Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jesus' Authority and Power amazed Everyone

Jesus at Synagogue
Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue every Sabbath day. There, too, the people were amazed at his teaching, for he spoke with authority. Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon – an evil spirit – began shouting at Jesus, ‘Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’ Jesus cut him short. ‘Be quiet! Come out of the man,’ he ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further. Amazed, the people exclaimed, ‘What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!’ The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region” (Luke 4:31-37, NLT).

Jesus actually moved to Capernaum, making that village in Galilee his base of operations during much of his ministry years. He became a regular teacher in the local synagogue “every Sabbath day” when he was in town (Btw, synagogue was like a local church fellowship). The brevity of the Gospel accounts often leads us to picture Jesus continually on the move, at times almost driven from place to place by the crowds that followed him. But Jesus lived at the normal speed of life, walking from place to place. One of the easy-to-miss lessons from Jesus’ life is that when we follow him, we must slow down.

Jesus taught with authority, unlike other spiritual teachers of his day. While they quoted various authorities, Jesus spoke as one intimately aware of the meaning of God’s Word, with confidence and clarity, connecting the content of Scripture with the lives of his hearers. Luke wrote, “The people were amazed at [Jesus’] teaching, for he spoke with authority”; and they themselves exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess!” Jesus amazed everyone by his authority. After all, he was “the Holy One of God.”

The rude interruption by the demon-possessed man shows us spiritual realities that seem foreign to most modern people. People who never encountered this kind of situation wonder, ‘Could this happen today?’ (One student from Peninsular Malaysia, after he went back from mission trip at rural area of Sarawak, said to me, “Brother, I never thought that demon-possessed is real!”) C.S. Lewis pointed out that Satan knows enough to go undercover when it suits him. In our current society, too many simply dismiss the possibility of the Satanic force or see it merely as character for movies and TV shows with no real base in reality. Here, Jesus’ presence forced the demon out of his hiding. We discover with certainty that demons do exist and that their purpose is to destroy (but Jesus came to give life). Against Jesus, however, they have no power or authority.

Think about this: Ignoring demonic activity and the other ways Satan is active in the world means we would have to ignore a great deal of Scripture. Treating God’s Word seriously means we have to conclude that Satan and his demons are real, dangerous, and powerful. They are not to be trifled with or taken lightly. We take them seriously because, as Christians, we put on the armour of God specifically for this battle (see Ephesians 6:10-16). But then again, remember, in Christ we have His authority. We are in the spiritual battle, and yet we have won!

Do not fear, commit yourself confidently to the Lord today,
whose power and authority triumph over every enemy.

Reference: Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011)

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