This is a Bible study on Mark 1:21-39.

6 pages.

Mark 1:21-39 - A Day in the Life of Our Lord

Read Mark 1:21-39.


A newspaper once carried the story of how one little girl spent the day with her mom. Little 7-year old Amanda was excused from school for the day so that she could accompany her mom to work and see just how her mom spent her time on the job. She observed her mom as she administered diagnostic heart procedures and assisted the physicians in their care of heart patients as part of her job with a mobile cardiac catheterization lab. It was a big day for little Amanda, and when she was asked for her reaction, she summed it up by saying, “It’s pretty overwhelming.”

As we come to the next passage in the Gospel of Mark and observe a day in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can well sum it up in the words of little Amanda, “It’s pretty overwhelming!” As we witness a day in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us thank God for His ministry in all of its dimensions.

Let Us Thank God that Our Lord Jesus Christ Exercises Divine Authority🔗

On the Sabbath day, the Lord Jesus attended the local synagogue in Capernaum and addressed the congregation (vs. 21). The reaction of the congregation was that of astonishment: “they were astonished at his teaching.” The Greek word, εKπXri66ω, means to be amazed or to be overwhelmed. It was especially the authority with which He spoke, in contrast to the scribes, that astonished them. When we consider the parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke, we discover that Jesus’ authority, in His capacity of being the incarnate Messiah, was derived from the Holy Spirit:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the [Holy] Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. (Lk. 4:14­-15)

The synagogue congregation was being confronted by the authority of God, by His absolute and authoritative claims on their lives; as opposed to merely hearing a recitation of the traditions of the elders rehearsed by the scribes.

Suddenly, Jesus’ teaching was interrupted by the appearance of a demon-possessed man (vs. 23-24). Either this man suddenly burst into the synagogue; or, as he was sitting among the congregation, the demon suddenly asserted his presence in the man’s life. Note how the devil came into this most sacred setting: on the LORD’s day, in the LORD’s house, with the LORD Himself proclaiming His Word, and confronted Jesus as He exercises His divine authority in teaching.

The demon challenges Jesus: “What do we have to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth?” Being used here is an Old Testament expression meaning, “There is no agreement between us, we are at odds with one another;” it even conveys the sense, “You are invading our territory!” Note how the expression is used in Judges 11:12, “And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, ‘What do you have to do with me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?’”

The demon goes on to assert, “You have come to destroy us! I know who you are, the Holy One of God!” Whereas the people recognize the authority of Christ, but not His identity; the demons know who He is and why He has come. The Book of Hebrews states our Lord’s divine mission in these terms: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death; that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). So it is that in panic, the demons recognize that their whole empire is being threatened.

Exercising His divine authority, Jesus rebukes the demon (vs. 25-26). He commands him to hold his peace: he who is the father of lies is an inappropriate witness to the truth. Then He issues the command for the demon to come out of the man: Jesus has come to deliver us from the evil dominion of the devil, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 Jn. 3:8b). Consequently, the demon is compelled to submit to the divine authority of the Lord Jesus: the convulsion and shrieking of the man may be seen as exhibiting the demon’s own experience of terror and torment before Christ.

The report of Jesus’ victory over the devil immediately spreads throughout all Galilee (vs. 28). Here is a preview of what is to finally come:

The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3He has remembered his lovingkindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation that comes from our God. Psl. 98:2-3

Let us thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ possesses and exercises divine authority in teaching the truth of God and in conquering our adversary, the devil.

Let Us Thank God that Our Lord Jesus Christ Dispenses Divine Tenderness🔗

Upon leaving the synagogue, Simon and Andrew invite the Lord Jesus to their home (vs. 29). Maybe the invitation was extended to Jesus for the sake of Simon’s mother-in-law who was lying sick in bed with a fever. Verse thirty states that as soon as they arrived at Simon’s home, they immediately told Jesus about Simon’s mother-in-law. The Gospel of Luke provides further details with regard to the woman’s condition: “Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her” (Lk. 4:38).

Jesus came to the sick woman’s bedside, He took her by the hand, He raised her up, and the fever left her (vs. 31). Luke 4:39 states, he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.” Jesus was exhibiting His authority as He had done previously in the synagogue; note Mark. 1:25, where the same word is used: “And Jesus rebuked [the demon], saying, ‘Keep quiet, and come out of him."” But when Mark reports this act of healing, he especially calls our attention to the tenderness of the Lord Jesus and the personal attention He ministers to the sick woman: “he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up” (Mk. 1:31).

