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Friday, February 3, 2012

Beyond Amazing

This Sunday at Bethany Place I will be preaching a message I've called, Beyond Amazing. It is the 3rd in the series, The Story I Thought I Knew. Jesus is beyond amazing, but that's not the point of this message. Mark 1:22 talks about people being amazed, actually astonished, at Jesus teaching, but that did not necessarily lead them to faith in him. What were they missing? I will explore that on Sunday.  The outline and discussion questions are below.

Beyond Amazing
The Story I Thought I Knew Part 3, Mark 1:21-39

1.    Be amazed at Jesus’ authority
Mark 1:21–28 (ESV) 21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

2.    Be amazed at Jesus’ attraction
Mark 1:29–34 (ESV) 29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

3.    Be amazed at Jesus’ focus
Mark 1:35–39 (ESV) 35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”
38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Discussion questions for groups, families and individuals

Why do you think that evil spirits and demons spoken of in the New Testament always knew who Jesus was? What do you think provoked them to voluntarily identify themselves in Jesus’ presence? Why do you think that Jesus’ refused to allow them to speak? What do evil spirits see and know that we don’t? Reflect on Psalm 111:10. The unclean spirit feared God but obviously was not a follower of Jesus. Is it possible then to fear God and not be rightly related to him? If so, how? What is the difference in the fear that the unclean spirit displayed and the fear spoken of in Psalm 111:10?

In what ways do you see that we are tempted to draw attention to ourselves and to the appeal of our churches rather than to draw attention to Jesus?

Why do you think Jesus did not stay to minister longer where there was so much obvious need? What is God’s purpose for your life? How is it possible to develop a single-minded focus on God’s purpose apart from the expectations of others?

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