From Wonder to Wrath: Can You Handle the Word & Works of Christ In Your Midst?

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-nine verses of the sixth chapter. “And He went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching” (Mark 6:1-6).

            “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; and commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed” (Mark 6:7-13).

            “And king Herod heard of him; *For his name was spread abroad) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb” (Mark 6:14-29).

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter two distinct portions of the text which are absolutely and utterly fascinating when you truly take the time to think about and consider them. I have to admit that when I read the words found in this section of the text I was absolutely and completely captivated with the language that is found at the very heart of it. If you take the time to read the words found here in this text you will begin reading in the first six verses of Jesus returning unto His hometown of Nazareth being accompanied by His disciples. John Mark records and recounts how it would be when the sabbath day came that Jesus would enter into the synagogue and would begin teaching as He had done in Capernaum and the other towns and villages which were present within and throughout Galilee. Perhaps one of the most interesting truths that is found within this passage of Scripture is Jesus’ continued journeys to the synagogues—and not only His continued journeys to the synagogues, but also His journey to the synagogues on the Sabbath day. As you read the words which are found within the gospel narrative written by John Mark you will find and encounter different times when Jesus would Himself enter into the synagogue and begin teaching the people. What’s more, is that it is not only necessary to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would indeed enter into the synagogues on the sabbath day, and not only that Jesus would teach the people on the Sabbath day, but also that which would take place on the sabbath day. You cannot read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and not think about and consider the words and language contained in the opening chapters of this book and Jesus’ movement to and from the synagogues, as well as Jesus’ actions in the midst of the synagogues. As early as the first and opening chapter of this New Testament book we find Jesus in the synagogue on the sabbath—and not only in the synagogue on the sabbath, but also casting and driving out an unclean spirit who had possessed, tormented and oppressed one who was present in the midst of it. Consider if you will the following words which are found within the first and opening chapter of this particular gospel:

            “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee” (Mark 1:21-28).

            Now it is necessary that we read and pay close and careful attention to the words found in this portion of Scripture, for the words which we encounter here bring us face to face with Jesus’ continued journeys into and unto the synagogues within Galilee. What’s more, is that not only do we find Jesus journeying unto and entering into the synagogues on the sabbath day, and not only do we find Jesus teaching the crowds that might be present in the midst of the synagogue, but there were also certain and specific times when Jesus would rise up in the midst of the synagogue and address a very specific need that was present within it. John Mark initially writes and records how when those who were in the synagogue heard the words which Jesus spoke they were astonished at His doctrine, for He had taught was teaching them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredibly important truth and reality, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and tremendous atmosphere that was present in the midst of the synagogue—namely, awe, amazement, wonder, and truly and genuinely being captivated with and by the person, the presence, and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this, for I am convinced there is an incredibly powerful truth that is found within this particular passage—and not only this passage, but also one we will see in just a couple chapters within this same gospel.

            As you continue reading within this particular chapter you will find that Jesus went and entered into Capernaum which was a town in the land and region of Galilee. John Mark writes and records how immediately and straightway on the sabbath He entered into the synagogue and taught the people. What I find to be truly interesting and unique when I read the words within this passage is that immediately after John Mark writes and records how Jesus entered into the synagogue on the sabbath and taught he would go on to write concerning the response and reaction of the people which were present there. This would indeed be the first mention of Jesus journeying unto the synagogues and doing so on the sabbath in the gospel narrative written by John Mark, and we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it brings us into something that is not only absolutely critical and necessary to understand concerning the gospels, but also concerning our entrance into the houses of worship we gather together with others week in and week out. Upon reading the words which are found within this portion of Scripture you will find John Mark writing and recording how when those who were present in the midst of the synagogue heard the words which Jesus had taught them they were astonished—and I would even dare argue they were amazed, and perhaps even shocked and surprised at His doctrine. What’s more, is that the reason they were astonished and amazed at His doctrine was because He had taught them as one who had authority and not as their scribes. Those which were present in the synagogue had encountered a new and fresh voice which would teach them—one that would speak unto them with great authority and power, and it would be remarkably and entirely different from that which they had heard from their scribes and teachers of the Law. Here was Jesus entering into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and when the people heard the words He taught and spoke unto them they were entirely and altogether astonished and amazed at His doctrine, for it came with authority and with power.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs pay close and careful attention to response and reaction of those which were present within the synagogue, for there is something to be said about astonishment and amazement in the house of God. There is something to be said about those who are entirely and altogether captivated with and by the person, the presence and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ among them in their midst. What we must needs recognize and understand is that as we read the words in this passage we do not initially read of John Mark describing how Jesus cast out the unclean spirit which possessed, tormented and oppressed the man who was present among them, and then they were astonished and amazed. If there is one thing I find to be truly captivating and challenging when reading the words found in this passage is how John Mark writes and records Jesus entered into the synagogue there in Capernaum and how when the people heard the words which He taught and spoke unto them they were astonished at His doctrine. Not only this, but John Mark suggests that they were not only astonished with and by His doctrine, but they were also astonished with and by His authority. ASTONISHMENT AT AUTHORITY! ASTONISHED BY AUTHORITY! Oh it is truly something worth noting and pointing out when reading these words that what we find here in the synagogue in Capernaum is the people present in the midst of it on this day being astonished by the authority found in the person and presence of Jesus—and not even the authority which He exercised over the unclean spirit, for He hadn’t yet driven and cast out this unclean spirit.

