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Daily Worship


JANUARY 10 | MARK 1:21-27






by Beth Voltmann

Mark’s gospel was written to give us a sense of Christ’s urgency as the Servant Messiah, his resolve to do the Father’s work, and his power to bring freedom and hope to a hurting world. After a quick glimpse into the baptism and wilderness testing of Jesus, Mark described how Jesus gathered some of his first followers (Simon, Andrew, James and John) and began to minister in his new community of Capernaum, a move he made from Nazareth shortly after his time in the wilderness. (Mt 4:13)


In this passage, we enter the scene at the synagogue on a Sabbath (the Jewish day of worship). Surrounded by a people seeking God, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. His was a new face, a new voice. Perhaps the worshipers wondered about this young rabbi. What strikes me is the reaction of those gathered together. “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22a)


As if that were not enough, Jesus then freed a man of an evil spirit with just a word. Imagine! Mark made sure to tell us, once again, that “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.’” (Mark 1:27)


Unfortunately, our English Bible translations often miss the nuances in meaning from the original Hebrew and Greek. Above, as relating to the people, the word amazed comes from two different words - the first meaning: struck with astonishment (v. 22)—the second: stupefied with surprise. (v. 27)


I am reminded of two places in the 2011 NIV translation of the Bible where the word amazed is used in relation to Jesus’ own emotions. The Greek word in these two passages means: in wonder or in admiration. It will be quite apparent which emotion our Lord was feeling as you read the verses below (but I can guarantee that he was not stupefied with surprise).


“When Jesus heard this,” [from the Centurion] “he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’” (Matthew 8:10)

Hint: In wonder and admiration

“[Jesus] could not do any miracles there...and he was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:5,6)

Hint: In wonder (but not in a good way).


May we always be amazed by Jesus and His Word and spread the Good News as witnesses of his rule and authority over the darkness...

and may Jesus be amazed at our faith instead of our unbelief!



Father, thank you for the gift of Jesus. We choose Jesus—we want to follow Jesus—we want to serve Jesus. Lord, hear our prayer.

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1 Comment

Jan 10

Good morning, Beth. My wife and I were discussing the word "amazed" and the similarities yet the differences in the passages you quote. One of the conclusions we drew was "amazed" was, in a sense, "taken back" based on the use of the word in its particular context. We really appreciate your explanation and examples of the use of this word and the more nuanced definitions for each application. Bottom line for us is to take the time and be thoughtful when reading God's Word asking the Holy Spirit to move in us to see how the verse(s) are revealing more about God Himself, His divine authority and application to our lives. Please give our best to you family (eve…

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