Summary: If we would follow Jesus into the place of power, we must also follow Him into the place of prayer.
Amazing Authority (Mark 1:21-39)
A man from Berlin, Germany, took an unusual approach in trying to bring peace to his marriage. CNN reported that the man was using an old air raid siren to stun his wife into submission.
“My wife never lets me get a word in edgeways,” the man identified as Vladimir R. told the police. “So I crank up the siren and let it rip for a few minutes. It works every time. Afterwards, it’s real quiet again.”
The 73-year-old man’s 220-volt rooftop siren was confiscated by police after neighbors filed complaints. (Man Uses Air Raid Siren to Quiet Wife, CNN.com, 4-19-03; www.PreachingToday. com)
Some men think that the way to be heard is to be loud, but does that really work? If not, then what DOES work for us men to gain a hearing? How can any of us gain any real influence in the home and in the community? How do we get the authority to be heard and respected by those around us?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Mark 1, Mark 1, where we see the surprising source of authority for Jesus Himself. He is the Son of God, to be sure. But even as the Son of God, He chose to live His life in such a way that ANY man must live. Thus, he becomes the example for EVERY man, whom he invites to follow His example.
Mark 1:21-22 They (i.e., Jesus and his followers) went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into 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. (NIV)
Unlike their own teachers, JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER PEOPLE. HE SPEAKS IN SUCH A WAY THAT GRAB’S A PERSON’S UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. IN FACT, HIS WORDS STRIKE PEOPLE WITH POWER.
Verse 22 says, “The people were amazed” – literally, they were stricken out of their senses. When Jesus spoke, people listened with a little fear and trembling, because they knew His words carried weight.
Their own teachers of the law quoted authorities all the time. But Jesus was His own authority, and His words had the power to evoke decisions. In fact, they sometimes made people a little uneasy.
I like the way Andrew Greely once put it in the Chicago Sun Times. He said, “If Jesus makes you feel comfortable with your agenda, then he’s not Jesus… Once you domesticate Jesus, he isn’t there any more. (Andrew Greeley, “There’s No Solving Mystery of Christ,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1-16-04)
You see, Jesus didn’t come to make us feel comfortable. He came to shake us out of our own world into His.
In Today’s Christian Woman, Kimberly Shumate tells how she became a Christian after living as a witch. After coming to the end of herself, she walked into a church and shot up a desperate, silent prayer: God, please give me someone in this crazy crowd I can relate to. If you don’t give me someone, I’m walking out of here. At that moment, the pastor told the congregation to stand up and shake a few hands, and Kim met Lisa, whose dyed-red hair and nose ring suggested they might be at a similar place. They became fast friends.
Week after week, at the end of each message, Kim marched down the aisle to the pastor and began firing off an onslaught of questions. She made her rounds from one church leader to another, finally ending up at a Friday night Bible study looking for answers.
As she sat on the floor in the leader’s living room, she felt a peace amidst this group of people who seemed to care about each other. She had come with an arsenal of New-Age arguments, and after the study, Scott, the Bible study leader, patiently listened to every one. With her new best friend, Lisa, by her side, they listened as Scott responded. That night, Kim said that “Scott’s words – but especially the Bible’s words – confounded [her] cosmic view.” After they’d sat there for an hour debating, she was exhausted.
As Lisa drove her home, Kim says, “The Holy Spirit began melting my vanity and arrogance with a power stronger than any hex, incantation, or spell I’d ever used. Suddenly, the blindfold I’d worn for almost 30 years was stripped away, and instantly I knew what I’d been searching for: Jesus!” That night, Kim exchanged her darkness for the light of God’s truth and trusted Christ as her Savior.
She soon realized her life was filled with empty props, and it was time to clean house. Her first act of obedience was to throw out all her books on witchcraft and the paranormal, as well as her Tarot cards. But the most important possession—and most difficult to discard—was her treasured crystal ball.