            Oh I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words found here in this text and I can’t help but consider this two-fold astonishment which was present in the midst of the synagogue, for John Mark initially writes and recounts how those present within the synagogue were astonished at the authority which was found in the doctrine of Jesus. Those which were present here on this particular day would hear the words Jesus would teach and speak unto them, and they would first and initially be astonished at His doctrine, which came unto and among them with authority. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this, for initially those which were present here in this particular synagogue would be astonished with and by the authority Jesus presented with and by His words, while they would later be astonished by the authority He had over unclean spirits. What I find to be truly astonishing and amazing about the words found and contained within this text is how those present in the synagogue would indeed and would in fact be astonished first by the doctrine and teaching of Jesus before they would later and secondarily be astonished with and by the authority which He would exercise over the unclean spirit which was present within the life of one who was among them. This actually leads me to an incredibly important and powerful question concerning our own hearts—and not only our own hearts, but our hearts and mindset when and as we enter into the house of God in which we gather together with others to worship. The underlying question I am finding myself is whether or not we have the capacity within our hearts to be astonished with and by the words which Jesus has spoken, and with the words Jesus still continues to speak to us within our generation and times in which we are living. Do we have the capacity and do we have the ability within our hearts to be stirred within the depths of our hearts—not because of that which Jesus has done, nor even that which Jesus can do among us in our midst, but rather because of the words which Jesus has spoken and continues to speak.

            In the first chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews the author writes how God at sundry times and in divers manners spoke unto the fathers by and through the prophets, but how in these Last Days He has spoken unto us by and through the person of His Son. The first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John brings us face to face with the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. What’s more, is that the apostle John also writes and records how the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Oh it is important and incredibly crucial that we recognize and understand these three portions of scripture, for they bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that when Jesus entered into the world He did so as the divine and living Word which not only was in the beginning with God and in the beginning was God, but was also the Word which became flesh. We must needs acknowledge that when the Lord Jesus Christ came into and unto the earth He came as the voice of the Father which would speak directly unto His and into our very hearts and spirits. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering, for it brings us face to face with the truth that when those in the synagogue heard the words and teaching which Jesus taught and spoke unto them they were astonished at His doctrine. Not only this, but they were astonished at His doctrine because He taught them as one who had authority and not as their scribes, nor perhaps even as their teachers of the Law had done. Oh they had been so used to the teaching of the scribes and the teachers of the Law, and now here comes Jesus of Nazareth entering into their synagogue and He teaches them as one who has authority and not as their scribes and teachers of the Law. Oh what a stark and sharp contrast exists between the scribes and teachers of the law who might very well have taught the people within the synagogues, however, there was no authority found within their teaching nor their words.

            I cannot help but think about the absolutely incredible truth surrounding those in the synagogue of Capernaum and how they were astonished at the doctrine of Jesus. This is something worth noting and pointing out for they were first astonished by and with the words He spoke and His teaching and doctrine before they were and would ever be astonished with and by the works which He would perform among them in their midst. The narrative and account clearly and succinctly describes how those which were present in the synagogue were astonished with and by the teaching and words of Jesus, for He had taught them as one who had authority and one who had power. What we must needs note and recognize is that this was before Jesus would even cast and drive out the unclean spirit which was present in the man who was among them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely astonishing and remarkable this truly is, for there is something to be said about those who are and those who can be astonished with the person of Jesus simply by and because of the words He speaks rather than the works which He can most certainly work among us. There is something to be said about those who can be entirely and altogether captivated with and by the words Jesus has spoken and continues to speak before—perhaps even above and beyond the works which He is able to work and perform among us. There is something to be said about those who have the capacity to be stirred within their hearts and their spirits simply by and because of the words which Jesus teaches and speaks unto and among us. In fact, I would dare say that it was their astonishment, it was their amazement, it was their wonder on this particular day that created and help facilitate an atmosphere and environment in which Jesus would and could do more than simply teach them with authority, but also work among them as one who had authority. I would dare say that it was their response to Jesus’ teaching and words which was present among them with authority and power that helped create the atmosphere and environment in which Jesus would and could deliver and set this man free from the unclean spirit which had possessed, tormented and oppressed him.

