Friday, May 19, 2017

43 - Christ's Ministry Branches Out


   And walking along beside the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 
   And Jesus said to them, Come after Me and I will make you fishers of men.  
   And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 
  And when He going farther from there a little, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 
   And immediately He called them. 
  And they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went after Him. Mark 1:16-20

The First Four Disciples 

Matthew and Mark both tell about the choosing of the first four disciples and according to them, it happened before Christ, for the first time, cast out a demon.  Christ did not choose "nose in the air", pompous, known for their riches men;  He chose the common working man to start with; four fishermen - two sets of brothers; namely, Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John.

Many great men look down on the “common” people, but Jesus never did. He was not like British playwright George Bernard Shaw, who said: “I have never had any feeling for the working classes, except a desire to abolish them, and replace them with sensible people.”

Luke makes a scant reference to the choosing of the first four disciples.  He simply writes And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:10-11

An Amazing Message 

Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mar 1:14-15  

And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon and cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone! What is to us and to You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know You, who You are, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet and come out of him! And when the demon had thrown him into the midst, he came out of him, not harming him. And they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out. Luke 4:31-35

It was Christ's style to go to the synagogue on Saturdays and preach.  Of course, He preached only from the Old Testament because the New Testament had not yet been written.

The method in the synagogue is different than it is in our churches where we have only one sermon in a service.  In the synagogue, the presiding elder, after reading the Scriptures, invited anyone who chose to address the people. ... we find him (Christ) often availing himself of this privilege, and delivering his doctrines to the Jews. Barnes. The people were astonished at his message and His style.

If His preaching astonished them just imagine how they felt after the next incident.

in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon.  Bible commentaries agree that at times this man must have been lucid because if he wasn't he would not have been allowed to enter the synagogue.  So while he was in the synagogue the demon, using the man's voice cried out

Here is an interesting note about being demon possessed.  In describing the man who is demon possessed, Mark uses the same grammar Paul used to describe the Christian’s being “in Christ” (But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, 1Co_1:30). This unclean spirit was the evil “lord” of this poor man’s life.

i. The similarity in the wording between the Christian having Jesus and this man having a demon demonstrates that He is in us, we are in Him. We are “Jesus possessed” in the right sense, because His filling and influence is only for good.

ii. Even as Jesus can live in us, so one uninhabited by Jesus can be inhabited by a demon if the invitation is extended, either consciously or unconsciously. Exposure to things such as spiritism, astrology, occult practices and drugs are dangerous. They open doors to the demonic which are better left closed.

The demon ... cried out ... Let us alone!  The demon spoke in the plural; he did not want himself and other demons to be cast out of their hosts. 

The phrase Let us alone is absent in many translations.

What is to us and to You.  Very few translations use this confusing term.  Much more common are words with this meaning; Ah! what have we to do with thee?

Have You come to destroy us?  The idea expressed in some commentaries is that the demon said that since the earth is Satan's domain Christ had no business meddling with them.

I know ... who You are, the Holy One of God.  The demon knew that Christ was the Holy One of God but this was a fact that the Jewish leaders just could not grasp.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet and come out of him!  And when the demon had thrown him into the midst, he came out of him, not harming him.

  1. A synagogue is a place of worship, not bedlam, so demon, be quiet and  
  2. leave this poor man alone.  The demon came out of the man without harming him although there a case recorded in the New Testament where the demons actually hurt the host.
Again, the witnesses were amazed at what this man could do.  

He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. Mat 3:16.  This statement may well be the key to defining the ministry of Christ. 

If we were to put the proper emphasis on this statement, in Mat. 3:16, it would answer a lot of questions concerning the ministry of Christ.  For example: How could Christ walk on water? How could Christ raise the dead? How could Christ cast out demons?  How could Christ ........?  The answer to that kind of question is answered in Matthew 3:16.