SUPREME AUTHORITY

Jesus taught like no one else. He was astonishing.

Jesus taught like no one else. He was astonishing.

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)

What impressed people most about Jesus in this particular account was His undeniable authority. We see three responses to it: astonishment, amazement and, in one particular instance, anger.

Those astonished remarked, “Jesus teaches with authority, unlike the scribes.” Though scribes were recognized theologians, we’re left with the impression that scripture was all head knowledge to them. Rather than speak from the heart, they did nothing more than download data with dull lectures. I further suspect they talked down to people, rather than simply to them. Teachers like that aren’t very interesting, if you ask me.

What set Jesus apart was The Word wasn’t just book-knowledge to Him. The message was His. The story is His. If I’m telling my story, I’m going to be more passionate about it, than if you told it. Plus I’d be speaking with a higher degree of authority. The other thing is, Jesus truly cared about people. I think that astonished folks as well. They never got that from the scribes, but Jesus had a sincere interest in His audience.

Now, there was one man in the midst who was angered by Jesus’ authority. We meet people like this even today. They want nothing to do with Jesus. “Let us alone!” they cry, just like the fellow in our passage. I like that Jesus didn’t listen to him. Rather than leave the guy alone, Jesus exercised His authority by casting out the unclean spirit. “Shut up and get out,” He demanded. Okay, I’m paraphrasing, but I’m not too far off.

What a scene it was. Next thing you know, the man is on the floor convulsing and crying, kicking and screaming. Imagine that happening at your worship service. I guess some call it “slain in the spirit” as if it were a good thing. Well, this spirit got the boot. It knew to listen to Jesus and leave at once.

As a result, many were left amazed by Jesus’ authority. In other words, they were blown away beyond measure. It was from this point on that the popularity of Jesus spread throughout the region. Please note that His fame was built on His authority.

As we share His story, it’s important we spread the news of His love and how He died for our sins on Calvary’s cross. It’s equally important that people know He rose on the third day and is seated at the right hand of the Father, a position of power and might. For this reason we declare, “Jesus is Lord”. It’s an acknowledgement of His supreme authority. Spread the Word!

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