Posted by: Brad Beaman | April 6, 2010

Jesus: A Teacher with authority

In Mark Chapter 1 we don’t see Jesus lying in a manger. We see a different perspective of Jesus. We see a thirty year old man. We see Jesus with authority so striking that people can only stare in amazement.

Definition of authority is the power or the right to command. Jesus authority lies not in his credentials or earned degrees. He did not hold prestigious positions.  Rather Jesus authority lies in who he is the divine Son of God.

This passage set at the synagogue in Capernaum shows Jesus has not only the power to command as a teacher, but Jesus has the power to command an evil spirit that can do nothing but acknowledge his Lordship and authority.

 Mark 1:21-28 (New International Version)

 21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

 25“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

 27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

You can find many references in the Gospels to Jesus as a teacher. He is the master teacher. The title Rabbi means teacher.

Jesus walked into the synagogue in Capernaum. The service consisted of prayers, blessing, reading of scripture and a sermon. There were opportunities for different ones to teach. When Jesus taught there was a striking difference. It says he taught as one who had authority. Not as the scribes and the teachers of the law.

How did the scribes teach? Were they unsure of themselves? No. The scribes taught with self confidence. They were dogmatic and intolerant. Their authority came from other teachers.    

Isaiah 61:1

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners

The scribes would quote their Rabbi for authority. It was a sort of name dropping technique.  They would use prestigious names of their famous teachers to establish authority. They might say of Isaiah 61:1 according to Rabi Hillel this passage was originally given to give comfort to exiles. Rabi Shemiel says this means you must take comfort in your situation.

Jesus did not quote big name people. He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus was endorsed by God. His interpretation of the passage was unique. His authority came from divine insight. He was different from the scribes. Jesus taught with authority. The religious leaders were surely just standing amazed with their mouth gapped open of how Jesus taught

Jesus had authority over the spiritual order. In the midst of Jesus teaching in the synagogue service something happened. A demon possessed man made an outburst.  Here comes another demonstration of Jesus authority. Evil spirit cried out, what do you want with me Jesus, have you come to destroy us?   

Be quiet Jesus commanded the demon. Satan and his demons are the spiritual forces of darkness. They have a kingdom of evil. But Jesus has come to establish God’s kingdom on earth. When God’s kingdom advances, Satan and demons must retreat. They are doomed to ultimate defeat because Jesus is certain for ultimate victory.  

We are involved in spiritual warfare. You don’t need to study demons and learn all about them. Because Satan and his demons still exist we must preach Christ and Him crucified. Where the cause of Christ advances spiritual forces of evil must retreat. When you are involved of making disciples of all nations you are on the cutting edge of spiritual warfare.

You need to know Christ more and make him known. You are advancing the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of darkness must retreat. Jesus is the authority and Jesus overcame the demon. The demon feared Jesus. “Have you come to destroy us?”

Jesus cast out the demon. This represents Jesus authority (the power or right to command) over the kingdom of darkness. The power of Christ has put an end to for us to need to fear demons. Demons are powerful, but Jesus Christ is all powerful. The people were amazed!

Can you just imagine the congregation at the sleepy little Capernaum synagogue expecting another Sabbath of scribes quoting what the big name rabbis think about interpretation of scripture. Instead they were face to face with the living Christ. No wonder they were amazed. They met Jesus. They met God’s Son. They met the awaited messiah. They met someone with authority. It is no surprise (verse 28) that news spread quickly of Jesus over the whole region of Galilee.

Jesus has the authority to save. When people stood in amazement at the Capernaum Synagogue did they believe in Jesus? No    

Matthew 11:23

23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depth.  If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

 Jesus renounced the city in which so many miracles had been done. Why? Because they did not repent. You may be amazed at Jesus and his authority, but you need more. You must believe in Jesus, the Son of God who came to save us from our sins.

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