Shalom and welcome to Ve’ahavta Israel, a Hebrew phrase which means you shall love Israel. We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch, shares his expository teaching from The Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at loveisrael.org. That’s one word, loveisrael.org. Now, here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.
Dr. Baruch: There are many things that we could say about the Messiah, his attributes, his work, his personality, but what we’re going to emphasize today in this study is the power of Messiah. And if you are wise, you’re going to want to have access to that power in order that God’s work in your life can be done.
Take out your Bible and look with me to the Book of Mark and chapter one. The Book of Mark and chapter one. We’re going to see once again how important a proper understanding of The Old Testament is in order to understand the truth and the revelation of the new covenant. We left off last week with Messiah choosing four of his 12 disciples and now we’re going to see his work becomes more clear to us, what he wants to accomplish, what he wants to teach, what he wants to bring about in each of ours lives.
So let’s begin Mark chapter one and verse 21. Now, this is the first place in the Scripture that we see the town of his ministry center being mentioned. Look, if you would to verse 21, “And they entered into what’s written Kfar Nahum,” you perhaps know it better as Capernaum, but I want to emphasize the biblical name of this town. First of all, two Hebrew words. The Greek simply transliterates it because they want to keep the same pronunciation because of the importance of this place. Kfar is a small village and the word Nahum is related to what? The word Nahum is related to comfort. And this word comfort goes very closely with the person and the work of Messiah.
Now, why did they come to this location? Well, we mentioned previously, concerning the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter eight, the very last verse in the Hebrew Bible, the first verse in chapter nine in the English Bible, we see that there’s a prophecy concerning the revelation of Messiah. And that revelation was going to take place in the Galilee, but more specifically, along the sea of Galilee, between two allotments of land. The one is the inheritance of Naphtali and the other is the inheritance of Zebulun. And at that exact location, we know something. We know that people built a city.
Now they built that city in that location at that time because they knew, according to Daniel’s prophecy, that the time of Messiah was approaching. So they built that city in that location and they gave it the name Kfar Nahum. Why? In order to emphasize something. You see, the word Nahum, as I shared with you, is related to Messiah. It’s the word comfort.
Now, usually you see in the synagogue, and this is true both in the gospels and also in the Book of Acts, how they would go into the synagogue and there would be a reading from the Torah and the prophets. And on most Sabbaths, there’s a relationship between those two readings. They are connected in a way. In fact, the one who reads from the prophets usually is the one who is to teach and reveal that relationship, and we know that it was Messiah’s tradition. He was the one who was usually selected to do that.
Well, in the Jewish year, there is seven weeks that are unique. During those seven weeks, we do not read a prophetic reading that’s tied to the Torah portion for that Sabbath, but we read seven passages during those seven weeks that all relate to comfort. In fact, we called them the seven passages of comfort. And it’s between Tisha B’Av, which is a day which commemorates the destruction of the first and second temple. It literally means the ninth day of the month of Av. And it relates to the fact that God, the father of who that is, he destructed, destroyed the temple, the first and the second because of the thoughts and the actions of the people. But we think about after that day, the fact that in seven weeks, Rosh Hashanah, the day of trumpets, and that day we think about God’s provision. And what are we hoping for him to provide? Comfort. Comfort, which is displayed ultimately in the person and the work of Messiah.
So look again at verse 21. “They entered into Kfar Nahum,” that is Capernaum, “and immediately for the Sabbath.” Now, if your Bible says, “and on the Sabbath,” it’s incorrect. It literally says for the Sabbath. And it shows that Messiah and his disciples, they understood the importance of the Sabbath, that it’s a gift from God, and they applied the Sabbath truth to their lives. Once again, verse 21, “And they entered into Capernaum and immediately, for the Sabbath, they entered into the synagogue and he taught.”
