Who Is This Man?
This week’s text is Mark 1:21-28. Mark, of course, spends zero time on the birth and very early years of Jesus’s earthly life. Instead we are not even out of chapter 1, and we find Jesus teaching in the temple. By the end of this short passage those in authority in the temple are wondering who this Jesus fellow is. Jesus is teaching with great authority, and He is not doing it like the scribes. As Verse 27 points out this is a “new teaching-and with authority”. Indeed, they should be left wondering who this man really is. We, of course, already know the answer to this question. Our question is what does this passage teach us about our risen Lord and Savior?
Likely a Troublesome Fellow
What this passage indicates is that Jesus has real power. He even has power over unclean spirits. In one of the more humorously ironic moments of Jesus’s ministry the man possessed by the unclean spirit knows that Jesus is the “Holy One of God” (Verse 24), even if the temple authorities do not.
What the temple authorities will find out is what this passage presages; that this Jesus is going to be most troublesome. Good trouble as the adage goes, but trouble for the established authorities, nonetheless. Verse 28 indicates that the authorities will not be able to contain Jesus as His fame is spreading already.
This trouble is born of the clear power that Jesus possesses. He can drive out unclean spirits and has incredible teaching authority. His power will extend all the way to a grave that cannot hold Him, as we shall see. The resurrection is, of course, why we are even studying this passage in the first place. We see here a Jesus that is growing His ministry with powerful teaching and powerful acts of healing, especially directed at those on the margins of society.
The more important takeaway here is that the Good News that Jesus is proclaiming is a clear challenge to the established power base. It is indeed a new teaching and based on a much higher authority than that possessed by the temple leaders. This is a first shot across the bow moment for these leaders. It is a foreshadowing that their time is drawing to a close and a new authority is here to claim what is His, leadership of God’s people. Jesus will of course be rejected by this temple leadership and this leadership will get the Romans to put Him to death, a death that that He conquers, which completes His taking leadership of the kingdom.
All that lays in the future. At this point Jesus is just beginning to start the trouble that would make Him so nettlesome to a stultified temple leadership. Our role is to see in the very beginnings of Jesus’s ministry the radical new thing that God is doing through His son. To contemplate how this all unfolded back in real time is to ponder something that could give you goosebumps on a hot July day. How amazing it must have been for those first followers to have seen this all unfold. Our role now is to ponder with great excitement, then believe, then obey.
Praise Be to God