            It is important that we recognize and understand just how incredibly important this truly is, for the question we must needs ask ourselves when we think about and consider our own narrative and the account of our houses of worship in which we worship. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you were truly captivated with and by the teaching and the words of the Lord Jesus Christ? When was the last time you were astonished and amazed when you read the words which were found in the Scripture? When was the last time you were astonished and amazed when you read the words in red which are found within the New Testament gospel narratives and were truly brought face to face with the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ? It is absolutely necessary for us to answer and respond to this question, for it calls and draws our attention into the awesome and powerful truth of whether or not we have the ability to be stirred within our hearts and our spirits—and not only be stirred, but also be stirred with and by the words and teaching of the person of Jesus Christ. Oh there is something to be said about those who are able to read the words which Jesus spoke and to be entirely and altogether captivated with and by those words. There is something about those whose hearts are so tender in the sight and presence of the living God that they are able to be astonished and amazed with and by the words which Jesus speaks without at all needing Jesus to perform a single work before and among them. I absolutely love reading the words which are found within his passage of Scripture, for the words which are found here bring us face to face with the incredibly powerful and necessary truth surrounding our ability to be astonished and amazed with and by the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh I would dare ask you when was the last time you were astonished and amazed simply by the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When was the last time you simply stood back and considered the beauty surrounding and found within the person of Jesus Christ and were absolutely captivated, astonished and amazed within the depths of your heart and spirit?

            I would dare say that this is something we must needs realize and understand for there are those present among us who need Jesus to work some great work among them, and those who need some type of sign among them before they are able to be astonished and amazed with and by the person of Jesus the Christ. What we find here in this passage of Scripture is an incredibly strong and powerful picture of the people present here in the synagogue of Capernaum being astonished and amazed at the teaching of Jesus, for He taught them as one who had authority and not as their scribes and Pharisees. Oh please do not miss and lose sight of how incredibly important and necessary this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful and powerful truth of whether or not we can be stirred simply entering into the house of the LORD and engage ourselves in worship in the midst of the brethren. Do you have the capacity within yourself—within your heart and within your spirit—to enter into the house of God and even before the worship begins, and even before the singing starts you are already found in the place where your heart is captivated with and by the person of Jesus Christ? In all reality, I would dare say that this is something that is sorely lacking and seriously missing within many of the houses of worship which are present among us within our nation during the generation in which we are living. I would dare argue and would dare contend that there are those among us within our houses of worship who either no longer have, or perhaps never had the capacity to be stirred within the depths of their heart and spirit. I would dare argue and contend that there are those among us who although they might very well enter into our houses of worship and worship and gather together with other believers and brethren are entirely and altogether unable to be stirred within the depths of their heart and spirit. Such individuals do not have the ability to be stirred within their hearts and be brought into the place of awe, amazement and astonishment.

            I continue to read the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the wonderful and powerful truth that those who were present in this synagogue in Capernaum heard the words which Jesus taught them, and they were astonished with and by His doctrine. The reason for this astonishment and amazement at the doctrine of Jesus was not in the words which He spoke themselves, but rather in what was behind those words. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand when reading these words it’s that the people which were present on this day were not astonished and amazed simply by the words Jesus taught them, but the spirit, the authority and the power that was behind those words. These people which were present in the synagogue realized and recognized the authority that was behind and surrounded the words in which Jesus would teach and speak unto them. They recognized and understood that they were hearing and listening to something entirely and altogether different from what they were used to hearing from their scribes and teachers of the Law. This is something we must needs realize and understand, for it calls and draws our attention to whether or not we have the necessary discernment to recognize and understand when we are hearing and listening to something entirely and altogether different from what we might have been used to hearing and listening to. Oh it’s true we might have many preachers among us in our culture and society, and it’s true we might have many teachers, apostles, evangelists, and the like among us, but how many of those who teach and preach among us do so with the authority and inspiration of the Holy Spirit behind those words? Those which were present in the synagogue at Capernaum were so used to hearing and listening to the words which their scribes and teachers of the Law taught them that they were able to discern and hear a distinction between the words which Jesus would teach and speak unto them.

