Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28)
He Was Famous
There was a time in the life of Jesus where He enjoyed a good measure of fame. The meaning of fame is to be well known or enjoy the status of a celebrity. Nazareth never would have a son whose fame would be as great as Jesus. As a teacher, He had no rivals. The people recognized the message of Jesus was clear, demonstrative and with authority. They had long heard the scribes and rulers expound upon the law but only to the glory of themselves. Listening to Jesus the multitudes were touched by the clarity of His message. Truth was on every word. He challenged the religious rulers and those who feigned worship to God for self-glory. The man from Nazareth never shied away from controversy confronting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Jesus became famous as a man who spoke plain and true without contradiction. Multitudes flocked to Him to hear a style of teaching they had not heard before – and they were moved by it.
The miracles of Jesus brought Him more fame. There was nothing that could not be healed or mended. Blind people were made to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk. Jesus raised the dead, cast out demons and calmed the storm. No man had ever shown such power as the man from Nazareth. The Jewish rulers who sought to catch Him in His words never denied the miracles. On one occasion the fame of Jesus was so great the people sought to make Him their king. Jesus slipped away from them. All of His teaching and the exercise of His Father’s power on mortal man made Him a celebrity of high visibility. Jesus was famous. But that is not why He came to earth.
Fame is fleeting. Solomon declared the transitory nature of fame in his thesis on life. Jesus could have been the king of all men on earth serving their needs of miraculous healing, stern teaching and acts of kindness. For a time He was probably the most famous person on earth. He could heal everything and no man could resist Him. This would have been a great temptation Satan used to bring the Son of God down but He resisted the desires of the people for the purpose of His Father. The only reason Jesus came to earth was to fulfill the work of the eternal plan given to Him by God and the precarious fame of men would not dissuade Him in His work.
Jesus came to die on a cross. The fame He enjoyed would be wiped away when the crowds screamed, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” Forgotten were His miracles of love and grace. The mountain top sermons and the long discussions of virtue, righteousness and truth were gone as the mobs demanded His death. His fame had been turned into a cross. The glory of man’s nobility was now hanging on a cross in shame. No one thought Him famous. He was a criminal sentenced to the worst death known to man. The crowds no longer flocked around Him to be healed or to hear a word of authority. Jesus of Nazareth was not the proud son of the carpenter’s town but the disgraced son of Joseph and Mary who had been crucified for certain crimes. And then Sunday came.