Now when you hear Sabbath, what comes into your mind? For many people, we think of it as simply a day of worship, and that would be totally wrong. Because in Judaism, every day is a day of worship. There are services in the synagogue each day. In fact, three times a day there are the gathering of people for prayer. So the word which associates most closely to Shabbat or the Sabbath day is the Hebrew word menuchah, which means rest. Now hear again, that word rest does not mean simply sleeping and lying around for that day, but the word menuchah has to do with a restoration or a repositioning.
For example, I’ll share with you a little personal anecdote from my life, I had a car, and the car was always breaking apart and I knew it was breaking apart because it would have this rattle to it. And that rattle will tell us that something’s not in place. And when they’re placed back in the correct location, what happens? Quiet. Menuchah. And that’s what the purpose of the Sabbath is, to reposition us, to restore us back to a proper understanding of the person and the work of our Lord and savior so that we can do his work because the Scripture says we are the body of Messiah.
So they entered into the synagogue and he taught. Verse 22, now teaching went on every Shabbat, but this Shabbat was different. They had come into Kfar Nahum, presumably the first time, Messiah was brought there by Andrew and Simon, who lived there. They came to that synagogue, he taught, and verse 22 tells us, “And they were astonishED or amazed,” and the next word is the Greek word epi, which means upon. You mean the basis for the, being amazed was what follows, his teaching. As I said, they heard teaching every Shabbat, but not this type of teaching for we read he was teaching them as one who had authority.
Now, that biblical word exousia in Greek is a word which means authority, but also power. And what it relates to us is this, that he was inherently connected to that word. He was the giver of that word and he had the power to carry it out or fulfill it. Now, they heard teachings, but they did not hear it with authority for he did not teach as, look at the end of verse 22, as the scribes.
Now the scribes, most people think, well, these are the individuals that copied the sacred texts. Scribes do that, but that’s not what this term scribe refers to. The scribes in the new covenant are those individuals that gave the laws for copying the Scripture. They would mandate that certain words would be written larger or smaller, letters would be written a certain way, that there would be spaces between words or letters, some letters would have what we would call almost like calligraphy today. And all these nuances, all these changes reminded the person who was reading that there was an interpretation who went with it.
So the point here is that these scribes simply interpreted the Scripture. They told the people what they thought. That’s not what Messiah did. He taught with power. He revealed the truth as one who had experienced truth because he was the giver of truth.
Verse 23, “And immediately in the synagogue was a man that had an unclean spirit,” and notice the relationship, immediately after hearing the teaching of Messiah, what happened? He cried out. Now the spirit really was crying out through him and the spirit said this unclean spirit, in other words, a demon was saying literally what to us into you, meaning it’s a Greek idiom. What do we have to do with you?
Now, there’s several different interpretations of this, this idiom, but the point I want to make is this, they understood it, and we’ll see this in a moment. The demons knew who he was, but they were surprised that he was there so soon because they associated Meshiah, that is the Messiah, was simply the establishment of the kingdom at the end of the age. And they knew the end of the age was not at hand. But we need to understand, and this is also important, it will become very important as we press on in the book of Mark, the people also didn’t understand why Messiah had come. Now they were looking for Messiah, but they wanted that warrior, that King, that ruler who would defeat their enemies. And when they thought of their enemies, they thought about their physical enemies rather than the spiritual forces that oppress human beings, that bring about things that are in conflict with the character of God.
You see, Messiah came to do that first work before establishing the kingdom. He came to do the work of redemption. And don’t miss this, there is an inherent relationship between redemption and power. Look again at this verse, verse 24, the demon spoke, “What do do you have to do with us?” And notice how they address Messiah, Yeshua [inaudible 00:13:34]. Now in English, Jesus the Nazarene. And the problem is that many people hear that and they misunderstand the implication of that word, Nazarene. They associate with that ritual, a biblical ritual in the Book of Numbers, which speaks about a Nazarite vow. That is not correct. The literal word here relates to the fact that he was from the town of Nazareth. And that word that’s used here is a Hebrew word that means one who guards himself, who says no to those things outside of God’s word. It was a reference to him being the obedient one, and that’s important distinction.