In response to Jesus’ ministry “the fever left her, and she served them.” By the power and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ the woman was restored to health and useful service.

Let us thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ dispenses divine tenderness and personal care for us. We cannot always expect the Lord to minister healing to us in every instance. We must appreciate the fact that Jesus’ acts of healing during His earthly ministry were a demonstration of the extent of His saving grace and a preview of the wholeness that we will have with Him in the kingdom of God, a wholeness portrayed for us in Revelation 21:3-4,

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'

But we can always be assured of His tender mercy and personal care when we call upon Him: “Cast all your care upon him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Let Us Thank God that Our Lord Jesus Christ Displays Divine Graciousness🔗

In the evening of that day, when the sun had set, a large throng of people converged at the door of Peter’s house (vs. 32). The report of Jesus’ awesome deliverance of the demon-possessed man had been spread throughout the whole region (Mk. 1:28). Now all the sick and demon-possessed are being brought to Peter’s doorstep for healing and deliverance. The whole town has gathered at Peter’s house, drawn by the commotion and excitement, anxious to see what will happen next (vs. 33).

How will Jesus react to this rude imposition, especially occurring as it does at the evening of the day? We are told, “He healed many...and cast out many demons” (vs. 34).

Jesus demonstrates His graciousness and compassion for those who bring their burdens to Him and who solicit His mercy and aid. This becomes even more apparent by referring to the parallel passage found in the Gospel of Luke: “When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them” (Lk. 4:40). Here is graciousness extended to a people who did not really appreciate who He was, and who came merely to derive personal benefit from His services. How much more may those who know Him and love Him expect to receive grace and mercy from Him!

Let us thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ displays divine graciousness, and that He is willing to receive us and minister His mercy and grace to us. Consider the prevailing attitude of the disciples, as recorded in such passages as Matthew 14:15, Matthew 15:23 and Mark 10:13,

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a remote place, and it is already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.'Matt. 14:15

When they are confronted with the pleas of the Canaanite woman, the disciples urged him,

'Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.' Matt. 15:23

Then they brought young children to [Jesus], that he might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Mk. 10:13

Contrast the attitude of the disciples with that of the Lord Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Note the testimony of Hebrews 4:14-16,

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess, 15for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Let Us Thank God that Our Lord Jesus Christ Remains True to His Divine Mission🔗

Jesus had been ministering to the throng of people at Peter’s house long after sunset; nevertheless, He rises long before sunrise and departs to an isolated place in order to pray (vs. 35).

Why? Jesus does so because He discerns the potential to be identified by the people as a popular miracle worker and thereby to be diverted from the work His Father sent Him to accomplish.

Sure enough, it is not long before Peter comes searching for Him with the report, “Everybody is looking for you!” (vs. 36-37) Apparently, the crowds began to gather once again at Peter’s house. Consequently, Peter set out to retrieve Jesus, partly in desperation and partly in excitement.

But rather than return to Capernaum to be hailed by an admiring, awestruck crowd, Jesus declares, “Let us go elsewhere” (vs. 38). The Greek word, αλλαXου, literally means, “[Let us go] in another direction.” In Luke’s account there is recorded the Lord’s explanation: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Lk. 4:43).

So it was that the Lord Jesus traveled throughout all Galilee, “preaching,” not healing, “and casting out demons” (Mk. 1:39). By preaching the gospel, Jesus was calling men to enter into the kingdom of God through faith in Himself and the saving work He would accomplish on the cross of Calvary. By casting out demons He was demonstrating the triumph of the kingdom of God over the devil, the triumph won at the cross of Calvary: “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by [the cross]” (Col. 2:15). The devil can no longer bar us from entering into God’s kingdom, and there is no reason to remain aligned with his defeated and doomed kingdom of darkness.

Let us thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ remains true to His divine mission, a mission to which He also called the Apostle Paul as well as the other apostles and all preachers of the gospel:

I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.Acts 26:18

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to be “the great physician” whose primary function is to relieve man’s pain in this present fallen world. The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to be “the great provider” whose primary function is to satisfy men’s stomachs in this present fallen world. The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to be “the great entertainer” whose primary function is to bedazzle men with “recreational” miracles in this present fallen world. The Lord Jesus Christ came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).


As we witness a day in the life of our Lord, what do we observe? We observe His divine authority in teaching the Word of God and in restraining and conquering our adversary, the devil; His divine tenderness and personal care, which He offers to us; His divine graciousness, His willingness to Jesus says to the Pharisees: But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt. 12:28) receive us and minister mercy and grace to us; and His divine commitment to accomplish the mission of redemption for which His Father sent Him into this lost fallen world.

