Have you ever noticed that everywhere you go in life, people in authority are telling you what to do and what not to do? These people can be teachers, police officers, government officials or even the staff of nursing homes or hospitals. Hopefully these people will do what they feel is best for us instead of what is best for themselves. Someone else who has authority and can tell us what to do and what not to do if we will let him is Jesus. We see a good example of his authority in the reading we just heard from Mark 1:21-28 a few minutes ago.
The demon recognized Jesus and called him the Holy One of God, perhaps because he hoped that by identifying Jesus by name he would have power over Jesus. The title “Holy One of God” refers to Jesus’ authority as a high priest. It was ironic that Jesus’ authority was first recognized by a demon. The people were amazed at Jesus’ authority and teaching, especially his authority over the demon. His words had full power to accomplish what he said.
The purpose of Jesus’ earthly ministry was teaching, not performing miracles or casting out demons, even though these actions accompanied his teaching and told of God’s presence within him. Casting out this particular demon reinforced Jesus’ authority to teach. When he taught in the synagogue, he referred to no source of authority beyond himself, unlike the Jewish rabbis who referred to the authority of the Scriptures. Jesus is the source of authority. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, and the demons reinforced this claim by acknowledging him to be the Son of God. The demon came out because it could not resist Jesus’ authority. The Scribes and the Pharisees only recognized a Jesus who threatened their authority.
A Bible teacher who wants to have an impact on his/her students must teach life applications from the Scriptures that they have lived out personally. In other words, the teacher must “practice what he/she preaches.” Jesus did that when he cast out the demon.
There are people who capture the interest and attention of their audience every time they speak. These people often speak with authority. Jesus was one of those people. When he spoke, people listened because he spoke the very word of God. When God speaks, there is a ring of authenticity. His authority and power can encourage us to make changes in our lives. An encounter with Jesus and his authority changes everything. A good example is the apostle Paul. He met Jesus while on the road to Damascus, and that encounter changed him from a persecutor of Christians to an eager disciple of Jesus.
All of us have been given authority to tell others about the Good News of the Gospel. Some of us have been given a particular anointing from God to use to touch the lives of others. God will reveal our anointing only if we ask him-and that asking includes prayer.
The Gospel emphasizes the authority of Jesus and his teachings instead of his words. We need to study his teachings to see the authority they have to change our lives. This can only happen when Jesus is the highest authority in our lives.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 1344)
- ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
- McKenna, D.L. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 25: Mark (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982, pp. 47-49)
- Os Hillman, “Teaching versus Imparting.” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Berni Dymet, “The Blah, Blah, Blah Treatment.” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- The Rev. Dr. Janet Hunt, “As One Possessed.” Retrieved from www.dancingwiththeword.com
- Exegesis for Mark 1:21-28. Retrieved from www.lectionary.org