Now because of people failure to understand the biblical language, you have people thinking that he’s a Nazareen and that’s why so many times you see pictures of Messiah with long hair. He did not have long hair. He was not a Nazarene in the likeness of Sampson in the Old Testament. He was from the town of Nazareth and Nazareth expresses that name, expresses obedience to the things of God.
Now notice what else they say. They ask him, “Have you come to destroy us?” They understand that ultimately they’re going to be steroid by him. Finally, the demon says, “I know who you are, the Holy one of God.” Now that’s an important title, the Holy one of God. The reason it’s important because it clarifies for us what Messiah is interested in and doing it in your life, and that is producing holiness. Now, I want to emphasize that because so often people think about Messiah or God as a daddy that simply takes care of them. “I had this need, I had this problem, I had this want, I had this goal and if I pray real hard, if I behave like a good child, then I’ll get what I want.” That’s not holding us. That’s idolatry. That’s rooted in sin and the desires of the flesh. What Messiah is coming to do is to make us holy, to make us like our heavenly father.
Now also understand something else, if we really focus on holy, become like him, it’s going to bring power into our life and a great transformation. Recently, I was talking to an individual, and he was appointed by an organization to serve in a very important capacity, and one of the things he had to do was take a psychological evaluation. And at the end of this evaluation, one of the things that they required was to read three or four books, and these three or four books said to him why he had these problems and why he has become the type of person he has become and what he needs to do to change all this and whatnot. Well, what I would say is this, if we focus on walking in a holy manner, if we trust in the power of the Holy one, of God, all these shortcomings, all these things that may have happened to us when we were a child or adolescent, instead of focusing on them and trying to fix them ourselves, let’s focus on the will of God, the power of God, the holiness of God and trusts that he’ll minister to us and create of us… What are we? It says in the Scripture that we are the workmanship of God. So he’ll create in us what he wants us to be.
Verse 25, now Messiah said enough to that demon. Verse 25, “And Yeshua rebuked him, saying, ‘be silent and come out of him.’ And that demon, that unclean spirit, shook this man and in a loud voice,” we read, “he came out from him.” And the people, verse 27, it says here that they were amazed to the extent that they spoke to one another saying, “What is this? This new doctrine and authority that even the spirits, the unclean spirits, he commands and obeys.” Now that’s what’s powerful.
Now they knew that there was unclean spirits, they just simply ignored them, and that’s what so often we do. There’s things in my life, there’s things in your life that’s not pleasing to God, that’s not in line with his purposes, his will, his character. And we just ignore them. Messiah does not. He comes in and his doctrine manifests those things which are in conflict with his will. And his purpose is to send them away. And that’s what he did in this passage.
Well, because of this, look at verse 28, “There went out a report about him immediately into the regions and all the places in the regions of [inaudible 00:19:18] Galilee.” Now, why is that important? Well, once again, Mark emphasizes and emphasizes and emphasizes the Galilee because he knows that biblically speaking, this is where Messiah begins to manifest himself.
Verse 29. “Immediately,” that is the Shabbat service has now concluded, “and immediately from the synagogue, they enter,” where? It says, “They exit and they enter into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John,” but there’s a problem. Verse 30, “But the mother-in-law of Simon had been laid down,” That’s literally what it says, “has been laid down because of a fever.” Now, what we need to understand is that Messiah, what he wants to do is bring a godly order into our life. And that involves holiness. Holiness. We’ve already talked about the inherent relationship between holiness and sanctification. And sanctification always is seen with something being set apart for a specific purpose. Now, he healed a man who had an unclean spirit, but we need to see that his ability to restore, to bring about holiness, to bring about the purposes of God in someone’s life is not limited just to unclean spirits, but also to, as we see here, even a sickness, a fever.
