After John the Baptiser was imprisoned, the Lord Jesus went into Galilee and began to proclaim that the time has come; the kingdom of God is near. The time the people had been waiting for — the new era, the new age, which God had foretold in the pages of the Old Testament — had now finally arrived. And it had arrived, because Jesus Christ — God’s Anointed King — had come into the world to defeat his enemies and to deliver his people from their sin and misery and to give them the hope of everlasting life in his glorious kingdom to come in the new heavens and the new earth. The Lord Jesus Christ — God’s Anointed King — came into the world the first time to set up his kingdom; and what he began to do at his first coming, he will bring to completion when he comes again, because when he comes again his enemies will be punished forever, but his people will reign with him for ever.
And we saw last week that the way to enter his kingdom and to be part of it is through repentance and faith: we must turn from our sin in repentance and we must turn to Christ with faith. Those who,, in this life, never repent and believe will be shut out of his glorious kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth and they will be punished forever. But everyone who repents and believes will live with him forever in that new creation. So, we’re to repent and believe. All of us. We’re to repent and believe.
A king needs to have power and authority, doesn’t he? A king needs power and authority. No one will listen to a weak king; no one will pay attention to what he says; no one will do what he commands; none of his enemies will be afraid of him if the king is weak and without power and authority. And so, a king needs power and authority; he need to be able to rule over his kingdom with power and with might so that his enemies will fear him and his people will obey him. And in today’s passage, we see the Lord’s power and authority, don’t we? We see his power and authority to summon men who will become his apostles. And we see his power and authority to teach and to drive out demons. And we see his power and authority to heal the sick. Today’s passage is all about the power and authority of God’s Anointed King.
Authority to Summon the Apostles
And so in the first section today, verses 16 to 20, we see his power and authority to summon men who will become his apostles. Mark tells us how the Lord was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. And he saw Simon — who will become known as Simon Peter — and his brother Andrew. And they were casting a net into the lake, because they were fishermen. And the Lord spoke to them. He said:
Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
And look at their response, because this is where we see the Lord’s remarkable power and authority. As soon as the Lord summoned them, they at once, at once, left their nets and followed him. All he had to do was say the word; and they responded at once; and they responded at once, because he spoke with power and authority.
And it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a one off, because Mark tells us that when he went a little further, he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. And they too were fishermen; and they were busy, mending their nets. So, perhaps they were getting ready to go out fishing. But the Lord called them. And look: they left their father and the hired men and they too followed the Lord Jesus.
Now, this is not the first time, these men had encountered the Lord. We know he wasn’t a total stranger to them, because in John’s gospel we read about their first meeting with him. Nevertheless, it is still very striking the way they responded so immediately and decisively to his call.
And look what they left behind, because there’s a kind of escalation in the way Mark describes what happened here. You see, first of all, we read how Simon and Andrew left their nets. In other words, they left their business, their work. Simon and Andrew left their nets, but James and John left their father. In other words, they left their family behind. And this shows us the power and the authority of God’s Anointed King, because all he had to do was say the word and issue the command; and these men dropped everything to follow him.
But, of course, we see his power and authority in another way. We see it in the fact that he was able to do what he said he would do. He called Simon and Andrew to follow him. And at the same time, he made them a promise:
I will make you fishers of men.
Instead of gathering fish into your nets, you’ll now gather men and women and boys and girls into my kingdom. And this was not an empty promise, because after the Lord’s death and resurrection, and after he ascended into heaven, he poured out the Holy Spirit upon these men and the other apostles; and he equipped them with the power they needed to be his witnesses and to preach the message of repentance and faith to everyone they met. And wherever they went, people listened to their message and they turned from their sin in repentance and they turned to Christ with faith and they were brought into the kingdom of God. And so, the kingdom of God began to grow and to multiply and to fill the earth. And it will continue to fill the earth until the Lord Jesus Christ comes again and makes everything new.
And the way to become part of his growing kingdom is through repentance and faith; to turn from your sins in repentance and to turn to Christ with faith. Whoever repents and believes is added to this kingdom which is growing and multiplying and which will fill the earth and which will one day fill the new heavens and the new earth. And so, I say to you:
Repent and believe. Turn from your sin in repentance and turn to Christ with faith.
