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February 27, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”—Mark 1:21–22 (NKJV)
As Mark begins to lay the foundation for his Gospel account, he purposefully establishes one of Christ’s key attributes: His authority. Notice the reaction of those who heard His teaching—they perceived He had an authoritative quality that was unique and different from any other teacher they had ever heard before.
In the original Greek, the word authority (exousian) used here conveys a dual sense of “might” and “right.” We could even understand it as a “righteous might.” It speaks of a power to execute ones will and agenda. But more than that, it reflects a power that isn’t subject to abuse, but an ability that lies in the proper hands. It’s effective without being defective.
This is what Mark wants us to see about Jesus. He is the One in control and He is also the One you want to be in control! And the authority that people sensed by His words is soon demonstrated by His actions: “Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him” (Mark 1:23–26 NKJV).
Jesus exercises His authority when confronted with a demonic power accustomed to terrorizing people at will. Take note how this demon alludes to this authority by referencing His capability as God’s “Holy One!” When all is said and done, the demon is cast out, its victim is delivered, and Christ’s righteous might is undeniably witnessed.
Word of this spread across the surrounding farms, villages, and towns like wildfire setting the stage for where Mark takes us next. But before we move on, let’s consider how Christ’s authority impacts our lives here and now.
In our day and age, it’s easy to forget that Jesus is the One who possesses all authority, control, and power. It may be delegated to earthly representatives for a season. But in the end, your life is governed by the righteous might of the Holy One of God! Nothing can override that and nothing can ever change that. No aspect of your existence falls outside of His loving jurisdiction and no force that comes against you can withstand His righteous might!
PAUSE: What does Mark want to establish about Jesus here and why?
PRACTICE: What is challenging Christ’s authority in your life right now? How should you respond to it? Spend some time doing internal inventory to see what areas you aren’t submitted to His authority. Then, consider sitting with a pastor or mentor to determine the best action steps for recalibrating to submit to Christ’s authority in those areas.
PRAY: Father, I pray today for greater awareness of Christ’s authority in my day-to-day life. Help me, Lord, to be more centered and submitted in Your will and Your Son’s authority over me. Amen.