Daily devotion

Lasting Impact

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with very spiritual blessing in Christ.’

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus travels with this new disciples to Capernaum, somewhere as unknown as Nazareth in terms of Old Testament records. It is later described as a proud, unbelieving city whose fate would be worse than others because of this–so not an auspicious place to start them out on their discipleship journey with him! It was customary for Jesus to attend the synagogue and later it became common for him to teach while there. Like any other Jewish male he could teach if invited to by the synagogue rulers. Yesterday, we saw his authority at work in his calling of the four fishermen, and now in the synagogue he astounds his audience with not just what he says but the authority with which he says it. The listeners were literally out of their sense with amazement and wonder.

We don’t know how dissatisfied they’d previously been with their normal teaching diet nor do we know what Jesus actually said. But we do know from elsewhere that he always spoke truth, focused on important issues rather than trivialities, simulated curiosity by his use of popular illustrations, and undergirded everything he he said with God-given authority and love. They were then doubly amazed when he went on to deal with the demonic oppression experienced by a particular but unnamed individual. It is and interesting comment on the spiritual situation at Capernaum’s synagogue that someone who was demonised and who seemed not to want to be set free could worship with no one noticing his serious condition!

Mark throughout his Gospel stresses the impact that Jesus had on people. Using six different Greek words he describes how Jesus constantly filled people with a mixture of wonder, awe, and fear. This tragically didn’t necessarily translate into belief and personal discipleship, as people quickly forgot what had impressed them.

Think back to when something Jesus said or did had a significant impact on you. What lasting difference has it made in your life?

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