Authority to Teach and to Cast out Demons
That’s his power and authority to call these men who would become his apostles. Next we see his power and authority to teach and to drive out demons. Mark tells us how they were in Capernaum. And on the Sabbath Day, the Lord went into the synagogue. The synagogue is like a church for the Jewish people. In those day, most of the Jews couldn’t go to the temple in Jerusalem very often; and so, normally they would attend the local synagogue where they were taught from God’s word and where they could pray to him. So, Mark tells us how the Lord went into to the synagogue and he began to teach the people who had gathered there for worship.
And look at the reaction of the people in verse 22: they were amazed at his teaching. Why were they so amazed? Mark tells us:
because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
There you are: his authority. They’d all heard the teachers of the law speak. And the teachers of the law probably did a fine job to explain God’s word to the people. But they couldn’t compare with the Lord Jesus, God’s Anointed King, because he spoke to them with a power and authority which was missing from the normal teachers of the law.
Perhaps we get a flavour of the difference between the teachers of the law and the Lord Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, because in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord said:
You have heard that it was said….
And then he would quote what the scribes used to say. But then the Lord added:
But I tell you….
This is what the scribes have said; but this is what I say.
And perhaps there was something about the way he handled the Scriptures and explained them and spoke about them with knowledge and insight which struck the people as far superior to anything they had heard before.
So, he had this amazing authority when he taught them. But then he also displayed an amazing power and authority over this evil spirit. Mark tells us that there was a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit. And the evil spirit made the man cry out:
What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Notice that he refers to ‘us’. Why do you think he said ‘us’ and not ‘me’? Perhaps like the man the Lord met later in the region of the Gerasenes, this man was possessed by more than one evil spirit. Or perhaps — and this seems more likely to me — perhaps this evil spirit was speaking on behalf of all the evil spirits. You see, this evil spirit recognised who Jesus is: he understood that he is God’s Anointed King. And he’s afraid, because if God’s Anointed King has come, he’s probably come to destroy his enemies including the Devil and all his demons. And so, this evil spirit is afraid of the Lord Jesus. And he said:
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!
The evil spirit was right to be afraid, because the Lord Jesus is God’s Anointed King and he has the power and the authority to destroy his enemies. And so, in verse 25, we read how the Lord spoke to the evil spirit sternly and said:
Be quiet! Come out of him!
And the evil spirit shook the man and came out of him with a shriek.
Do you see the Lord’s power and authority? He only had to speak and the evil spirit was compelled to obey him and to do what he said. All he had to do was say the word and the spirit was gone and this poor man was released from his bondage to Satan.
And look at the reaction of the people. Verse 27: they people were all so amazed and they asked each other:
What is this? A new teaching — and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.
At the start of this section, they had been impressed with the way he had taught them; but now, at the end of this section, they were even more amazed, because he possessed so much power and authority that evil spirits had to submit to him.
The Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed King, had come into the world to establish his kingdom. And that involved destroying his enemies who were holding his people in bondage And what he began to do on the earth, he will bring to completion when he comes again, because when he comes again, the Devil and all his demons will be thrown into the lake of fire which we read about at the end of the book of Revelation. And in the lake of fire they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And not only the Devil and all his demons, but whoever does not repent and believe the good news will also be thrown into the lake of fire.
People sometimes think of the Lord Jesus as meek and mild. But they forget that he is God’s Anointed King, and he is mighty and powerful and he possesses the authority to crush his enemies under his feet and to punish all those who refuse to submit to him. And so, I say to you:
Repent and believe.
Turn from your sin in repentance and turn to Christ with faith. Kiss the Son, the psalmist says. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way; but blessed are those who take refuge in him. The coming of God’s Anointed King meant destruction for this evil spirit; but it meant freedom and peace and joy for the man whom Christ set free from bondage. And so, turn from your sin and turn to Christ.
