We’ve all heard the phrase “practice what you preach”. This simply acknowledges the importance of matching what we say with what we do. There have been studies to show that people by and large believe the actions they see in a person, more than the words they hear them say. This is challenging to all of us, because we all at times lack integrity in matching our actions to our words.
Well, Jesus did not share this shortcoming of ours. In fact, in the next section of Mark he shows us that authority is anchored to one’s actions, not just our words. Even Jesus whose words were authoritative, modeled this principle: Again, we see this umbrella theme of Mark in that he features what Jesus did, to parallel what He taught.
Mark creatively weaves together four accounts of Jesus showing the crowds that He had true and unequaled authority. First, in Chapter 1:21-28 (which is what we’ll memorize this week) he shows us that Jesus has authority over the spiritual realm by healing a man possessed by an evil spirit. Next, he will show us how Jesus displayed authority over the physical realm through demonstrating a progression of three illnesses that Jesus heals (notice the progression of increasing severity of each illness as this is a helpful memorization tool): 1) healing a man possessed by an evil spirit, 2) Fever (1:29-34), 3) Leprosy (1:40-45), and 4) Complete Paralysis (2:1-17). Again, Mark is helping us here to memorize this section in that the whole section (1:21-2:17) is about Jesus authority over the spiritual and physical realms, and all four accounts illustrate this comforting truth!
Jesus has authority over the spiritual and physical realms of your life as well. How might this truth cause you press into Him this week? In what ways are you encouraged by what Jesus does in this passage?
AN OUTDOOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING EXERCISE AND V.I.S.I.O.N. INDUCTIVE STUDY OF MARK 1:21-34…
Setting: 1) Any scene of pristine beauty in the wilderness where the views provide an awe-inspiring perspective of the design of Creation and the obvious power of the Creator to make such a landscape.
Timing: 1) Day 2 or 3 of a trip is good timing as people have probably been feeling some struggle and their need to lean upon Christ for support and strength.
Set Up: Read Colossians 1:15-20 and point out that this beautiful scene was created by Jesus. Have the group ponder for a moment of silence the power and authority that Jesus must have in order to create everything from the macro level (all that the eyes can see), down to the micro level (all of the micro-organisms and elements in the soil and water that are too small even for our eyes to see). Now with an idea of Jesus authority in your mind, we are going to set up a quiet time (with the following questions) for you to spend some time alone with the Lord and ponder a passage in Mark where Jesus showed the crowds that he has authority over all of the physical realm as well as the spiritual realm. Jesus wasn’t just ” talk”. His actions supported his claims that he has authority over all of creation.
Quiet Time Questions (V.I.S.I.O.N. format)
V: Verse (Mark 1:21-34)
1. List the different people and groups involved in this passage:
2. Make another list of some of the action verbs used in this account:
S: Seek to Understand
3. What are some of the possible reasons why the disciples told Jesus about Simon Peter’s mother-in-law’s illness?
4. How did Jesus respond to their request?
5. What did Simon Peter’s mother-in-law do after she was healed?
6. According to the passage, what happened later that evening after Jesus healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law?
7. What are some of the things that must have been happening in order for the whole town to hear about Jesus and come to the home where he was staying?
8. Jesus always exercises authority for the good of other people. In this account Jesus displayed authority over both sickness and demon-possession. Write down a few words that describe how that makes you feel that he has such authority?
9. What is different about the way you see Jesus using authority compared to some of the negative ways you see people abusing authority or using it for personal benefit?
O: Obvious Question(s)
10. Are there any people you know who need to experience Jesus’ power and authority in their life?
11. What are some ways you can introduce someone to Christ so they can encounter the goodness of his authority over their life situation?
12. List some areas of your life where you need to invite Jesus to exercise his authority over your situation. Similar to how Simon Peter invited Jesus in faith to his house to heal his mother-in-law, spend some time talking to Jesus and inviting him into your life situation to do his work to bring you healing and healthy growth.
13. James, John, and Simon Peter had faith that Jesus could handle this situation with Simon’s mother-in-law. Even though Jesus has displayed his power and authority time and time again throughout Scripture, how are you tempted to disbelieve that Jesus can handle your situation or someone else’s difficult situation?
14. If Satan can discourage us to the point where we stop believing in Christ’s authority, then he will have successfully isolated us and made us very vulnerable. Make a commitment today to go back to these accounts in Scripture where Jesus showed the world his authority by his actions to heal and drive out evil spirits. He has the same authority today, but he often waits for his people to believe and ask for him to come intercede… choose to be a person who consistently asks him to intercede for others, having faith that he has the ultimate authority to work in every situation.
15. Who else has such authority? Why would we look anywhere else for help other than from Jesus?
by Ashley Denton
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