– engaging mind & culture

Shock & Awe

Shock & Awe…My most recent message at GVF from Mark 1:21-28 

Today we begin the Amazed by Jesus sermon series. Over the next several weeks not including the various guest speakers, we’ll be looking at some passages from the gospels where people were amazed by Jesus. My hope and goal as a pastor, preacher and Christian gentleman is with my life to proclaim the greatness and goodness of Jesus in word and deed. To point people to Jesus because It’s all about Jesus- His words, works, life. And it is the call of the church to be Jesus to the world. to let the world know how amazing Jesus is. Someone once said that when Cicero spoke people would say “come let us think” and when Demosthenes spoke, people would say “come let us march.” My hope is that today you hear Jesus speak right into your heart and mind and you would say “come, let us think AND let us march for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords” So far this morning We’ve talked with Jesus in prayer, We’ve sung songs to Jesus in worship, We’ve eaten with Jesus at the Lord’s table, we’ve given back our resources to Jesus in the offering, and now we listen to Jesus from His word to be challenged and encouraged and inspired as we hear from Jesus. The passage we’re looking at today is from the Gospel of Mark 1:21-28 and I’ve broken it into two sections: the first is the Shocking Word of Jesus and the second is the Awesome Work of Jesus.


The Shocking Word of Jesus

Mark 1:21 21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 



 Jesus and His disciples 

Those who left their nets and abandoned it all for the sake of the call to become fishers of men. 

There 1st title NOT bishop or elder or pastor

Capernaum Kaphar-Nahum

Aka. The village Nahum

Largest city at the northwest edge of the Sea of Galilee

where Jesus set up his ministry headquarters.

Ministry headquarters NOT Nazareth

What happened to Jesus the first time He went to Nazareth and preached in a synagogue?

According to Luke 4, the people tried to throw Him off a cliff

I’m so glad I’ve not had people try to throw me off a cliff when I teach J


And so having arrived in Capernaum, it says when the Sabbath came Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 

At this point Jesus had been doing about a year of ministry

He was somewhat of a celebrity. A fairly well know Rabbi.

Synagogue had no set teachers

Jesus was invited to teach

Jesus taught


Mark 1:22   22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Teachers of the Law taught

quoting other so-called authorities- scribes and teachers

Rabbi Gameliel says…Rabbi Hillel says, etc.

Jesus taught

As one who had authority

Didn’t quote other authorities

His words were arrows from the Almighty God himself, not second hand theology

The people were amazed (ekplesso)

literally means “to be stricken with panic or shock”, “to be stricken as by a blow;

This is how we might feel if…GVF Guest speaker teaching that He was reincarnation of Jesus.

Imagine the scene -Take a moment and close your eyes: picture yourself sitting in a synagogue as a first centrury Israelite

Yahweh said in Is 43:10-12 Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. “I, even I  am [‘ego eimi’] the Lord;

Jesus says “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. … v 19 you should know that I AM” [ego eimi – predicateless absolute]” John 13:13-19

Yahweh said in Is 43:11– I am that I am; and besides me there is no savior. Hosea 13:4 “I am Yahweh your God and you shall have no god but me, and besides me there is no savior.”

Jesus says “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am [ego eimi], you shall die in your sins.” John 8:24

God says to Moses in Exodus 3:14 “I AM WHO I AM”; and “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:56-58

God said in Isaiah 51:4 “I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.”

Jesus says “I am [‘ego eimi’] the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

God said in Deut 32:39 ‘See now that I, I am [‘ego eimi’],… It is I who put to death and give life.”

Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, John 11:25

God said in Exodus 16:12 “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread [manna]; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.”

Jesus says 48 “I am the bread of life. 49 “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven,.. 51 “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven” John 6:48-51,69

God said in Isaiah 40:11“Like a shepherd I will tend my flock”

Jesus says 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…14 “I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. … 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.,, 30 “I and the Father are one.”


When the people heard Jesus they were ekplesso

This sounds blasphemous.