What is truly overwhelming is the fact that as Christians it is our privilege not merely to observe the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for a day, but to be the recipients of His ministry throughout all our days and for all of eternity!

Let us thank God for the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ as He ministers to us the manifold grace of God.

Discussion Questions🔗

  1. Why were the people astonished at Christ’s preaching? See Mk. 1:22 What was the source of Christ’s authority? Note Lk. 4:14-15; note, also, Jn. 12:49-50 What do we learn about the Scriptures from Hebrews 4:12? How must we receive the Word of God in order to benefit from it? Note 1 Thess. 2:13,

They came to Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath day he entered the synagogue and taught. 22The people were astonished at his teaching; because he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. Mk. 1:21-22

Then Jesus returned in the power of the [Holy] Spirit to Galilee... 15And he taught in their synagogues... Lk. 4:14-15

...I did not speak of my own accord; on the contrary, the Father who sent me, he has commanded me what to say and how to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. Therefore, what I say is just what the Father has spoken to me. Jn. 12:49-50

...the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12

...we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who are believing. 1 Thess. 2:13

  1. Who confronts Jesus while He is preaching in the synagogue? See Mk. 1:23-24 How does the demon-possessed man identify Jesus? See Mk. 1:24c Why does Jesus command the demon to keep quiet? Would the demon’s witness to the truth be a reputable witness? Note Jn. 8:44b To what does Jesus Himself bear witness by means of His act of casting out the demon? See Matt. 12:28 Do you accept Christ’s witness? Note Jn. 20:30-31,

And immediately there was a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an unclean spirit. He cried out, 24What do we have to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. Mk. 1:23-24

Speaking of the devil, Jesus declares:

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature], because he is a liar and the father of it. Jn. 8:44b

Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples that are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and by believing you may have life in his name.Jn. 20:30-31

  1. After leaving the synagogue, Jesus entered the home of Simon and Andrew; what situation is presented to Him there? See Mk. 1:29-30 How does Jesus respond to this situation? See Mk. 1:31; note, also, Lk. 4:39 What aspect of Jesus’ ministry does Luke emphasize, what aspect does Mark emphasize? Can we always expect Jesus to minister healing to us, (bear in mind how John describes Jesus’ miracles and the purpose of them in Jn. 20:30-31)? Can we always be assured of His tender care for us? Note Heb. 13:8,

Immediately, as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they went to the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s wife’s mother was lying in bed with a fever; immediately they told him about her. 31He came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them. (Mk. 1:29-31) / He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. Lk. 4:39

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb. 13:8

  1. When word of Jesus’ miraculous acts spreads throughout the area, what happens? See Mk. 1:32­ 33 At what time of day do the crowds arrive at Simon’s door? How does Jesus respond to this situation? See Mk. 1:34 What detail does Luke add in his description of this incident? See Lk. 4:40 If the Lord Jesus showed such compassion to strangers, what assurance does this give us who have become His disciples? Note Jn. 13:1b; 1 Pet. 5:6-7,

At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick, and those who were possessed with demons. 33The whole community was gathered together at the door [of Simon’s house]. 34He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; but he did not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. Mk. 1:32-34

When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Lk. 4:40

Knowing [already] before the Passover that his hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father, and having loved his own who were in the world, [Jesus now] loved them to the fullest extent. Jn. 13:1

Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, (so that he may exalt you at the appointed time), 7by casting all your cares upon him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:6-7

  1. Early the next morning, where does Jesus go, and for what purpose? See Mk. 1:35 Who comes looking for Him, and for what purpose? See Mk. 1:36-37 How does Jesus respond this time, and why? See Mk. 1:38 What does Jesus’ priority of preaching the gospel tell us about the ultimate purpose for His coming? Note Mk. 10:45; Lk. 19:10 Do you merely view Jesus as “a great physician” to whom you can turn for healing; or do you recognize Him to be the Savior to whom you must come for redemption from your sins? Note Acts 4:12,

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and went out, retiring to a desert place, and there he prayed. Mk. 1:35

Simon and those who were with him followed him. 37They found him and said to him, Everyone is looking for you. 38But he said to them, Let us go somewhere else, to the nearby towns, so that I may preach there also; for this is the reason I have come. Mk. 1:36-38

...for, indeed, the Son of man came not to receive ministry, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mk. 10:45) / ...the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Lk. 19:10

Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter declares, Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

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