Summary: Jesus spoke with authority because he was God. However, we can speak with a certain degree of authority too. Here’s how. (Watch video https://youtu.be/I7Esj4iAEFo)
Scripture Reading: Mark 1:21-28
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then 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 with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
Jesus taught like no other person in human history. Little wonder, because he was like no other person in human history. He was sent by God from heaven to live among man, not as part-human, part-God, but fully divine and fully human. He was sent not just to deliver a message but to be the message. Consequently, when he spoke, he spoke with tremendous authority. It impressed his listeners so much they marveled. It impressed even his enemies. When temple police were sent to arrest Jesus but returned without their prisoner, the chief priests who sent them asked: “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” (see John 7:45-46).
The question for us is: Can we speak with authority? Although we can never speak with the authority of Jesus — he is, after all, God — we can speak with a reasonable degree of authority. This comes from understanding and experience. We may be able to talk about how to cook a meal because we saw a recipe on YouTube, but we won’t speak with the authority that a chef with five Michelin stars has. He understands the elements of cooking that we don’t and has an experience that we cannot match. However, if we were to study and learn and practice, we might speak with authority one day.
Ditto for the faith. We cannot preach effectively if our teaching consists of what we learned on Google! Our teaching has to come from what we have learned from Jesus: through his word and by the personal relationship that we have established with him through prayer. Then we practice what we have learned. When we can successfully forgive people for the hurts they have caused us, we can teach others how to do it because now we don’t just know we need to do it; we know HOW to do it! And because we have been able to forgive only because of the grace of Jesus, everything becomes about him!
Then, we need to depend on the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his apostles not to worry about what they were to say when hauled before courts because the Holy Spirit would teach them what they ought to say (see Luke 12:12). Later Paul would say, “My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). We see this “power of God” on display in Peter’s first sermon. That day about three thousand persons accepted Christ as their savior (see Acts 2:41). Peter’s sermon was so powerful because he was full of the Holy Spirit and empowered by him.
So, let our preaching be Christ-centered, Spirit-powered, and Scripture-based. If we know Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Scripture, then our preaching will be powerful.
Today's devotional — Power Preaching — is based on Mark 1:21-28, the gospel reading for the day. The reflection is by Aneel Aranha, founder of Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI). Follow him on Facebook: fb.com/aneelaranha