Summary: But what the world knows as power and authority is only a corruption of the true power of God. It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that may be true. If it is, it is because of our corrupt, fallen nature.
Mark 1:21-45 7-14-13
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out,
24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”
26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.
30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her.
31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door,
34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
36 Simon and his companions went to look for him,
37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”
42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:
44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
Power has always been a fascination to many people. Our society is intrigued with powerful people. From the athlete to the entrepreneur; from the physically powerful to the politically powerful, people stand in awe. For power, many have sold their soul. They have compromised their values, conspired with those tainted with evil, and caused their own personalities to be warped in the process.
Being around powerful people has been a goal for some. People have tried to enhance their own worth by meeting those who have great power and authority. Some have married for power instead of for the right reasons.
But what the world knows as power and authority is only a corruption of the true power of God. It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that may be true. If it is, it is because of our corrupt, fallen nature. If we were not disposed to abuse power, we would not be corrupted by it. Having the true power of God as his servant is different, however. It does not corrupt when used by the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
This is what we see in Jesus. In our text, and in Scripture as a whole, we see, in Jesus, power used as it was intended by God to be used. We see power used not to swell the ego, but to minister to the people. We see power used not to call attention to itself, but to attest to the mercy of God, and call people to Him. In our text, we see the authority of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is described in our text today as "One having authority." The word for authority here in the Greek is exousia. This word denotes the right to exercise power. And in Jesus we see one who has that right. But what can we learn from Jesus’ use and exercise of power? He has left us on this earth as His representatives. He has imparted to us authority and called us to do the "greater works." But if we would know how to use power without being corrupted by it, we must look at His example. We can learn much from Him.