The journey begins, 1:1-5:43

2. Jesus the Son of God, Messiah, 1:14-45

ii] A day in the journey - New teaching


Chapter 1:21-34, represents a single day in the life of Jesus, or more properly, a Sabbath day and the evening of the next day, given that the new day begins at sunset. The events of the day include a visit to the Synagogue and to the home of Simon and Andrew at Capernaum. We see Jesus teaching, exorcising and healing.


Mark introduces us to Jesus, the "Holy one of God", the messiah, who speaks with authority / power, such that even the demons are subject to his word. In response, the people are both excited and alarmed. It is significant that Mark's first recorded miracle is an exorcism, for as Jesus later points out, "if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has burst in upon you", Lk.11:20.


i] Context: See 1:1-8.


ii] Structure: New teachings:

Jesus teaches with authority, v21-22;

The powers of darkness subdued, v23-26;

A response of amazement, v27-28.


iii] Interpretation:

Mark seems to have crafted this normal day in the life of Jesus to illustrate his saving work, 1:21-34. We are introduced to messiah's redemptive work as Jesus casts out demons, heals and teaches. It may well be that this day in the life of Jesus was already established in the oral tradition, although Boring, referring to Schenke, notes that Mark may have added the introductory exorcism from elsewhere in the tradition, 1:21b-28.

In demonstrating the authority of Jesus, Mark first "shows that Jesus teaches with unique authority, unlike and indeed surpassing that of the scribes", Edwards, v21-22. Mark goes on to demonstrate the authority of Jesus over the powers of darkness, "showing us what happens when a man with an unclean spirit meets the One anointed with God's Spirit", Edwards, v23-26. Mark then records the amazement of the people and the spread of Jesus' fame, v27-28.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of the passage can be found in the pew-level sermon notes The New Teaching with Authority.

Text - 1:21

A day in the life of Jesus, v21-34: i] Jesus teaches with authority, v21-22. In v29 we see that the "they" are the four fishermen who have "left their nets and followed" Jesus. Most likely they all lived in Capernaum, a town situated on the northwestern shore of lake Galilee. The ruins at Tel Hum today probably represent this thriving town which became the centre for Jesus' ministry. In typical fashion, Jesus, a rabbi (teacher), attends the local synagogue and is invited to expound the scriptures to the congregation. At the outset, Mark identifies the focus of Jesus' mission, namely, divine communication.

eisporeuontai (eisporeuomai) pres. "they went" - they enter, go into. Historical present, used in narrative discourse to indicate a step in the narrative. The "they", meaning Jesus and his disciples, serves as the understood subject.

eiV "-" - into [capernaum]. The repetition of the verb's prefix eiV is stylistic.

euquV adv. "-" - [and] immediately. This temporal adverb is used here to express next in sequence, "then".

toiV sabbasin (on ou) dat. "when the Sabbath came" - on the sabbaths. The dative is temporal, as NIV, while the plural form is a reflection of the Aramaic, and does not mean Jesus is attending the synagogue on successive Sabbaths. "On the next Sabbath", CEV.

eiselqwn (eisercomai) aor. part. "went into" - entering. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "teach"; "he entered .... and taught."

thn sunagwghn (h) "the synagogue" - [into] the synagogue. Given that Capernaum is a substantial town with a population of around 10,000, the synagogue would be a major place of worship.

edidasken (didaskw) imperf. "he began to teach" - he was teaching the people. The imperfect is possibly inceptive, where the emphasis is placed on the beginning of the action; "began teaching", Phillips, as NIV. As Decker notes, Mark could have used arcomai, "began", if he wanted to stress the beginning of his teaching, in which case Mark's use of the imperfect may just be stressing durative action, Jesus "was teaching." Given synagogue protocol, Jesus would have been invited to preach, which means that he was at least known to the elders as a rabbi. Mark is clearly underlining the prime function of Jesus' messianic mission, namely, divine communication.


The content of Jesus' teaching is most likely the gospel, a summary of which is found in v15. Obviously, the content, along with the authority with which it is delivered, disturbs the people. Jesus delivers his teaching, quite contrary to the rabbinic tradition where the scriptures were expounded in line with the tradition of the elders. Jesus teaching-style is even more confronting than the prophets of old. Here was an authoritative revelation from God which served to amaze the congregation.

exeplhssonto (ekplhssw) imperf. "the people were amazed" - [and] they were amazed, astonished, overwhelmed, filled with fear and wonder. The indefinite subject "they" is properly assumed to be "the people." The imperfect tense, being durative, links to Jesus' act of teaching in v21, possibly indicating that from the moment he began teaching, the people were astonished, so Gundry. It is worth noting that the gospel ends with the women overcome with trembling, amazement and fear, 16:8 - Cranfield identifies Mark's numerous references to the amazement of the crowds, as a "striking feature" of his gospel. This response to Jesus and his gospel is well short of faith and it seems clear that Mark wants to underline the need to move from wonder / amazement to faith. "The people were astonished at his teaching", NAB.

