What does Mark 1:23 mean?
ESV: And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
NIV: Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out,
NASB: Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
CSB: Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out,
NLT: Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,
KJV: And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
NKJV: Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
Verse Commentary:
Mark uses the Greek euthus (immediately) here again to mark an abrupt change. "Immediately" after Jesus reads the Jewish Scriptures and comments on what they mean, a demon-possessed man enters the synagogue. The ability to both teach well and control spirits is unique, leading to rapid popularity as well as jealousy among the religious elite.

This is not the last time Jesus will have to deal with demonic possession. It's not clear why Jesus interacted with so many demons, or if demonic activity was just more common at that time. It's very possible that the demons had conflicting reactions to the Son of God—attracted to Him, angered by Him, and afraid of Him. Demon possession was blamed for many things in the New Testament that we would chalk up to physical ailments. For example, epilepsy (Matthew 17:15), or psychiatric disorders (Mark 5:3–5). It's very difficult, in modern times, to determine if someone is purely demon-possessed or suffering from a physical or mental illness. It would be dangerous to label everyone who is ill with demon possession, but we probably underestimate demonic involvement today.

The verse ends in the middle of a sentence with the phrase, "And he cried out." Unlike the crowd, the demon-possessed man interrupts Jesus' teaching. This is a direct confrontation between a man controlled by an evil spirit and Jesus. How Jesus deals with the spirit will reinforce His teaching and increase His fame (Mark 1:27–28).
Verse Context:
Mark 1:21–45 opens a longer section describing the healing and preaching ministry of Jesus Christ. In this segment, Jesus impresses onlookers with His mastery of the Scriptures. He also amazes people with His authoritative style. During this teaching, Jesus heals a man afflicted with demonic possession. The resulting publicity brings a massive crowd to the home of Simon Peter, where Jesus is staying. Jesus heals Peters' mother-in-law of a fever, and cures a leper, before leaving the region to continue His ministry.
Chapter Summary:
John the Baptist is introduced as a figure preparing the world for the arrival of the Messiah. John's baptism teaches people about their need for repentance. When Jesus arrives, and is baptized, it signals the coming of God's fulfillment and the need of people to recognize their Savior. Mark briefly notes Jesus' baptism, desert temptation, and the calling of the first four disciples. After this, Jesus begins teaching in the synagogue and performs miraculous healings which spread His fame around the region.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of the Gospel of Mark sets the tone for the rest of the story. Mark's writing is concise, action-packed, and short on details. Within a few verses, Mark establishes the transition from the wilderness ministry of John the Baptist to the healing and preaching of Jesus Christ. This first chapter includes the calling of Jesus' earliest disciples, His early miracles, and His early teaching. This establishes the pattern shown throughout the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus mingles His teaching with miraculous signs.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 6/13/2024 12:43:35 PM
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