The Authority of Jesus

Mark 1: 21-28
1 Sm 1:9-20 / 1 Sm 2: 1,4-8

“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!”
(Mark 1:24)

No evil spirits can prevail
Against the power of God’s Word;
Read it daily, it will not fail
To help our faith in Christ restored.

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “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!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The 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.” News about Him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (Mark 1: 21-28)

Reflection

The Jewish synagogue was the most important place for the people of God to learn about the Hebrew Scriptures; to hear the Word of God as it was written, preserved and taught by the recognized scholars of the law at the time, called the scribes. They prided themselves in being the authority in interpreting the Judaic laws handed down by their ancestors. Along with the Jews, they were truly amazed how Jesus, the son of a common carpenter could so easily displace them by the authority of His teaching.

They were even more surprised when a man possessed by an evil spirit addressed Jesus as the “Holy One of God.” Note that the evil spirit referred to himself in the plural form: “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” Was this a question (or a statement) that the dominion of Satan and his fallen angels over men had now come to an end? Or was the evil spirit in fact referring to the destruction of the old Jewish social order as taught by the scribes and Pharisees? Thus were the people so amazed by this “new teaching” of Jesus, because He taught with authority.

We know that Jesus’ teachings on Scriptures had authority simply because being God, He was the Author of all the inspired writings of the prophets and patriarchs. And He backed His words with action. Only God could expel evil spirits. The demon had immediately recognized Jesus (“I know who you are – the Holy One of God”) and wanted to make His identity known – perhaps to derail His divine mission. But Jesus ordered him to shut up and be cast out of the possessed man. Reading the Gospel accounts about the life of our Lord Jesus, we have seen that no evil spirits could overcome or withstand the power and authority He wielded. His mere words could cast them out of their captive souls just as easily as they could heal all ailments. The power of His words in Holy Scriptures continue to conquer evil in this world up to the present time. We have His authority and power in our hands, in the Holy Bible. The Bible contains all the powerful words of God that we can employ against the forces of darkness. Read your Bible every day, and the Holy Spirit will guide and protect you.

Come, Holy Spirit, possess our hearts and minds, that we may always desire to read the Word of God. May it inspire us and fill us with Your wisdom, and with the power and authority of Jesus, may we never fall under the influence of the evil one again. Amen.

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