epi + dat. "at" - upon, at [the teaching of him]. Causal; in the sense of "on the ground of / basis of", possibly extending to "because of", even "by". Are the people amazed at how he taught, his bold presentation, or are they amazed at the content of his teaching, his radical ideas? Commentators are divided. How about both?

gar "because" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the people are amazed.

hn ... didaskwn (didaskw) verb to-be + pres. part. "he taught" - he was teaching. Periphrastic imperfect. Here a true periphrastic construction and therefore, probably best treated as a simple imperfect, ie. it is used only for stylistic flair, although it is possible that Mark is using the periphrastic to underline aspect, ongoing action (durative), or for emphasis, "there he was, teaching them", France.

wJV "as" - as. Here the comparative is adverbial, expressing manner, "in the manner of"; "he is teaching as one who has authority teaches", Burton.

ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "one who had" - one having. Although the participle does not take an article here, it does seem that it is serving as a substantive; "as one having authority."

exousian (a) "authority" - authority, power, ability. Jesus possessed divine power and this is recognised by the people. It is noted in his use of "I say unto you", rather than "thus says the Lord", and in his knowledge and debating skills. "He taught like a teacher who needed no authority other than his own", Barclay.

oiJ grammateiV (uV ewV) "the teachers of the law" - [and not as] the scribes taught. Nominative subject of an assumed verb "to teach." Recognised theological authorities.


ii] Jesus exercises his authority over the powers of darkness, v23-26. A man, possessed by an evil spirit, then enters the synagogue. His personality is so damaged that the powers of darkness now rule his will. Faced with the danger of God's son, the demon screams in terror and rage.

euquV adv. "just then" - [and] immediately. Again, this temporal adverb is used to express dramatic movement - also present in v21, "immediately after Jesus had finished teaching", Marcus, but it may just serve as a transitional marker, "then .....".

en + dat. "in" - [there was] in. Local, expressing space. Probably here meaning, "came into / appeared in". "When Jesus had finished teaching, a person, possessed by an evil spirit, entered the synagogue and began screaming."

autwn gen. pro. "their [synagogue]" - [the synagogue] of them. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. Is Mark telling us that this was the synagogue usually attended by Jesus and his disciples?

en + dat. "who was possessed by" - [a man = someone with [an evil, unclean spirit]. Introducing a prepositional phrase which, although not articular, is most likely adjectival, attributive, limiting the noun "man", "a man who was possessed with an unclean spirit", as NIV. Here the preposition reflects the Aramaic, expressing association, "with"; "under the influence of", BAGD.

anekraxen (anakrazw) aor. "cried out" - [and] he / it cried out. Who cried out, the man or the unclean spirit? In demon possession, the personality of the demon is distinct from, and in control of, the host. So, it is probably the demon who is enraged at the presence of Jesus, rather than the man crying out for help.


The demon proclaims the name of Jesus, his function and his title, "Holy One of God". He (it/they) does this to gain mastery over Jesus, for there is power in knowing the name. If the demon can precisely identify Jesus, he may be able to contain his power (or so was the belief of the day). The demon rejects Jesus' right to interfere with him; "what have we to do with you? (you have no business with us). The demon declares that he and his demonic friends know what Jesus is on about (judgement) and who he is (God's messiah).

legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant, expressing action accompanying the verb "he cried out", v23.

ti hJmin kai soi "what do you want with us?" - what to / with us and to / with you [jesus, the nazarene]? The dative personal pronouns uJmin and soi serve as datives of respect; "what is there with reference / respect to us and to you?" This idiomatic saying has a number of possible meanings: "What have we and you in common", Classical Greek; "why do you interfere with us", cf., Taylor; "mind your own business", Cranfield; "go away and leave us alone", France. Note the plural "us"; meaning spirit and host, or numerous possessing spirits, or one spirit speaking for all his friends.....

hlqeV (ercomai) aor. "have you come" - have you come. Possibly a question, but the clause may also be a statement, "you have come into the world .....", so Taylor.

apolesai (apolumi) aor. inf. "to destroy" - to destroy [us]? The infinitive is expressing purpose; "in order to destroy."

tivV ei "who you are" - [i / we know you], who are you. Variant "we know." The indirect question tiV ei|, "who are you?", explains se"you", and constitutes what they know, namely "who you are", ie., that Jesus is "the Holy One of God." It was believed that by knowing a person, power is gained over them. The demons know Jesus: his name, Jesus of Nazareth; his business, judgment; and his spiritual nature, messiah. "We know who you are and so you have no power over us."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [the holy one] of god. The genitive may be ablative, expressing source, "from God", or adjectival, relational. "The "holy of God", may mean "the holy man of God", but Mark probably intends the phrase as a messianic title.


