A word for the heart

with Alan Bailey

Mark 1:21-45 - The Gospel of Mark

Bible study


Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.

Mark 1:21-45

In our first study in Mark, we saw that it is a rapidly moving account of the life of Jesus, God the Son.

Mark brings out the theme of the servanthood of Jesus, but also shows His Lordship over everything. Even though He is Lord, He is also humble, here to serve.

We will see many events in the life of Christ and see the way He taught His disciples. As they watched, listened and participated, they saw with great wonder God the Son in action. Knowing Him meant that their lives were never the same again. At this point, He has called two sets of brothers: Simon (Peter) and Andrew, plus James and John. All were fishermen.

Verses 21 & 22 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law

The ministry of Jesus went on for about three and a half years. Much of the time was spent in the north part of Israel and the town of Capernaum was almost a headquarters. The surrounding area was familiar to Him and to the disciples. The synagogue was the place of worship and learning for the Jews and it was possible for a man to stand and address the congregation. There was a difference in the teaching of Jesus. He spoke as one who knew what He was talking about and was certain of its truth. The Jewish teachers indulged in speculation, often straying from the truth of the Old Testament

Verses 23 & 24 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, ‘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!’
This is the first encounter with an enemy of Christ. Others will follow in this Gospel. We should note that demons or spirits are not imaginary, but very real. People possessed by a demon behave in a way which is foreign to them. They are being manipulated, made to do and say things that are not distinctly their own. They do exist and show their presence in our day but at the time of Christ there seemed to be a special invasion of them, all opposed to Jesus. Elsewhere in the Bible we see that Satan is their leader as rebels against God. They seem to have some grasp of who Jesus is and they fear Him.

Verses 25 & 26 ‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

Spirits are subject to the power of Christ. They must obey Him. The spirit coming out would not be visible and the voice used is the voice of the man. But obviously, the man would feel the tremendous relief of being delivered from this foreign power. We are not informed in detail about the ways of demons and we are not encouraged to search them out. Our best defence is loyalty to Christ.

Verse 27 & 28 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him.’ News about Him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

The crowd had never seen or heard of anything like this before. Soon, reports of what people had witnessed circulated all around the area.

Verses 29-31 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever and they told Jesus about her. So He went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them

The scene changes so quickly. This time it is a sickness that is brought to Jesus’ attention.
Without delay He attends to her and she is immediately better. This is typical of many healings which are to follow in Christ’s ministry. Being who He was, nothing was impossible to Him. But note that Jesus didn’t do miracles as some kind of showman. Always His works were done for a purpose, showing His love and concern and bringing glory to God the Father.

Verses 32-34 That evening after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but He would not let the demons speak because they knew who He was.

We can see that the fame of Jesus is spreading quickly and people with family and relatives who were not well, hurried to bring them to Him. There was no other hope in that day so word of a healer would be very important news. Sickness could so often result in death.
Apparently, Jesus did not want the demons to speak and be heard by the crowd. What they said could mislead the people.

Jesus praying
Illustration of Jesus praying

Verse 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed

Before sunrise, Jesus sought fellowship with His Father. It was to be like this throughout His ministry. He made it plain that He was here to do the will of His Father. He wanted all to be to the Father’s praise and glory. Thus it was necessary to have these times apart from other people. To this day, many Christians feel the need to be alone with God at the beginning of their day.

Verses 36-39 Simon and his companions went to look for Him. And when they found Him, they exclaimed ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Let’s go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ So He travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Perhaps you can see that full-time healing, dawn till dark, was not what Jesus wanted. Important as the healings were, they were not the main thing. The main thing was teaching people about God by word and deed. If He allowed the crowd their way, they would give Him no peace or allow Him to follow His own plan and program.
So He kept moving in a circuit, visiting every town.

Verse 40 A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’

Leprosy was common in that part of the world but we can see from other references to it in the Bible that serious skin disorders were sometimes called leprosy. People feared contagion and so kept sufferers at a distance. This man must have heard about Jesus as he comes with a positive faith. He has no doubt that Jesus can heal him.

Verses 41 & 42 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.

The thing to note here is that Jesus was willing to touch the man in order to heal him. No-one else would dare to touch for fear of catching the disease. People with leprosy were regarded as unclean as their appearance was marred by the sores on their skin.

Verses 43-45 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning. ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Instead, he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to Him from everywhere.

It was part of Jewish law for a healed leper to have his case cleared by the temple priests.
Jesus tells the man to do this but to say no more. The result we can see. Jesus is being hindered by crowds all wanting something from him. It was a time of fame for Him which He did not want. He had His own plan and purpose


We are seeing the unique ministry of the Son of God. It will be of great benefit to us to keep following this record and seeing more of His ways and His teaching. There is nothing to compare with it. May God bless every reader through His Word.

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