“Who does this guy think He is”

“Now I know why they tried to throw Him off a cliff in Nazareth.




The Awesome Work of Jesus

Mark 1:23-24 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit…


Cultural Difficulty with supernatural realm

 What if our disbelief in a spiritual realm inhabited by demons is infact their greatest triumph.

Usual suspects- Kaize Soza- Verbal- “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.”


And the text says that a man in their synagogue was possessed by an evil spirit.

There was man in the synagogue who was demon possessed


Q: How could nobody notice?

A: Because evil spirits are often disguised as angels of light undercover through the guise of religion.

And this is what you would find in the world religions:

 Mormon assembly, or a Budhist Temple, or a  Jehovahs Witness Kingdom Hall, or a Christian Science Reading Room, or a Muslim Mosque, or Satanic Cult gathering, An Animistic Tribal shaman’s hut,  etc.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:20  but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God;

But we when Jesus shows up demons blow their cover.


And this demon cries out (as Luke says in his gospel) at the top of His voice 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?

This demon is speaking for the whole race of fallen angels destined to be cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the age.

Have you come to destroy us?

He’s wondering if the time of his demise is now.

Matt 8:29 Same concern that the two demon possessed men in the gospel of Matthew shouted at Jesus 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

1 John 3:8  “ The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”

I know who you are– the Holy One of God!”

its very interesting that the demon knows Jesus true identity and knowbody else does.


Mark 1:25-26 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”  26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

Jesus said shut up about my identity and vacate the premises

His command was enough

No exorcism rites or hocus pocus rituals.

And with some kind of shriek of fear and rage which the Lord never intended to silence, the demon threw the man to the ground in convulsions in the midst of the people and then left the man with no injury. (as Luke records)


Mark 1:27-28 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching– and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.


The people were all so “amazed”

This word is not ekplesso. But means “to be astonised, to be rendered motionless” “to be stuck with awe”

The people were completely captivated when they experienced Jesus word and work- they were shocked, they were paniced, they were frightened, some were angry, some were fascinated,  they were all filled with aw

Why amazed? because the shocking words and awesome works of Jesus are unrivaled

News about him spread

The people left the synagogue that day in Shock and Awe and spread the news.

The people responded

Mark says in verse 33  that And the whole city had gathered at the door..

How cool would it be if the whole city were gathered at our doors?

I submit to you…that if people find out that Jesus is speaking and working in our midst here at GVF they will come and more and more lives will be transformed by Jesus.

Closing: Be Jesus to the world- The challenge for each of us this morning is to go from this place and be Jesus to the world- Get to know Jesus and let your words and works be the Shocking and Awesome life of Jesus pouring out  of our pours. be Jesus to the world.


Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to be Jesus to my son Brendan…


A few years ago a group of salesmen in the States went to a regional conference in Chicago. Like many men do, they assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with their tickets and briefcases in their hands, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. You can imagine the apples went flying, rolling everywhere – and without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time, for they nearly missed boarding – all but one. One salesman paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the floor, and he was glad when he did because he found there a 16-year-old girl who was totally blind. She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration at the plight of how she was going to retrieve all these apples. The salesman knelt on the floor with her and gathered up all the apples. He put them back on the table, he helped her organize her display the way it was, and as he did this he noticed that many of those apples had become battered and bruised. He put those aside in a different basket, and then when he had finished he pulled out his wallet, and said to the girl: ‘Now, here, please take this $40 for the damage we did, are you alright?’. She nodded through the tears, and he continued on with: ‘I hope we didn’t spoil your day to badly’. As the salesman began to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him: ‘Mister’, and he paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes as she continued, ‘are you Jesus?’ He stopped in midstride, and he wondered, then he slowly made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: ‘Are you Jesus?’


Do people mistake you for Jesus? Do the spiritually blind people in this world see the shocking and awesome life of Jesus in your words and deeds?


I’ve heard it said that “Christ’s words to others were like thunder because his life was like lightning”

May we experience that severe thunder and lightning storm of Christ in our lives and shower His love on others.



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