“They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’” vs. 27
The crowd recognized that Jesus was teaching with authority and they were amazed. They were well acquainted with authority figures of several kinds. There was that of their Roman overlords, a kind of political authority derived from the emperor. And the scribes too claimed authority–they interpreted the religious laws and their word on controversial issues was presumed to be final. But the authority that Jesus exhibited was different; it came directly from God and was accompanied by power. Even the demons obeyed him–not even Tiberius had that kind of pull! Later on, the gospel testifies, Jesus passed that authority on to his disciples, and in his stead they too exhibited great power. Since then there have been many who have tried to latch on to the authority of Jesus, but have discovered to their chagrin that they had no power to effect change. In general we’re well advised to avoid authoritarian leaders in the Church, especially when they’re trying to exercise control. Jesus-style authority is found in those places where words of forgiveness and healing are spoken. When a leader tells us, “By the authority vested in me I forgive you all of your sins,” forgiveness actually happens. Guilt is lifted and the power of evil is broken–and we experience the real presence of Christ.
Thought for the Day: Where do I hear the authoritative voice of Jesus?