            DISCERNING A VOICE OF AUTHORITY AMONG YOU! DISCERNING THE VOICE OF AUTHORITY PRESENT AMONG YOU! It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words contained within this passage of Scripture, for it calls and invites us into the place where we acknowledge whether or not we are able to discern when there is one among us who teaches with authority. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that what I am not speaking about is preachers who possess charisma and personality and how that is more often than not considered as having authority and having the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Within our western culture and society anyone can be perceived as being one who has authority and the anointing if they have the right charisma, the right personality, the right energy, and even use the right vocal range and volume. I would dare say that when those which were present here at the synagogue in Capernaum heard the words which the Lord Jesus Christ spoke unto them they heard a voice that preached and taught them with authority and with power. Here before them was a man who was entirely and altogether different from the scribes and the teachers of the law—the preachers and teachers of their day—and they were astonished and amazed at the doctrine of this man who would teach unto and among them. What’s more, is that I am absolutely and completely convinced that it was this astonishment and amazement that created and fostered an atmosphere and environment present among them in which Jesus would be able to exercise and move in the authority. Oh it is true that Jesus might very well have taught with authority in the sight and presence of the people which were present here in the synagogue, however, their astonishment, their amazement, their awe, their wonder, and their being captivated by Him and the words He spoke would actually foster and create an environment in which Jesus could do more than simply teach as one who had authority, but could actually be one who would move and minister in authority.

            TEACHING WITH AUTHORITY! MINISTERING WITH AUTHORITY! In all reality, that which we find here within this passage of Scripture are two different manifestations of the authority that was found within the person of Jesus. On the one hand there was the manifestation of authority found in the person of Jesus Christ in the words which He taught and spoke before and in the sight of the people. On the other hand there was the manifestation of authority which would be demonstrated by and through His casting out the unclean spirit which was present in the midst of this man who was present among them. The authority of Jesus would first be manifested with and by the words which He spoke and taught them before it would continue and go on to be manifested with and by His works which would be present and manifested among them. Jesus would first teach the people in the synagogue of Capernaum as one who had authority, and it would be their response to that teaching and those words that would actually create the atmosphere and facilitate the environment whereby the Lord Jesus would be able to actually move and operate in a greater degree and measure of authority. Their astonishment and amazement at the doctrine of Jesus would be the catalyst that would help bring about the atmosphere, the environment and freedom found within the person of Jesus Christ as He would then speak to and address the man who was possessed, tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit. Oh it’s truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture, for we initially find Jesus entering into the synagogue at Capernaum on the sabbath and teaching the people which were present among them. Upon hearing and listening to the words Jesus would teach and speak unto them those present on this day would be astonished and amazed at that teaching, for He would teach them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes and teachers of the Law.

            This is something worth thinking about and considering when we truly take the time to consider the words found in this passage of Scripture, for what we find in this text is a powerful description of what is so desperately needed in many of our houses of worship within and throughout this country and nation. Oh this nation might very well have countless houses of worship present within it and across this great land, however, one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is how many of us within this nation are actually able to be astonished and amazed with the person of Jesus. In all reality, I would dare say there are essentially three different elements and three different components that are found within this realm of being astonished and amazed with and by the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the first realm and the first arena where we find and allow ourselves to be astonished and amazed is simply with and by the person of Jesus Himself. Before we even delve into the words and teaching which proceed forth from Jesus one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we can and whether or not we will be astonished and amazed with and by Jesus Himself. I am absolutely and completely convinced that our astonishment and our amazement with the person of Jesus Christ does indeed and does in fact begin with Him before it ever transitions to the point and place where we are amazed and astonished with and by His words. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a great and powerful need within our hearts and lives to be those who are absolutely captivated, those who are absolutely astonished, and those who are absolutely amazed and in awe of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh there is a great and present need among us to be those who are able to simply stand back and behold the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ and allow ourselves to be captivated, astonished and amazed by Him. One of the greatest needs we have is to look upon and treat the person of Jesus Christ the same way the Shulamite woman looked upon her beloved in the Old Testament Song of Solomon, for she looked upon Him with great awe, great desire, great passion, great affection, and great amazement and wonder at him.

