Autonomies Death to Theonomy (Mark 1:14-45)

Autonomies Death to Theonomy (Mark 1:14-45)


We have both an exciting, yet sobering study ahead of us this morning. There are at least two things needing to take place within every person here:

1.) Self-evaluation

2.) Self-denial

It may not necessarily be in this order, but both must continually occur in the believer. By the way these are disciplines, meaning your flesh hates them and wages war against them. To cease both of these as a believer will ensure serious destruction in your Christian walk. Christ is to have preeminence and authority in every one of our lives. Meaning we need to stop being autonomous by becoming theonomous.

Our study today will be dealing with the authority of Christ, because it is central to the gospel message. After all consider the commission:

Matthew 28:18-20

I want to first begin with Christ’s entry into Galilee:

Mark 1:14-15

His message is not complicated! Repent and believe the gospel. Meaning our message should not be complicated, nor should it be lavished in fleshly appeal. It must clearly communicate how God reconciled mankind to Himself through Christ.

Mark chooses to begin his account with Christ Jesus being ushered in by John, and immediately heralding the message of God’s redemptive plan. He does so by proclaiming, “The time is fulfilled.”

Now in the Greek language there are two words for time:

1.) Chronos,[1] which denotes a moment by moment lapse of time.

2.) Kairos,[2] which defines an immovable or significant occasion.

One commentary suggests the closest English words to correctly convey these two Greek words are historical (Chronos) and historic (Kairos).[3] All events are historical but all are not historic. In other words historic events not only occur but they drastically shape and mold the rest of time.Ÿ

This is what is unfolding in Mark 1:15. God’s redemptive plan is coming to fruition and it is going to have an everlasting impact on creation. The everlasting King has come with authority, and where He is there His kingdom is also. Repent and believe the gospel!

All of history past has pointed to Christ, and all of history future will point to Him. I believe Mark has one clear intention within this chapter as a whole and that is to demonstrate the authority of the King who has just been ushered in.

Think for a moment:

Who was Mark’s audience to bow to in worship as king and lord? Nero!

What was there ruler doing to them as believers? Destroying them!

What does Mark encourage them with? Nero has limited authority, but Christ has sovereign authority in all matters.

Though authority is not written throughout this chapter it is certainly implied, so consider how Mark shows Jesus’ authority over:

1.) The gospel (Mark 1:14-15)

2.) Mankind (Mark 1:16-20)

3.) The Scripture (Mark 1:21-22)

4.) The spiritual realm (Mark 1:23-28)

5.) Sickness (Mark 1:29-34)

6.) Disease (Mark 1:35-45)

He will later demonstrate Christ’s authority over:

7.) Sin (Mark 2:1-13)

8.) The Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6)

9.) Nature (Mark 4:35-41)

10.) Death (Mark 5:21-43)

When we see authority being used it is translated from the Greek word Exousia,[4] meaning:

“1.) The power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege). 2.) The power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed).

To do anything other than obey Christ would be insubordination against the Most High.

Mark shows far more than just people submitting to the authority of Christ.

We have already addressed God’s possession of the gospel of Christ, so I will not labor this morning on His authority in that area.

Let’s look at Christ’s authority over man:

Mark 1:16-20

It was uncommon in Christ’s day for teachers to recruit their own students. Disciples would apply to be under a teacher. Jesus, however, goes and handpicks His four men.

Keep in mind this is not there first encounter with Jesus Christ, especially Andrew and John. Take a look at what happened prior to this event:

John 1:35-42

As a special note, all twelve apostles were present at the baptism of Christ. It was a prerequisite for being an apostle.[5]

Why is this important? They knew Who Christ was claiming to be, and they knew the authority He possessed. They left everything and followed Him.

Why then doesn’t Mark give us these details? Mark has already shown His persecuted and suffering audience enough reason to follow Christ:

1.) Jesus is King above all kings and God. This was declared in the Scripture. [6] It was heralded by God’s prophet, John.[7] It was confirmed by the Godhead members.[8]

2.) Christ was tempted in every point that we are, yet without sin showing His impeccability.[9] Notice the mention of wild beasts in regards to His temptation. This seems directed towards the Romans audience who were being torn apart by such creatures in the arena.

These two areas alone are enough for Christ’s people to submit to His authority and follow Him.

Have you counted the cost?

Luke 14:25-27

Consider as well:

Luke 9:57-62

These four men were putting their hands to the plow and not looking back, because they recognized the authority of Jesus Christ.

Do you look back after knowing His authority?

Mark immediately shows Christ’s authority over the very source God has given man to live by, the living Word of God.

Mark 1:21-22

Notice it is the disciples that are amazed. The scribes commonly taught from others opinions and did not believe the sufficiency of the Scripture. Christ, however, taught in a manner that did not allow men to subjectively interpret God’s Word. Since Christ has authority over the Scripture there are two areas we need to be diligent in:

1.) Our study and handle of it[10] We are to live and proclaim the authority of the Word of God accurately.

2.) Handing it down to the next generation.[11] Entrusting it to faithful men to so the same.

According to God, are you considered faithful toward His authoritative Word?

Mark quickly transitions from Christ’s authority over the Scripture to the spiritual realm.

Mark 1:23-28

Mark 5 will present us with a better opportunity to discuss this specific topic when we get there. After this occurrence we are instantly confronted with Christ’s authority over sickness.

Mark 1:29-34

Finally Mark displays Jesus’ authority over disease.

Mark 1:35-45

I want to begin to close with this question:

How does the authority of Christ impact us?

What do we do with Christ’s authority?

Do you and I submit to it, or do we fight it with every fiber of our autonomy demanding to remain a law to ourselves?

If you are in Christ you are a bond-servant to Jesus and should not think in such a manner.

Do we recognize Christ’s authority over all things, yet remain in fear of man and the spiritual realm?

Matthew 10:28

Do we recognize Christ’s authority over all things, yet worry when illnesses appear? God is the Great Physician, He therefore knows what He is doing even when He refrains from healing at His saints request.

Christ’s authority should be an encouragement to you believers among us.

Mark’s Romans audience would certainly be encouraged by such an authority.

What we have here is a pros and cons list, where we must evaluate the cost of following Jesus Christ.

What are the consequences for submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ?

1.) A complete and utter rejection of one’s self and circumstances.[12]

2.) A guarantee of becoming a partaker in an unseen warfare that desires to devour and destroy all of Christ’s followers.[13]

3.) An assurance of persecution for all who desire to live for the glory of Christ.[14]

The Roman believers reading this account could relate to ever one of those areas.

What does Mark essentially say in the rest of this chapter to His hearers? Though those three areas be your reality, remember your Savior has authority over all of it, and His name is Jesus Christ.

Continue to follow Him!

The Son of man is coming with authority!


[1] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 5550

[2] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 2540

[3] Mark, R.C. Sproul; Chapter 3: Follow Me

[4] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number:1849

[5] Acts 1:22

[6] Mark 1:1-3

[7] Mark 1:4-8

[8] Mark 1:9-11

[9] Mark 1:12-13

[10] 2 Timothy 2:15

[11] 2 Timothy 2:2

[12] Mark 1:4-5

[13] Mark 1:12-13

[14] Mark 1:14a

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