Mark chapter 1

“What is this? A new teaching with authority!” – Vs 27

Mark records the ministry of Jesus and, unlike the other gospel writers, he leaves out His birth and any reference to His genealogical record. Instead Mark starts off with the baptism of Jesus, briefly touches on His temptation in the wilderness, and moves right into His preaching ministry. He records that Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Vs 15). Jesus was teaching, preaching, and healing. He was going into the synagogues and teaching. But His was a different kind of teaching. It was like nothing these people had ever heard before. Mark says those who heard Jesus were “amazed at His teaching” (Vs 22). Why? Because He taught as one who had authority. He didn’t teach like the scribes, who merely quoted the writings of former scribes. Their authority or power was based on the sayings of men. Jesus came with a different kind of authority. He spoke with power and confidence.

The word Mark uses that is translated “authority” here is a  typical Greek word that carries a lot more weight than any English word can convey. It literally means, “the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed).” Jesus did not come rehashing the thoughts and principles of men, but the Word of God. What He said was viewed as a “new teaching” because these people had never heard anything like it before. It wasn’t the same old thing they had heard for generations. It was a verbal wake-up call, announcing that the kingdom they had long been waiting for was close at hand. All the promises of their ancient writings were about to be fulfilled. That was the good news. The Messiah had arrived.

Jesus’ words carried weight. They conveyed power. They demanded attention. They required action. When He said to Simon and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men,” they didn’t delay, but immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He met James and John, He called them, and “they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him” (Vs 20). When Jesus commanded the demon to come out of the man in verse 25, it had to obey. When He spoke the words, “Be cleansed” to the lepor in verse 41, “immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed” (Vs 41).

Jesus taught with authority. He spoke with power. His words were to be listened to and obeyed. He was not just another teacher. He was the Son of God. He had authority over sickness and disease. He had power over demonic forces. He had the divine right to speak authoritatively, expecting His words to be listened to and His commands to be obeyed. But then as now, men were more interested in what Jesus could do for them, than in what He expected of them. The crowds were attracted by His miracles than His message. They came to be healed, not to hear what He had to say. The crowds began to grow. His reputation spread. But His words fell on deaf ears. They were more than willing to take advantage of His power, but refused to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Vs 15). The Jews would ultimately refuse Him as their Messiah. They would reject His message of hope and salvation. They would kill the Messenger, but not the message.

A new teaching with authority. How much weight do the words of Jesus carry in my life? How authoritative is His teaching for me? Am I more interested in what He does for me than what He expects of me? Do His words only carry weight with me if they fit into my agenda or plan for me? Do I listen only as long as they say what I want them to say? The Jews were right. His words did have authority. They were powerful. They were impactful. Because Jesus was and is the Son of God. He has the right to speak into my life and demand a response. He has the authority to command obedience. But am I willing to obey?

Father, help me to listen to the words of Your Son, then give me the ability to obey. I know His words have power and authority over my life, but I tend to want to pick and choose which words I will obey. I even want to choose which of His words I will hear. But You haven’t given me that choice. You told the disciples at His transfiguration, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Give me ears to hear and a heart to obey all that He says. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men