the gospel. Demonstrate the gospel.

29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Whether in private and public – proclaim and demonstrate. That is the power of the gospel.

32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

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