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for there is a truly great and powerful need within our hearts and our spirits to be absolutely captivated with and by the person of Jesus Christ—being captivated and raptured within and by His very nature, His character and His image. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you truly took a step back to admire the beauty that surrounds and is found within the person of the Lord Jesus Christ? When was the last time you truly took a step back and allowed yourself to be absolutely and completely amazed, astonished and in awe of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ? I am convinced and firmly believe that our astonishment and our amazement with His words and with His works must first begin with an astonishment and an amazement with Him, and with His person. Until and unless we are first willing to approach this awe and astonishment surrounding the person of Jesus the Christ we cannot truly understand—much less appreciate the works and words of Christ. What’s more, is that I would dare say that we do ourselves a great disservice and injustice when we seek to be astonished and amazed with and by the works of Jesus and yet have absolutely no room, nor any space or capacity to be astonished and amazed with His words, and even more so His person. There is a tremendous and tragic disconnect within our hearts and our spirits when we can be amazed with and by the works of Christ and yet we have absolutely no room, nor any space to be amazed and astonished with and by His words—and even more so with His person. I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a great need within our hearts and our spirits to be those who are truly willing and able to first be captivated, astonished and amazed with the actual person of Jesus Christ, for everything truly does hinge upon this singular reality.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth that there is a great need within our hearts and spirits to be those who are truly captivated with and by the person of Jesus. It is and it would be incredibly easy to be captivated with and by the works which Jesus works among us, and truthfully there were those who were present during the days and times of Jesus who focused solely on the works He worked before and among them. There were those present during the days and times of the Lord Jesus Christ who focused solely on the works which He would work among them in their midst, and in all reality could not get past the works themselves. There were those who were present during the days and times of the Lord Jesus Christ who might very well have been astonished and amazed with the works of Jesus Christ, and might very well have been disciples and followers of His were it not for the words that accompanied those works. There is not a doubt in my mind that if and when we speak about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ we must recognize that we dare not, we ought not and must not separate His works from His words, nor His words from His works. What’s more, is that we must needs realize and understand that while His works might very well be indeed the means whereby He meets and fulfills a certain need within our lives—it is His words that actually bring true transformation within our hearts and our spirits. Oh the works of Jesus which He accomplishes might very well bring healing, wholeness, cleansing, deliverance and restoration on the external surface of our lives, and they might very well touch our physical bodies, however, it is the words He spoke that brings true and lasting transformation within our hearts and our spirits. The works which Jesus wrought during the days and times in which He walked upon the earth were indeed means whereby Jesus would touch the physical bodies of those who came unto Him or were brought unto Him, and yet it was His words which were actually that which produced transformation from the inside out.

            THE WORKS OF JESUS CHRIST BRINGS ABOUT CHANGE FROM THE OUTSIDE IN, WHILE THE WORDS OF CHRIST BRINGS ABOUT CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT! We must needs realize and understand how incredibly important this is, for in the fifth and sixth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we not only find Jesus speaking about the witness of His works, but we also find Simon called Peter speaking before and unto Jesus concerning His having the words of eternal life. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous harmony and unity of the works and words of Jesus Christ, and how both were used by the person of Jesus to accomplish that which He was sent to do within the hearts and lives of those He encountered. It is absolutely imperative that we understand and recognize this truly wonderful and powerful reality, for when we think and speak about this astonishment and amazement we must needs realize and understand that at the synagogue there in Capernaum—not only was there astonishment and amazement at the doctrine which Jesus taught as it came forth with authority, but there was also a secondary astonishment and amazement at the authority of His works. There was the initial astonishment surrounding the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ which centered upon the words which He spoke, but this astonishment was indeed and was in fact followed up by a secondary amazement with the works which He wrought among them—specifically in His casting and driving out the unclean spirit from within that one who was present among them in the synagogue. We must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth that within this astonishment, within this amazement surrounding the person of Jesus Christ, there is not only an astonishment at the doctrine of Jesus which is found within and surrounds His doctrine, but there is also an amazement at the works of Jesus, for His works have just as much authority as His doctrine.

            It is with all of this in mind I invite you to now consider the words which are found within the fifth and sixth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John concerning the words which Jesus possessed within Himself, as well as the works which He would work unto and among those who were present during those days. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this gospel narrative and this tremendous harmony and unity of the words and works of Jesus the Christ, and how both are demonstrations and manifestation of His authority:

            “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: AND HE SILL SHEW HIM GREATER WORKS THAN THESE, THAT YE MAY MARVEL. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I CAN OF MINE OWN SELF DO NOTHING: AS I HEAR, I JUDGE: AND MY JUDGMENT IS JUST; BECAUSE I SEEK NOT MINE OWN WILL, BUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER WHICH HATH SENT ME. IF I BEAR WITNESS OF MYSELF, MY WITNESS IS NOT TRUE. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I Have greater witness than that of John: FOR THE WORKS WHICH THE FATHER HATH GIVEN ME TO FINISH, THE SAME WORKS THAT I DO BEAR WITNESS OF ME, THAT THE FATHER HATH SENT ME. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words” (John 5:18-47).

