Jesus At the Beginning of His Ministry: Mark 1:21-28

Jesus At the Beginning of His Ministry: Mark 1:21-28 January 28, 2024

Notes from a Sermon Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Jesus on the beach

Jesus is at the beginning of his ministry.

I sometimes think about Jesus starting his ministry in some out of the way, backwater little fishing village like Capernaum.

According to Wikipedia, Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500 in the 1st century AD. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other.” So Archaeologists have found the site of the synagogue in today’s scripture.

But why would Jesus start preaching, here? Why would Jesus heal people, here? Literally on the edge of the land, overlooking the water. People have to go to Capernaum, they aren’t happening to pass through Capernaum.

Why did Jesus go to Capernaum? Why didn’t Jesus go to Rome? That’s what Paul did. When Paul was trying to spread the good news of Jesus, Paul went to Rome. Paul challenged the greatest thinkers in the society, telling them about Jesus, the son of the one true God. Paul went to where all the people were. If you wanted to make a big splash you went to Rome, so that’s what Paul did.

So why didn’t Jesus go to Rome? For that matter, why didn’t Jesus, miraculously appear on the steps of the Parthenon or in the main forum of the Roman Senate?

For that matter, why did God even send Jesus, why didn’t God just write across the sky, “I am the Lord your God, stop making bad choices!”

Would it have made a difference in some people’s lives?

In this modern world, in our day and time in 2024, some people don’t believe the Earth is round. They think it’s flat. Some people don’t believe that the US sent people to the moon. They just don’t believe it. They refuse to acknowledge the facts and reality.

Faced with overwhelming evidence contradicting their hard-held beliefs, some people refuse to let go of those beliefs and change their way of thinking.

Some people, and we know them, are committed to believing and thinking and doing the wrong things, no matter what happens and no matter what other people tell them.

Some people, and sometimes those people are us, some people just can’t learn. They can’t let go of one belief to accept a new belief. They can’t stop thinking and doing what they’ve been thinking and doing to start thinking and doing something different. We’re comfortable in our comfort. Or sometimes, comfortable in our discomfort.

God speaks to us, from a small synagogue in Capernaum, in the clouds and stars written across our sky, in the face of a stranger, in the words and messages of others, and we don’t hear, we can’t hear. Human nature is mighty powerful. So powerful that our human nature can often times easily reject God’s nature. God’s message. God’s lessons that God wants us to learn.

And we respond like the man with the unclean spirit. “Have you come to destroy us?” To destroy our old way of thinking and doing and believing? Have you come to change our lives in a massive, transformative way?

So, at the beginning of his ministry, or at the end, the message of Jesus remains: The Kingdom of heaven is at hand, here and now. Love God, love others. Do this on earth as it’s done in heaven.

And Jesus is met with rejection, then, and now, and probably forever more.



Jim Meisner, Jr. is the author of the novel Faith, Hope, and Baseball, available on Amazon, or follow this link to order an autographed copy. He created the Facebook page Faith on the Fringe.

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