Let's look back at Mark's story so far, which has unfolded in a series of logical and natural steps. When Jesus heard the news of John's preaching and baptising, He had recognised His Father's call to action. He was baptised by John and received God's approval and all the necessary equipment. Jesus was then tested by the Devil- remember that the Holy Spirit had driven Him into the wilderness-and by so doing it honed His vision and goals. Then He had chosen His disciples and now the time had come to launch His campaign, so to speak. He chose to begin His campaign in a Synagogue, a place of worship. Synagogues were not exactly what churches are today:
1. It was primarily a teaching institution. When there were services on the sabbath they consisted of only prayer and the reading and exposition of God's Word. The Temple was the place for sacrifice.
2. It provided Jesus with the opportunity to deliver His message as there were no regular preachers in synagogues, the floor was open to any competent person who had something they wanted to say and the ruler of the synagogue was satisfied with them.
The people exclaimed that Jesus, when He taught, was not like the experts when they spoke. These were the scribes and their job was to interpret the Law of God both written and oral, but they never gave a decision on their own or without lots of references to Old Testament Scripture. Jesus taught with personal authority, He spoke as if He needed no authority beyond Himself! Isn't it interesting that the listeners immediately recognised the teaching of Jesus as being like a breath of fresh air!