INTRO: In the King James translation of the gospel of Mark the word "straightway" occurs nineteen times! Perhaps this is one reason why some refer to this gospel as the gospel of action. Most assuredly, Mark moves from event to event quickly as he writes. I can almost sense the urgency of Jesus' earthly mission by reading Mark. There was no time to waste! So, having called Peter, Andrew, James and John from their busy days of fishing, Jesus led them to the city of Capernaum where his Galilean ministry begins in earnest. While the two verses I have read do not occupy great space, they present us with a very important fact. Jesus did not teach as previous religious leaders had taught. In fact, people were astonished at his teaching.
I. ABOUT CAPERNAUM...
A. It was the main center of Jesus' Galilean ministry - Mt 4:13
B. It was near the sea of Galilee and the plain of Gennesaret - Mt 4:13, 14:34
C. Roman soldiers were quartered there - Lk 7:1-5
D. Jesus did many mighty works there - Mt 11:20,23
E. It was apparently a city of great pride - Mt 11:23
F. It was a city of spiritual privilege and impenitence - Mt 11:20 ("Woe..."
G. So, we will hear a great deal about this Galilean city
II. THE SABBATH DAY IN CAPERNAUM
A. The sabbath - the day to be kept holy
2. Ex 31:12-17 - sabbath was "a sign" between God and Israel - a reminder that "I am the Lord that doth sanctify you"
3. a bit later, the sabbath involves Jesus in controversy with Pharisees
B. Jesus went into the synagogue there
1. the synagogues were very influential in Jewish life - teaching institutions
2. there was only one temple ... but everywhere there were 10 Jewish men there would be a synagogue (comp. Acts 16:13)
3. early history of the church involved teaching in synagogues - Acts 13:14
C. Jesus' custom was to go to the synagogue on the sabbath
1. Lk 4:16 - "...and, as his custom was..."
2. much about the synagogue and its history is very uncertain
3. however, Jesus gave credibility to the synagogue whatever its history! He assembled with God's people on that day to be kept holy!
D. He went into the synagogue "and taught"
1. Jesus had already been teaching in Jerusalem & Samaria - was known
2. it was the custom of the synagogue to have known teachers read and expound on scripture - so, Acts 13:15
3. until hostility became open against Him, synagogues were open to Him
III. THE HEARERS WERE ASTONISHED AT HIS TEACHING
A. Astonished at His doctrine
1. we are not told by Mark what He taught
2. however, the subject matter must have been drastically different
3. just two items: repentance and the kingdom of God would be different!
B. And the manner of His teaching was different from the typical
1. He taught them with authority - notice Lk 4:31,32
2. Jno 12:48-50 - what He taught came directly from the Father and was integral to salvation of humanity
3. Mt 17:5 - Mt 28:18 - so, hearers recognized "authority" in His words
C. He did not teach as did the scribes
1. their habit was simply to quote a succession of rabbinical writings
2. their only authority was what some man had said in years past - about so many traditions which had grown around the law of Moses
3. note Mt 5:21,22 - "ye have heard ... but I say unto you..." - the words "I say unto you" are heard often in all four gospel records!
IV. SOME LESSONS HERE?
A. The need we have to assemble with God's people at appointed time
B. The need to hear Jesus carefully
C. The need to reject teaching which may contradict, add to His teaching
D. The need to be very careful that our traditions do not become "law" or contradict what Jesus taught
CLOSE: Sadly, it was the authority of His teaching which put Him in conflict with the religious leaders of His day. But when human opinion is elevated to the level of "law", that conflict is inevitable. Hold fast, then, to the doctrine of Jesus.
Cecil A. Hutson
16 April 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)