Teaching with Authority

TEXT: Mark 1:21-28 – And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He (Jesus) entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And at once His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

When you read Mark’s  Gospel, hang on! The writer crafts his sentences in such a way as to show Jesus at a quick pace, dealing with people and circumstances, getting His message across. The Savior’s in town, and He’s not dawdling on His mission. Follow Him around for very long, and you’re liable to witness quite the spectacle. Maybe a miracle, maybe some unforgettable teaching, maybe the violent release of a man from the grips of demonic possession.

One thing about this passage has always struck me, and that is its dig against the scribes. They dwelt in the synagogues and among men of higher learning, but when Jesus arrived the crowds saw right through them. He was the real thing, and what he had to say was of real value. “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”

What a stinging indictment! And from the looks of it, Jesus hadn’t even done anything. He simply entered the synagogue, opened His mouth, and began teaching. Talk about taking charge of a room. But why should we be surprised? The demons knew who they were dealing with: “Jesus of Nazareth,” Son of Man—and God’s own Son, “the Holy One of God.” Yes, they were all astonished—the people who witnessed the event and the demons who were lurking in the darkness.

Oh, that we might be similarly amazed at Jesus’ life and words, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!” For His power and authority are for us today, as well. He has defeated our fears and deepest doubts. His shed blood on the cross and Easter morning resurrection has atoned for our sins. Yes, in all these things, by faith, we are victorious through Him who loved us first (see Romans 8:31-39; 1 John 4:19).

May our hearts yearn for the authority of Jesus’ teaching in our lives.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, establish us in the true faith according to Your Son’s Word. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Who has been a teacher/mentor for you? Are you still in close contact?
  2. Have you ever witnessed someone coming out of demon possession? What was that like?
  3. What does it mean for us to teach God’s Word “with authority”? How can you become equipped to do that?

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