Authority to Heal
We’ve seen his power and authority to summon these men who would become his apostles. And we’ve seen his power and authority to teach and to drive out demons. Next Mark shows us his power and authority to heal the sick. He tells us in verse 29 that as soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.
Incidentally, I’ve heard Mark’s gospel called ‘the panting gospel’. Why’s it called ‘the panting gospel’? Because everything happens suddenly and immediately and at once. Read through it and you’ll see how it’s one thing after another: this happened; and then at once this happened; and then immediately this happened and so on. It seems that Mark is in hurry and the reader is left breathless and panting.
And as, as soon as they left the synagogue, they went into this home. And Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. They told the Lord Jesus about her and he went to her, took her hand, and helped her up. Just like that. There was no fuss; he didn’t need to do anything or give her any medication or apply any anointment or say any special words. Without any fuss, he took her hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to serve them. And, of course, the reason Mark tells us that she began to serve them was to show that her recovery was complete. Normally, when someone has been discharged from hospital, it takes them several days to recover their full strength. And this woman had a fever; and we know that a fever or high temperature can leave us feeling weak for days. But the Lord’s power and authority to heal is so great, that this woman’s recovery was instantaneous.
And then, later that evening, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. In fact Mark tells us the whole town gathered at the door of the house and the Lord healed many who had various diseases and he drove out many demons. Now, when it says he healed ‘many’, that doesn’t mean that he healed many, but not all. It means that he healed as many who were ill; many of them were ill, and he healed them all.
The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Anointed King and he came into the world to set up his kingdom. And that involved destroying his enemies. But it also involved delivering his people from their sin and misery. And so, here he is, using his power and authority to deliver these people from the misery brought about by their sickness. And what he began to do on the earth, he will bring to completion when he comes again, because when he comes again, our weak and frail and earthly bodies will be transformed and made glorious. All of these healing miracles point forward to the time when he will transform our bodies and make them glorious like his body. And at that time, when he comes again, there will be no more death or mourning, no more crying or pain, no more sickness or disease. The former things — the sorrow and sadness of this world — will pass away and all of God’s people will be made new and we’ll live with him in his kingdom which will fill the new heavens and the new earth. The power and authority by which the Lord healed all of these people speaks to us of the power and authority by which he will renew all things when he comes again.
Right now, we feel our own weakness and frailty. How often we get sick! How easily we hurt ourselves! As we get older, we slow down; we suffer all kinds of aches and pains; we falter and we fail. Some of us who were playing football at the picnic yesterday are suffering because of it today. This is what life is like in this fallen world, which was spoiled in the beginning by Adam’s sin. Life is hard and difficult and it ends in death. But the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed King, has the power and authority to make us new and to give us new, glorified bodies for the life to come.
And the way to enter his kingdom and to be assured of this glorious future is through repentance and faith. And so, once again I say to you:
Repent and believe.
Turn from your sin in repentance and turn to Christ with faith, because whoever repents and believes may enter God’s kingdom now; and can look forward to being part of his glorious kingdom to come in the new heavens and the new earth.
Mark makes clear for us the Lord’s power and authority. He is God’s Anointed King with the power and authority to summon the apostles and to equip them to be his witnesses. He is God’s Anointed King with the power and authority to destroy the Devil and all his demons and all who will not repent and believe. He is God’s Anointed King with the power and authority to not only heal the sick, but to give his people a new glorified body and everlasting life in the new creation.
The Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed King, came into the world to set up his kingdom; and he will bring it to completion when he comes again. And the way to enter his kingdom — and the way to have everlasting life in his glorious kingdom to come — is through repentance and faith. And repentance and faith is not something we do only once, and never again, because every day we ought to repent of our sins and of all the ways we have offended our king and disobeyed his laws. Every day we ought to repent of our sins and endeavour to walk in his ways and to obey him more and more. And every day we ought to believe the good news that — for the sake of Christ who died for sinners and who was raised again on the third day — the sins of all who trust in him are pardoned and they too will be raised to live with him for ever and for ever. So, every day we’re to repent of our sins and we’re to endeavour to walk in his ways and to obey him more and more. And every day we’re to believe the good news and rejoice in Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed King, and our Saviour.