Mark 1: 21-28
A striking characteristic of the ministry of Jesus was that, when he spoke, his words seemed to carry a deeper meaning, a stronger backing, and a genuine “I know what I’m talking about-ness.” He didn’t need to prove his point, begging to be understood. He simply stated what had to be said, using straight forward and powerfully compassionate words.
Likewise, when he prayed for people he didn’t laboriously solicit prayers from God, nor did he get involved in long-winded intercessions for the sick. “Be healed,” he commanded. “Go to the pigs.” “Your sins? They are forgiven.” And so forth.
This is what separated Jesus from the rest of the teachers of the day. They talked about doing the stuff. They remembered the stories of when God used to do the stuff. But Jesus spoke with authority as one who did the stuff. It must have been a wonderfully refreshing change from the life-less teachings of all those other guys.
Authority is God’s backing – his favor and power, given through the Holy Spirit – on those who have heard his, “Come, follow me” and have left their nets on the beach to follow him. It is increased as we step out into the world; tilling Eden, increasing the influence of the Kingdom of God, and simply going about doing the stuff he’s called us to do. God has called us to go into all the world. The convincing arguments wont happen around fancy preaching, clever power point illustrations, Christian radio, or winning logical arguments. The world will be convinced as the power of God is realized in those who carry the authority of God. (See 1 Corinthians 2:4-6)
Last Sunday we were reminded that Jesus invites us onto a road that he himself is also traveling on. It’s a joining with him on the journey. It’s not a solo walk. The road has many twists and turns, many unforeseen surprises and crises events, to be sure. But one doesn’t have to go too far in their “Come, follow me” before they encounter a “Be quiet, come out of him” moment. (Mark 1:21-28)
Our authority in Christ carries within it the character of heaven, sometimes called the Kingdom of God. It is an atmosphere that accompanies us and increased through us as we operate in faith. By it’s very nature of being pure, holy, without sin or shame, eternal, etc. it rubs against the very roots of the world. The Kingdom of in us creates a natural angst and many times flies in the face of a world saturated in sin, pride, darkness, and rebellion.
It’s not that we look to agitate the world. It’s just that on the basis of who we are in Christ we can expect agitation to happen. Our authority in Christ is recognized by both spirits and humans alike, many times irregardless if we’re thinking about. It runs as a constant dynamic, independent of if we’re feeling spiritual or not.
In the this week’s Gospel we saw Jesus simply going about his work – teaching and preaching in the synagogue – when a man manifests a demonic cluster. Suddenly, out of the blue, they arise and cry out, “What have you do do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?”
Jesus wasn’t invoking the spirits, nor was he on a witch hunt. He was just doing what the Father had called him to do. It was in the process of his obedience to the Father that the demons arose. He didn’t freak out. He simply dealt with it and moved on. There is something in the authority and presence of God that allows us to move into the greater purposes of God with grace and ease, not easily derailed by things that go bump in the night.
That’s what the authority of God is all about. God’s authority provides us with the wherewithal to speak and do the words and works of Jesus with conciseness, confidence, and compassion. Just like he did.
As we make decisions to honor the call of God in our life, stepping out in faith with that end in site, the authority of God backs us up. He changes our words into life-giving nutriment. He multiplies our bread and changes out water into wine, not unlike what he does each week when we celebrate the Eucharist.
Father, thank you for the authority we have as members of your family, as heirs of righteousness, and children of the most high God. Increase our faith we pray. Clothe us in your righteousness and give us a Kingdom sensibility that assures us that wherever we go the atmosphere is charged with the DNA of heaven. Not because of who we are, but because of who we are in you, and who it is who lives in us. In your glory we pray. Amen.