            “…These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus k new in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? THEN SIMON PETER ANSWERED HIM, LORD TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE. AND WE BELIEVE AND ARE SURE THAT THOU ART THAT CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:60-71).

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in these two passages of Scripture, for the words found and contained therein not only bring us face to face with the works which Christ wrought among men, but also the words which He spoke unto and in the company of men. The text that is found in these passages of Scripture are entirely and altogether captivating when you think about and consider them, for within these passages we find the witness of the words which Christ spoke, as well as the works which Christ wrought. What’s more, is we also find the words which Christ spoke—words which Simon called Peter referred to as “the words of eternal life.” What’s more, is that within this passage of Scripture you will find and encounter the awesome and tremendous truth of the will of the Father. THE WILL, THE WITNESS, THE WORDS AND THE WORKS! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words found within this passage of Scripture, for they bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the words which Christ spoke, as well as the works which He wrought in the company and presence of men. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this—particularly when we think about and consider the presence of Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum—for there within the synagogue of Capernaum we find the people present being astonished with and by the words and doctrine Jesus spoke, as well as being amazed at the works which He wrought among them in their midst. John Mark would initially write and record how those which were present in the synagogue on this day would be astonished at the doctrine of Jesus, for the words which He spoke, and the words which He taught would be those words which would proceed with authority. What we must needs realize and understand is that the words which Jesus spoke weren’t even His own words, for Jesus clearly stated that the words He spoke were those words which He heard the Father speak. When we think about and consider the words Jesus we spoke we must recognize that not only did Jesus speak that which He heard the Father speak, but the words which Jesus spoke were anointed and inspired by the person of the Holy Spirit.

            I absolutely love what is written and recorded in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that there in Capernaum those who encountered Jesus were first astonished at His doctrine and the authority that was present within His words. What’s more, is that as you read the words found in this text you will find those in the synagogue at Capernaum witnessing and beholding Jesus’ authority over the unclean spirit that had tormented and oppressed this many who was present among them. As a direct result of this great work they were all amazed at the authority that was found within the works of Christ, for not only was Jesus one who would speak unto them as one that had authority, but Jesus would also work among them as one that had authority. How absolutely incredible and tremendous this is to think about how in this single occasion and occurrence we find Jesus—not only speaking with great authority, but also working with great authority. Jesus would indeed teach and speak with authority, with power, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as the words which He spoke were not only the words of eternal life, but they were also those words which He word directly from His Father who was in heaven. Not only this, but we also find Jesus working among them with great authority, as He would speak directly to the unclean spirit that was present within this man, and would not only command it to be silent, but would also command it to come out. Oh how incredibly powerful it is that not only did Jesus have the authority to command this unclean spirit to cease speaking, but He also had the authority to command this spirit to come out of this man. There in the synagogue in Capernaum—there in what would have been considered a house of worship during those days—not only do we find Jesus teaching with great authority, but we also find Jesus working with great authority as well. Jesus would teach with great authority there in the midst of the synagogue, and all those present would be astonished at His doctrine and the authority that surrounded it. What’s more, is that after they witnessed and beheld Jesus speak to and command this unclean spirit to come out of this man they would all be amazed at the authority that surrounded this great work which would be performed among them.

            The reason I choose to take the time to highlight and underscore what was present in the synagogue in Capernaum is when you consider the vast and fundamental difference between the synagogue in Capernaum and the synagogue in Nazareth. When you come to the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by John Mark you will find and encounter the awesome and powerful truth that there in the synagogue in Nazareth there was an entirely different reaction and response to Jesus’ teaching and the words He would speak unto and among them. We cannot miss the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and not find and discover a vast and fundamental difference between those who heard and listened to Jesus in the synagogue in Capernaum and those who heard and listened to His words in the synagogue of Nazareth. What’s more, is that if you read both of these passages you will find that there in the synagogue of Capernaum Jesus would not only teach with great authority, but would also move and work with great authority as He would cast and drive out an unclean spirit from the midst of that man which was present among them. What makes the synagogue of Nazareth so incredibly different is actually highlighted in the words which the gospel authors wrote concerning Jesus’ time in His own country and His own hometown, for Scripture reveals that Jesus could do no great miracle among them in their presence because of their unbelief. With this being said, however, I would also argue and contend that the issue found within Nazareth would extend beyond simply their unbelief, but also the hardness of their hearts—a hardness of hearts that would center around and be founded upon their offense with Jesus. As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that Jesus would enter into the synagogue there in Nazareth on the sabbath day and would teach them, however, rather than their being astonished and amazed with His doctrine they were offended by His person. What makes this all the more tragic is when you consider the narrative which the beloved Gentile physician Luke wrote in the fourth chapter of his gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ:

            “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the LORD. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these words were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4:18-32).

