This week’s devotions are based on Week 4 of the Series “Fresh Start” – I Have New Possibilities! (WATCH HERE)
New possibilities come with new learning!
Mark 1:21 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.
On this particular Sabbath, those that attended the Synagogue were in for a treat. They had a guest rabbi named Jesus as the preacher that day. Expecting a similar message to the regular and other traveling rabbis, they were amazed and surprised when what came out of Jesus’ mouth was a teaching that was different…very different than that of the teachers of the law.
His teaching had authority.
Most commentators suggest that what stood out to the listeners that day was that Jesus did not have to reference or quote other rabbis and their interpretations or applications of the Scriptures. He appealed to no higher teacher for any insight. He himself was part of inspiring those texts and he himself was the fulfillment of many of those texts and he himself had the authority to expound on those texts.
What I can imagine the listeners experienced that day was NEW teaching. It wasn’t the same reading of a portion of Scripture with exposition on past rabbis or simply reading a portion of the law and telling the listeners how to better keep it. I would guess the teaching had new insights into the purpose behind the law of God, how the Messiah would come and fulfill that law, and how God through his Son would destroy the work of Satan and bring forgiveness, life and peace to all.
Now of course, we have no excerpts from this sermon in Capernaum. We do have one from his visit to the synagogue in Nazareth where he said:
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
With new teaching came new learning. With new learning came new possibilities. As Jesus carried out his public ministry, little by little he was revealing that he was the Messiah, the long promised, and long waited for redemption for Israel. I can imagine people saying, “Is it possible? Is it possible this is the Messiah?”
Little by little some came to believe by the power of the Spirit, that yes, Jesus was the Messiah and the one promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He was the one who would suffer and die for their sins as Isaiah prophesied. He was the prophet who would speak the very Words of God that Moses spoke about. He was the Shepherd who would truly care for his people and rule over the house of Israel as King David had foretold.
And with Jesus working his teaching of truth into the hearts of people, new possibilities arose that never came up with the teachers of the law. There in the synagogue of Capernaum was not just more rules to follow, but one who “came from the Father full of grace and truth.” Perhaps for the first time, people who heard Jesus teach had a heart that could live with hope, certainty and peace.
Apply: What changes when the reality of Jesus as your Savior permeates your heart and life? What changes when you know you are loved and forgiven as to your attitude and joy in following the commands of God.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for continuing to open the truths of Scripture to me to see clearly who Jesus is and what he has done for me. AMEN.