Mark 1:21-28 – Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum

Christian MölkMark Leave a Comment

Mark 1:21

  1. Capernaum is actually called Kfar Nahum, which means the village of Nahum, and is probably named after the prophet Nahum.
  2. Capernaum was a suitable base for Jesus’ ministry because it had a mixed population, was a fairly large city and had a synagogue.
  3. Today, only the ruins of Capernaum remain and it is a typical destination for Christian pilgrims.
    1. Among the ruins are the remains of a 3rd century synagogue, said to have been built on top of the synagogue that existed in Jesus’ time.
    2. The Catholic Church has built a basilica above what is believed to be Peter’s house.
  4. Like all Jews, Jesus celebrated the Sabbath.
    1. The Sabbath starts at nightfall on Friday evening and lasts for 24 hours.
    2. Remembering to keep the Sabbath is part of God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).
      1. Just as God worked to create the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, so man is supposed to work six days and then rest on the seventh.
  5. The synagogue was a natural gathering place for community activities.
    1. On the Shabbat, the Jewish people gathered in their synagogue to hear the Scriptures.
    2. In Jesus’ day, it also included the opportunity for just about anyone to teach Scripture, an opportunity that both Jesus and Paul used to teach about the kingdom of God.

Mark 1:23

  1. This man was possessed by an unclean spirit, a demon. The demon knew very well who Jesus was; the Holy One of God.
    1. Jesus did not want the demon to confess who Jesus was, but instead commands him to be quiet and get out of the man.
  2. In Jesus’ day, it was not uncommon to believe that if you knew someone’s real name, you had power over that person. So it’s very possible that the demon is trying to get power over Jesus.
    1. However, it is not possible to have power over Jesus because the Father has given Jesus “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt 28:18).
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