Summary: Three domains over which Christ has authority; but one over which He will not exercise it.
Beyond The Wonder
Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church
April 9, 2006
Have you ever watched the birth of a child? Of all the awesome experiences I can think of having been a part of, childbirth has to be one of the most amazing. The very idea that a child can be conceived that can grow and feel and hear and experience so many different things even before delivery fascinates me, but none of that measures up to the amazing process of delivery. When Kassidy was born, there Kathy was having all that fun, and I was watching with great intensity wondering what she would look like and wanting to hold her when all of a sudden the doctor said to me, “Get out of the way, you’re in my light!”
I’m sure we’ve all got some amazing stories to tell about the wonders of life. You’ve no doubt experienced some pretty wonderful things in your own life. This week I experienced another wonder in life. My earliest memory of fishing with my Uncle Donnie over here was when I was a little boy. He, my dad and I were in a little boat fishing in Kansas. I pulled back to cast, and when I did by jig was caught on something, so without looking I tried to throw again. I don’t remember if he yelled or not, but when I looked back my jig was in his ear! The wonder I got to experience this week is that he still gets in the boat with dad when I’m in it!
In our text today, we’re going to encounter Jesus as He ministers to the people of Capernaum and does so in an amazing way. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t envy the people of Jesus’ day from time to time. Imagine what it must have been like to live in that day, before our medical and scientific breakthroughs where people don’t seem amazed by much of anything. Jesus came along casting out demons, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak and more importantly He restored hope to those who were at the end of their ropes.
Jesus foretold what His ministry would be about when He read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue of Nazareth. Now He is fulfilling that prophecy, and He’s doing it with great authority. Jesus is a man in charge. As we consider our text, I want to share with you three domains over which Jesus has absolute authority: absolute control, and one domain over which He will not exercise authority.
Jesus Has Authority over the Word
Jesus demonstrated His command of the Scriptures when He was tempted by Satan in verses 1-13. Every time Satan used the Scriptures, Jesus answered with the Scriptures. Jesus later went to the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth where He read from the Scriptures and spoke of Himself from the Word. He was so confident about what He said the people took Him outside the city to kill him, but verse 30 says He gave those men the slip. Let’s read verses 30-32.
“But he passing through the midst of them went his way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with authority.”
Some of your Bibles use the word power at the end of verse 32, but it is really the word authority. If you’ll look down at verse 36, both words are used. “for with authority and power.” The word power in verse 32 and the word authority in verse 36 come from the same Greek word exousia, while the word power in verse 36 comes from the word doonamis, from which we get our word dynamite.
Matthew 7 ends with very similar words. After Jesus finished preaching what we call the Sermon on the Mount, the Bible says,
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
What is it that distinguished Christ’s teachings from those of the scribes and Pharisees? Why did His teaching have such great authority? It wasn’t necessarily His methods. He didn’t have a better delivery, probably didn’t have a style of preaching and teaching that was so radically different, but it was different.
You see, for one thing, Jesus didn’t beat around the bush. His teaching was simple and straightforward, while that of the scribes and Pharisees was academic, scholarly and obscure. But the primary thing that made Jesus’ teaching authoritative was the fact that He taught as the Author of the Word and not as a student of it.