The evil spirit's knowledge is powerless before God's messiah. Without relying on some invocation to the divine (symbols, spells, techniques), Jesus tells him to "shut up" and "come out". When it comes to the powers of darkness, Jesus has absolute authority over them.

epetimhsen (epitimaw) aor "said [Jesus] sternly" - [and jesus] rebuked, censured, warned, spoke sternly. Probably here the sense is of an authoritative silencing;: "Jesus commanded him / it to stop speaking / told him to shut up"; "silence!", Barclay; "hold your tongue", Phillips. Jesus is possibly just cutting short the unclean spirit's self defence, but he may also be wanting to maintain the messianic secret which requires a subtle revelation of the Christ ("Son of Man"), for those with eyes to see, rather than the overt display of a popular messiah, and this with inevitable political complications.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - to him. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to rebuke."

legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant, expressing action accompanying the verb "to rebuke".

ex + gen. "from" - [be quiet and come out] from [him]. Expressing source; "out from him." Jesus teaches with authority and this authority is demonstrated in his command over demons.


Jesus came to confront the powers of darkness and strip them of their power. In the face of the authoritative judge, the powers shriek in defiance, but come out, silenced and broken.

sparaxan (sparassw) aor. part. "shook [the man] violently" - [and] having convulsed, torn apart, pushed and pulled [him]. The participle, as with "having cried out", is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "after throwing the man into convulsions ...", Weymouth. Possibly just an attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "came out"; "the evil spirit shook him, shouted out with a loud voice and came out of him."

fwnhsan (fwnew) aor. part. "-" - [and] having cried out, shouted out [in a loud voice]. The aorist tense of both participles, "having convulsed and having shouted out", links them together. The shaking and shouting probably illustrates resistance, although it is ineffectual. "The evil spirit convulsed the man, let out a loud scream and left him", Phillips. The dative "loud voice" is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the spirit's coming out of the man; "uttering a loud cry."

ex + gen. "[came out] of [him]" - [the unclean spirit came out] from [him]. Expressing source; "out from him." Although not as common as the repetition of eiV, a verb with the prefix ex (ek), here exhlqen, "came out", is also sometimes repeated, as here; just stylistic.


iii]The crowds respond to Jesus' ministry with amazement, v27-28. The congregation is astonished. They have never before witnessed such an authoritative word. Here is a rabbi who declares a word without reservation (not even "thus says the Lord", but "I say unto you"). When this authoritative word is directed toward demonic powers, they scatter in fear. "Here was a teaching qualitatively new in the authority with which it laid hold of men. And the people were alarmed", Lane.

eqambhqhsan (qambew) aor. mid. / pas. "were all so amazed" - [and everyone] was astonished, amazed, astounded. The middle voice is often used to express strong emotion. Taylor suggests that they were astonished because Jesus cast out the demon without the usual incantations and actions, ie., it's a style issue. Yet, Jesus does it with a word of command. Of course, it is also quite possible that exorcisms were not commonplace, or at least successful ones weren't commonplace. "They were dumbfounded", Williams.

wJste + inf. "that" - so that, so as [to discuss, question, dispute with]. This construction is used to form a consecutive clause expressing result; "with the result that they questioned / discussed."

proV + acc. "each other" - toward [each other]. Here expressing association; "with each other"; "they discussed it with one another", Goodspeed.

legontaV (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant, expressing action accompanying the verbal infinitive "to discuss", accusative in agreement with the assumed accusative subject of the infinitive, "they".

tiv pro. "What" - what [is this]? The interrogative pronoun is neuter, "what", not masculine, "who".

kat (kata) + acc. "with" - this is [a new teaching] according to [authority]. Here adverbial, expressing manner, "with". 'New' in respect of quality, as distinct from 'new' as regards time", Taylor. Elliptical, with touto estin, "this is", implied; "this is a new teaching." "It's new teaching with authority behind it", Moffatt.

kai "even" - and. Ascensive, "even", emphasising that the authoritative word exercised over the demons is more amazing than Jesus' authoritative word in teaching, which in itself is amazing. "Why, he even gives orders to .....", Phillips.

toiV pneumasi toiV akaqartoiV dat. "evil spirits" - [he commands] the unclean spirits. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to command."

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - [and they obey] him. Dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb "to obey."


News of the disturbance spreads far and wide.

autou gen. pro. "[news] about him" - [and the report] of him. The genitive can be classified as verbal, objective, "the report about / concerning him", although Luke has peri autou with the preposition expressing reference / respect, so the genitive here could properly be classified as adverbial, reference / respect. "The story of what Jesus had done", Barclay.

euquV adv. "[spread] quickly" - immediately [went out everywhere]. It is unusual for this temporal adverb to follow a verb, but here it probably stands with the local adverb pantacou, "everywhere", so "his fame spread everywhere quickly."

thV GalilaiaV gen. "[over the whole region] of Galilee" - [into all the surrounding countryside] of galilee. The genitive may be treated as partitive / wholative, "into the whole surrounding region around Galilee", or epexegetic, "into the surrounding countryside, the region of Galilee." "Into every spot of the surrounding region", Gundry.


Mark Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]