The Authority of Christ

Mark 1:21-28 Discussion Guide

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We are probably all familiar with this passage that is known as the Great Commission. It is the very basis for the work of the church in this world. The most often overlooked part of the Great Commission is the first sentence. “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

This is the most comprehensive statement of authority that anyone can possibly imagine.

Initial Questions

  • What are the commands that Jesus gives to the church?
  • How is it a comfort that Jesus is with us as we carry out his commands?
  • Why is it so important to know that all authority is given to Jesus?

Mark 1:21-28 is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the city of Capernaum in Galilee. He is teaching in the synagogue and driving away a demon that has possessed a man who is right there in the midst. The emphasis behind the action in this passage at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is the same as what is behind his command at the very end of his ministry: the authority of Jesus Christ.

Jesus demonstrates his authority in three specific areas

  1. Christ’s authority is demonstrated in his teaching.
  2. Christ’s authority is acknowledged by demons.
  3. Christ’s authority is seen in his command of spiritual forces.

21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Discussion Questions

  • How do you think Jesus’ teaching was fundamentally different from the scribes? (v. 22)
  • Would people be astonished at the authority of Jesus’ teaching if he came into a church in America today?
  • In what ways should a pastor place his preaching under the authority of Jesus’ teaching?
  • Why do you think the unclean spirit was so quick to recognize Jesus? (v. 23-24)
  • How do you think the unclean spirit was influencing the religious life of Capernaum?
  • Why is it significant that Jesus drove out the demon?
  • How do we misunderstand spiritual warfare in our own day?
Jonathan Pugh
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