Lectionary Year B
February 2, 2003
Mark 1:21-28

Step IV: Cross-Section

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) Matthew 7:28f and Luke 4:31-37 parallel this story and Matthew 9:26 notes Jesus' reputation's spreading. James 2:2 uses, sunagwgh,, to mean "a Christian assembly", according to Taylor. Matthew's Gospel ends with Jesus' claim that, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, . . ." Then, in Luke 20:2ff, Jesus refuses to tell the inquisitive chief priests and scribes by what authority He does the healing, signs, etc. And, in Romans 13:1, Paul says that all authority comes from and is instituted by God. Revelation 12:10 hears a loud voice poeticize, "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ. . ." Matthew 10:1 says that Jesus gave to His 12 disciples "authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness." Peter says, at Cornelius' house to many of his relatives gathered there (in Acts 10:28), ". . . God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean." Jesus seems to speak of defeating such demons in such passages as Mark 3:27 and parallels and conclusively in Luke 10:18, where we read, "I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven." Jesus astonishes ("the visible symbol of His authority", according to Schweizer) others, especially in Mark, at Mark 6:2, 11:18 and 26. Scribes are said to be Pharisees (Mark 2:16) and Sadducees (Mark 12:18)

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) Similar to the man whom the unclean spirit possessed in verse 24, crying out, I Kings 17:18 tells of Elijah's being asked, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son?" Upon that exclamation, Elijah took the lad and revived him and the grieving mother then said to and of Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth." Psalm 106:16b refers to Aaron as "the holy one of God", as does the man possessed refer to Jesus in our text's 24th verse. Isaiah 40:25 and 57:15 refer to God as such, as well.

C. Hellenistic World

(JFC) These intellectuals would resonate with Jesus' teachings' being evaluated as astounding, amazing and astonishing. The peoples' asking questions also would appeal to these dialogical philosophers. Now, what about the authority idea observed relative to Jesus' teachings? Would they approve of such assessments? Lucian (120-185 CE), in The Lover of Lies, or the Doubter 16, describes one possessed by an undesirable spirit (not unlike the shadowy images invading the evil doers in the movie "Ghost") getting exorcised and the physician talks with the spirit about its origin, etc. Then, in Bentresch Stele, Egypt, (525-337 BCE) a demonic spirit in a patient addresses God, "You come in peace, great God, destroyer of the evil ones. . ." Thereupon, apparently, the evil spirit takes its leave asking for a festival to celebrate his honor. Such parties seem commonly to try to make deals with superiors, as in Mark 5:12.

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