The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:21-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Mar 1:21 And they entered into Capharnaum: and forthwith upon the sabbath days going into the synagogue, he taught them.

21. Capharnaum (Capernuam). A city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Many of our Lord’s miracles were worked here (see Geog. Notes, p. 82), e.g. Healing of the centurion’s servant (St Matt. 8:5); Healing of Simon’s wife s mother (St Matt. 8:14); Cure of the paralytic (St Matt. 9:6).

synagogue. This was most likely the synagogue built by the mcenturion, whose son Jesus healed (St Luke 7:5).

Mar 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes.

22. They were astonished, literally were “enraptured.” Jesus won the admiration of the people by His doctrine, which was not based on human traditions, and by His divine eloquence: Never did man speak like this man (St John 7:46).

scribes. Men who copied and explained the law of Moses and the
traditions of the Rabbis. On these, the scribes based all their teaching, whereas Jesus taught as one having authority. I say unto you, was often His introduction to a discourse.

Mar 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

23. with an unclean spirit, more literally “a man in an unclean spirit,” i.e. one under the influence of a spirit that tempted to sins of impurity. St Luke calls the spirit an unclean devil (Mk 4:33).

he cried out. The devil was tortured by the presence of our Lord and
feared expulsion, hence he made the man cry out.

Mar 1:24 Saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God.

24. What have we to do with thee? i.e. Why do you interfere with us? In the Vulgate we find in St Luke’s account, Let us alone, what have, etc. These words are omitted in the Greek. If genuine, they are understood by some commentators rather as an expression of horror, an inarticulate cry.

Art thou come to destroy us? That is, to bind them in hell, where their tortures would be greater, and where they could not attack the living. Jesus had come to destroy them. For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

I know who thou art. The devils recognised our Lord as the Holy One, i.e. the Messiah, called by Daniel (Dan 9:24) the Saint of Saints. St James 2:19 tells us the devils believe and tremble. It is clear that after our Lord’s death and resurrection they had no doubt of Christ’s divinity.

The words of the unclean spirit show:

(a) The antagonism between Christ, “the Holy One,” and the impure devils.
(b) The superiority of Christ.
(c) The overthrow of Satan’s power.

Mar 1:25 And Jesus threatened him, saying: Speak no more, and go out of the man.

25. Jesus threatened him. Jesus spoke with power and authority, being unwilling to receive testimony from the devils, as it was not yet time for Him to be made known as the Messiah. Hence we find Jesus even forbidding His Apostles to proclaim that He is the Christ (St Mark 8:30). Our Lord proved His divine power by driving out the devil.

Speak no more: literally “be muzzled.” St Mark uses the same expression in describing the Stilling of the Tempest, be still (Mk 4:39. The Greek is φιμωθητι = phimotheti). The expression is exceedingly graphic, being used ordinarily for a beast only (1 Cor. 9:9).

Mar 1:26 And the unclean spirit, tearing him and crying out with a loud voice, went out of him.

26 tearing him. Throwing the man into convulsions, but without injuring him bodily, for St Luke tells us, the devil hurt him not at all. amazed. The original word expresses astonishment and terror.

Mar 1:27 And they were all amazed insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying: What thing is this? What is this new doctrine? For with power he commandeth even the unclean spirits: and they obey him.

They questioned among themselves. One of St Mark’s descriptive
touches. They turned to one another and discussed the miracle.

new doctrine. That preached by Jesus Christ

with power he commandeth. Without ritual ceremonies, but by a
simple word of command.

Mar 1:28 And the fame of him was spread forthwith into all the country of Galilee.

28 the fame, etc. Report of His miracles, which spread quickly.


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