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

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) Jesus, the human Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, personifies the theological focal point of this passage. He goes into the synagogue, possibly leading the entourage (the disciples and maybe others as well) to go in with Him. He teaches there, quite amazingly (if not effectively), the hearers exclaim. He also exorcises a demon-possessed man there. Other major elements in this pericope include the reactions of the bystanders - they are amazed, astonished, astounded, favorably impressed and wonder about who this is who teaches and gets unclean spirits to obey Him. These observations leave only the demon-possessed man and the other humans as lesser important participants in this narrative.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 21 And they came into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbaths he was entering in(to) the synagogue (where) he taught. 22 And they were amazed at/upon his teaching; for he was teaching them as one having authority and not as the scribes (did). 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit and he was shouting out 24 saying; "What (are you) to us and to you (yourself), Jesus the Nazarene? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the holy one of God." 25 And Jesus commanded/scolded/rebuked him saying, "Be silent and come out of him." 26 And (the demonic spirit) was convulsing/wrenching him and screamed/shrieked in a loud voice and went out from him. 27 And they were amazed/shocked so as to question among themselves saying, "What is this? (What) new teaching according to authority; and the unclean spirits he commands/orders and they obey him." 28 And went the report of him immediately everywhere into the surrounding region of Galilee.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) As tempting as it is for us to want to emphasize the peoples' amazement, etc., as principally significant, or at least, as primarily preachable, in this Gospel Lesson, Jesus' revelation of God's authority seems to be the main theme in this passage. We might go one more step and find in such movies as "Patch Adams", "Ghost", "Dead Poets' Society" and/or "Chariots of Fire" how Good (Authority) wins over Evil. In "Ghost", the evil spirits and the closing scene and its monologue tell that story quite well.

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