            FROM WONDER TO WRATH! If there is one thing that is quite astonishing and remarkable when considering the tremendous difference between those who were present in Capernaum and those which were present in Nazareth. I cannot help but think about and consider how those in Nazareth were initially filled with wonder at the words which Jesus spoke—even and especially after He read from the words written in the prophetic book of Isaiah and declared unto them that on this day the Scripture was fulfilled in their hearing. Luke writes and records how those in Nazareth heard the words which Jesus had read from the prophet Isaiah and had even provided a commentary on those words, and they were initially filled with wonder at the “gracious words” which proceeded out of their mouth. What makers it all the more challenging is when you think about and consider the fact that those who were present in Nazareth would quickly be filled with wonder at the words which Jesus spoke, and yet would entirely and altogether turn to wrath when Jesus continued speaking about how a prophet was not received within His own country. Jesus would go on to describe those mighty works which He would do in other towns and villages, and how those in Nazareth would hear of those works and would ask Him to do it among them. This is truly something worth considering, for within the same synagogue where those present would initially respond with wonder at the words Jesus they would turn to wrath at the words He would go on to speak. Initially they were filled with wonder when Jesus read from the prophetic book of Isaiah, and they were filled with wonder when Jesus declared unto them that on that day the words of Isaiah were fulfilled in their hearing, however, when and as Jesus began to continue to speak their wonder quickly transitioned to wrath as they would not only thrust Jesus out of their city, but would bring Him to the brow of the hill upon which their town was built that they might cast Him down headlong. How absolutely tremendous and tragic it is to see those people within the very town Jesus grew up in initially responding with wonder to the words Jesus spoke, and yet were quickly turned to and filled with wrath. With this being said I invite you to now turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark. Consider if you will the following words beginning with the first verse of this chapter:

            “And He went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? And with what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty work are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and JOses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us. And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching” (Mark 6:1-6).

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for when we read them we find how quickly those within the synagogue at Nazareth went from wonder at Jesus’ words to wrath at Him. Not only this, but when you read the words found in the New Testament gospel of Luke and compare it with the words found in the sixth chapter of Mark you will find that those at the synagogue in Nazareth were indeed astonished at the words HE spoke, and even asked where He had received the things He was speaking and where the wisdom which was given unto Him came from. Not only this, but you will also find within this passage of Scripture that they would also ask if this was not Joseph’s son whom they knew, and even the son of Mary whom they also knew. Moreover, they even began recounting his brethren and sisters who were present among them whom they also knew. This is entirely and altogether worth mentioning and considering, for it calls and brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that those in Nazareth were not only filled with wrath at the words which Jesus spoke, but they were also offended at Him because of their familiarity with Him. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that they initially began being astonished at His words, as well as wondering at the gracious words which He spoke, and yet they would not only be filled with wrath because of those words, but they would also be offended because of Him. FILLED WITH WRATH AT THE WORDS, OFFENDED BECAUSE OF FAMILIARITY! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it was their wrath and the offense within their hearts that not only caused them to seek to destroy Jesus as recorded in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke, but also prevent Jesus from doing any mighty work among them, save laying hands upon a few sick folk and healing them.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the tremendous and wonderful truth that the Lord Jesus Christ would also Himself marvel at those within His hometown of Nazareth—and the reason He would marvel was because of their unbelief. IT’s truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading these words that those in Nazareth would wonder and be astonished at the words Jesus would speak unto them in their hearing, and yet that would transition to the place where they would be filled with wrath because of those words, and would also be offended because of Him. It would be their wrath that would bring them to the place where they would seek to destroy Jesus, and it would their offense that would cause them to not believe in Him and would produce a hardness within their hearts. This hardness of hearts would cause those within Nazareth to almost be on the outside looking in as Jesus would teach in the synagogues of other towns and villages such as Capernaum, and would even do mighty works there, and yet when it came to those who knew Him—and not only knew Him, but knew Him for thirty plus years—He could do no works among them. Oh it was true He could speak unto them in their presence, and could teach within the synagogue, however, what we read and what we find within this passage is that Jesus would indeed and would in fact marvel because of their unbelief. What’s more, is Jesus would then depart from Nazareth and would go round about the villages teaching as He went.