Look again, verse 30, “And the mother of Simon had been laid down by a fever. And immediately they spoke to him concerning her,” verse 31, “and he came.” He responded. He saw a need and he responded to that. “He lifted her up,” and what happens? “He grabs her hand and the fever left her at once.” Now what I want you to see is this, the things that are not Holy, that is sin. Those things want to keep you down. Messiah, he wants to take hold of you and lift you up. And let me share with you the only way to be lifted up is by him. If we’re talking about meeting God’s expectations, walking in his purposes and his plans.
Now I want to conclude this section in regard to Peter’s mother-in-law by revealing an important truth concerning the last part of verse 31. And I know that I’m going to be accused of being a chauvinist, but let me share with you this, biblically speaking, God has a different role for a man than he does for a woman. A woman was created to be a help mate, we see a submissive role to the man, and this is being emphasized in this passage. God’s order, God’s purpose, God’s holiness. So immediately when she’s healed, what does she do? Look at the end of verse 31, “And she waits upon them.” Literally, she ministers unto them. And ladies, that’s exactly what you’re called to do first and foremost, to minister to your husband. Does that mean you do everything that he says? No. It means that you obey God and you want to bless your husband. And in serving that call, God will do wonderful things in your life, in your husband life, for your marriage and for your family.
Verse 32. Now, one of the things that we need to always emphasize is that the word of God comes to us with a culture. And sadly for many of us, that culture is foreign.
But we need to see in this passage of scripture, beginning in verse 21 and now again in verse 32, there’s an emphasis on the Sabbath day. Look at verse 32, “But in [inaudible 00:23:41]” … Now, that word but is important where another conjunction basically unifies and remarks in a continuity of what was said and now what’s happening, this word, they in Greek, does just the opposite. So we’ve been talking about things that took place on the Sabbath day, now we’re talking about things after the Sabbath. And the New Testament wants to emphasize that the Sabbath has concluded. Verse 32, “And after the Sabbath, when the sun had set,” so twice, Mark is very concerned with saying the Sabbath is over. The restrictions of the Sabbath not to work have been lifted, and what happens? They bring to him all those having a illness and those who were possessed by demons. And what was the outcome? Verse 33, “And was there the whole city for it had gathered to the door,” meaning the door of his home.
So they had heard the city and what happens? Well, understand something Kfar Nahum is a very small fishing village. You can go there today and see the foundations of the very synagogue that Messiah taught him. You can see how it has been remodeled. And when I say remodel, and I’m still talking about 1600 years ago during the Byzantine period, but you can see the same place. You can see the ruins of that village. And what’s important to note is this, a small town, but what? They had numerous people who were possessed by demons, and they knew it. They brought those people to Messiah. They had tremendous amount of disease proportionally speaking. So they brought them to Messiah and, what did he do? Verse 34, “And he healed many of those having a disease of a variety of sicknesses. And demons, many he cast out,” meaning a large number of sick and demon possessed people he healed. And here’s what I want to close with today, notice the response, “And the demons, he says, he did not allow them to speak,” why? Because they knew him. That is, they knew he was Messiah.
Now, two points before we close. One is he knew that people had a wrong understanding of the work of Messiah, and he wanted to share with them and teach them the two roles of Messiah before it was announced that he was Messiah. It says, the demons, they knew him. And the reason why we’re studying in the Greek language here is because we learned an important truth, that word know, as the demons knowing him, is in the plu perfect. Why is that important? Because the plu perfect expresses a remoteness. They knew him, but remotely. They simply knew he was the Messiah, but they really didn’t understand what that meant to the world, what that meant to an individual, and the question is, do you?
The purpose of this study going through verse by verse, word by word, the gospel of Mark is so that we can know him in the way that each of us need to know him, not in a remote manner, but through intimacy, knowing the person and the work of Messiah intimately in your life, in my life. And when we do, what will we experience? We’ll experience his authority, his power in our life to lift us up from those things that want to keep us down. Well, our time is finished. Until next week, let’s press on in the gospel of Mark.
Speaker 1: Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, loveisrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form, you may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you and our Messiah, Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom from Israel.