Monday, February 2, 2009

Mark 1:21-28

The Battle
is not against
Flesh and Blood.

How do I know what God's will is for my life? I hear this question again and again, "What is His will? What steps do I take to discern it?"

Follow Me The whole of God's will for the four fishermen was that they go where He goes. They didn't need to fuss about their area of giftedness, talents or joy in the work. They only had to follow Jesus. One day that path would lead across water for one of them, to a mountain top transformation for three of them and to a cross and unexpected ending for each of them, but on this first recorded day of following Y'shua, which happened to be a Sabbath, following Him meant going to synagogue. Could the start of seeking the will of God be that simple? Just go where the religious people assemble?

Mark 1:21-28 NAS
And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!" And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." And immediately the news about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.

I neither read nor speak Hebrew, but I am learning. I still have to depend on what I am told by others. What I have been told is that the Hebrew word for religion is spelled dalat-tav. The letter dalat is symbolic of a door and tav in pictograph is a cross. This means that the Hebrew word for religion is the door to (or of) the cross.

Maybe the first place to go when I want to know about the will of God for my life is to the assembly of local believers, the church. Learn about the Word of God in the fellowship. Learn of the freedom found in submission. Had a bad experience at church? You are free to find a different church. You are also free to experience the freedom of forgiveness. Just go to church. Y'shua/Jesus led the four to the assembly, more then likely that is where He first leads you.

And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel."
Mark 1:14-15

The message and ministry of Messiah must have been effective. He was given the podium at synagogue. His teaching astounded the four. But there was one in the audience who had a very different reaction. A man with an unclean spirit stood to challenge Messiah.

Up until this time the message had been, "Repent and believe the gospel." That is not the message to the unclean spirit. Right in the synagogue, the place where at least ten men would come together to study the Torah and the Prophets, there was a man with an unclean spirit, apparently studying right along with them.Y'shua taught with amazing authority but this spirit had sided with the serpent against the authority of God. This spirit is not amazed by the authority of Y'shua, he is challenged and challenges right back. "What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy one of God!" The spirit demands that Y'shua leave him alone.

What always amazes me when I read this passage in Mark is that Y'shua does not address the host of the spirit, only the spirit is rebuked. No one tells the man that he must have done something to open his life to demon possession or that he must be involved in some sin that is somehow worse then "regular" sin. All must repent and believe by faith. On this day, this Sabbath, this man is being given back control so that he can make the choice. Mark chooses not to tell us what happened to the man.

The battle is not against flesh and blood
One day, the Apostle Paul will tell the believers of Ephesus;
Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:11-12

The war was not against the man, the host of the spirit, but directly against the spirit.

Without any props, smoke, mirrors, without demanding to know the name of the spirit, even though the spirit declared the name and title of Y'shua to no avail (he gained no power by over Messiah by knowing his Name), without any method that could be studied and copied by men, Y'shua confronted the spirit with his authority. "Shut up and get out" is pretty much the gist of what was said. The spirit was compelled to obey.

All were amazed It was no longer just the four fishermen who were amazed, all at the synagogue were amazed. "What is this?"

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.
John 14 12

How do I know the will of god for my life? I have never been called to practice exorcism. To the best of my knowledge I have not been directly confronted by an unclean spirit. But because Y'shua has gone to the Father, and given me life in his name, I can speak by His Holy Spirit and therefore with His authority. It is the truth that sets free. The battle is not against flesh and blood, but it is for the hearts of men and women who need to know the love and liberty of Messiah.


  1. Good Bible lesson. I like the point where Jesus immediately took them to the Synagogue. I thought of Hebrews 10:25. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    Thanks for encouraging me. I don't know about you, but I see the Day approaching more than ever.


  2. Hebrews 10:25 is perfect! My heart aches for all the people who will not go to church because someone has hurt them.