            WHEN JESUS CAN DO NO MIGHTY WORKS IN THE HOUSE! WHEN JESUS’ PRESENCE CAN BE FELT BUT HIS POWER IS ABSENT! As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we recognize that although Jesus would and could indeed be in the synagogue there in Nazareth, and although His words were indeed and were in fact present among them His works were entirely and altogether absent. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this truth, for it was possible for Jesus to be present in the synagogue with those who had known Him for thirty years, and although His word was present among them His works were entirely and altogether absent. WE dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and forces us to acknowledge whether or not within our houses of worship it is possible for the presence of Jesus to be in our midst, and even the words of Jesus be present among us, and yet His works are absent because of our unbelief? Is it possible that the presence and words of Jesus can be present in our midst, and yet because of the hardness of our hearts, and even because of the offense we might be harboring within our hearts because of our familiarity with Him He is unable to do any works among us within our midst. It is truly tragic that Jesus was present among those who had known Him for thirty years, and those who knew His brethren and His sisters, and those who knew Mary and Joseph, and yet He could do no mighty works among them because of the unbelief that was present within their hearts. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that this particular portion of Scripture deals entirely and altogether with offense within the hearts of men and women—first the offense that was present within the hearts of those In Nazareth concerning the person of Jesus, and second the offense that was present within the heart of Herodias toward John the Baptist. We must needs realize and understand that the offense within the hearts of those in Nazareth caused their hearts to be hardened and caused them to be unbelieving, and it was the offense within the heart of Herodias that would cause her to harbor a grudge toward John the Baptist until the opportune time came when she could finally unleash all the rage, the wrath, the anger and the offense that was present within her heart.

            I feel it is absolutely necessary to conclude this writing by calling and drawing your attention to the awesome and powerful truth that is found within this chapter, for within the same chapter—not only do we find those in Nazareth offended with Jesus, but we also find Herodias being offended with John the Baptist. We find the government offended with the prophetic voice because it dared speak against the sin, iniquity and transgression that was found within it, and we find those in Nazareth being offended with Jesus because of their familiarity with Him. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find and read within these verses paints an incredibly powerful picture of what is most certainly present within our culture and our society today as men and women are not only offended with Jesus, but also as men and women are offended with the prophetic voices which are present among us. There is a great offense present within and among us in our midst because of prophetic voices that would dare speak against the government, and would dare speak out against sin and wickedness. There are those who were offended with Jesus because of their familiarity with Him and because of the hardness of their hearts and unbelief. There was that one who was angry and offended with John the Baptist because he chose to spoke out against and rebuke sin and transgression that was found in the government during that day. I am absolutely convinced that we must needs pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth of what is found within our culture, society and nation when men and women are not only offended with Jesus because of the hardness of their hearts and the unbelief contained therein, but also how men and women are offended with the prophetic voices that would dare speak out against the sin, the corruption, the iniquity, the idolatry and the wickedness that is found within the ranks of government.

I bring this writing to a close with the awesome and powerful declaration that we are about to step into dark and dangerous days when men and women can and will seek to silence and cancel others when they dare speak out against corruption, wickedness, sin, iniquity and transgression—and especially when they do so against the government. John the Baptist was not imprisoned because he baptized men and women in the waters of the Jordan River, nor was he imprisoned because he preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. John the Baptist was not imprisoned because he preached repentance to the Roman centurions, the publicans, and those who came unto them asking what they might do. The sole reason John was imprisoned was because he dared speak out against the sin, the wickedness, the adultery, the fornication, and the iniquity that was found in the government. Not only this, but John the Baptist was truly and ultimately only imprisoned because of the offense that was harbored within the heart of one woman. It just so happened that woman was the wife of the king of Judaea and was able to get her way to imprison John. Oh Herodias would have had John the Baptist immediately killed, however, it was Herod who decided to spare the life of John the Baptist and imprison him because he revered him as a holy man and prophet. In fact, I would dare say that if it weren’t for the offense and the grudge that was found within the heart of Herodias John the Baptist might not have even been imprisoned at all. Imprisonment was the means of appeasing Herodias while at the same time protecting the life of John the Baptist, and it would last for a short period of time until the opportune time came when Herodias would ultimately have John beheaded by not only manipulating her daughter, but also manipulating Herod and backing him into a corner which he opened himself up to through his oath and vow. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we must needs be aware of—particularly and especially within the culture and society in which we are living is the offense with the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the offense with the prophetic voice—particularly and especially when that prophetic voice would dare speak out against the corruption, the wickedness, the iniquity, the immorality, and the transgression that is found in all manners and forms of the government present in our culture, society and nation today.

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