Jesus – a man with authority
I would like to focus on one verse this morning from our Gospel reading
22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Interestingly, there is no record of what Jesus said at that time.
Words - language – these are things that separates us from rest of creation.
And what we say can – and how we say it – can really make a difference. For good or for bad
What Jesus said made people wonder at his teaching and his authority
He didn’t preach like the other rabbis who quoted rabbinical sources to support the points they were making.
Jesus spoke with authority because he heard directly from his Father.
I wonder if you were as surprised as I was when I read in our Gospel reading that the demon possessed man was found in the Synagaogue –or in our parlance in Church.
But on reflection, going to Church in itself is no guarantee that you are really listening to God.
Story: Somethime ago, I read about US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Apparently President Roosevelt got tired of the same inane small talk and smiles that he had to put up with at the innumerable White House receptions that he attended.
So, one evening he decided to find out whether anybody was really listening to what he was saying.
As each person came up to him with extended hand, he flashed that big smile and said, "I murdered my grandmother this morning."
People would automatically respond with comments like "How lovely!" or "Just continue your great work!"
Nobody listened to what he was actually saying, except for one foreign diplomat.
When the president said, "I murdered my grandmother this morning," the diplomat responded softly, "I’m sure she had it coming."
In contrast, people in Jesus day listened to what he said – and through what he said recognised that he has a natural authority that the religious leaders didn’t have
Jesus as confronted with a man in Church who had an impure spirit.
Because he was in such a close relationship with his heavenly Father, he simply dealt with the problem with seven short words.
We live in a world of words.
Words are all about us, words on TV, words on the radio, spoken words by family and friends, words printed in newspapers, books, on computers and words on the Internet.
Often words do little more than tickle our imagination
However, in our Gospel reading, when Jesus speaks he brings healing and
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.” (Mk 1:27)
Jesus relationship with his heavenly Father was the authority for what he did.
In Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus explained it like this
"It is written: ’Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Mt 4:4)
The word "comes from" speaks of a continuing action.
It isn’t a once and for all.
God speaks today and we need to learn to listen.
There are two Greek words translated as "word" in the Bible.
They are the Greek words are "logos" and "rhema".
"Logos" refers to "an expression (articulation) of thought"
It is the embodiment of a concept, idea or thought.
It is more than that because Jesus is called the Logos of God.
The Logos of God is someone we can know
"Rhema" refers to the personal, living or life-giving Word of God.
There are MANY VOICES out there clamouring for our attention:
The first is
1. THE VOICE OF MAN:
The voice of man is easy to recognize.
It blares out over our television sets
It is the audible voice of another human being:
Sometimes the voice of man may give wise advice, but sometimes the voice of man conflicts with the voice of God.
Often it is the voice we hear on our television screens that wins out.
The next voice that clamours for our attention is
2. THE VOICE OF SATAN:
Don’t underestimate this.
So many people don’t believe in Satan, yet he is still there.
But don’t be caught up in the caricature of a man with a trident fork and spiked tail
The voice of Satan was first heard by man when he spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:l,4,5).
Satan’s voice lies, deceives, and always attempts to lead man into sin away from God.
Evil spirits (demons of Satan) also have voices:
In our Gospel reading today we read:
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!”
Story: I have only once been confronted by the voice of an evil spirit and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
There was a woman who used to come to our Church in Basle, who once asked me to come with her to Reinhold Dettwiler, a Christian minister well known in the Deliverance Ministry in Switzerland.
When he started speaking to her, her voice changed into a shrill and she started clawing the walls.
She was never delivered of this evil spirit.
I asked Rheinhold why and he told me it was because she wanted to keep it. For as long as she was in its control she was the centre of attention.
The third voice that clamours for our attention is
3. THE VOICE OF SELF:
The voice of self is man talking to himself.
You can read examples of this in Luke l6:3 in the parable of the Crooked Manager where the manager says to himself:
3"….. ’What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg.
The Bible warns us to about merely listening to our own voice
The final and most important voice is however
4. THE VOICE OF GOD:
What you think of Jesus will affect whether or not you listen to Him
In the Gospel, Jesus equated God’s relationship with us as that of sheep with their Shepherd
In John 10:3-5, Jesus said this:
3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice."
Story: It is uncanny how sheep recognise your voice..Sooty – one of our Sheep recognises Maddy’s voice – but when friends come round and call her, she looks puzzled!
Jesus compares us to sheep listening to the voice of their Shepherd.
It is the characteristic of sheep not to know where they are going. They must be led.
Jesus said His sheep would know His voice and follow Him instead of the "strange" voices of man, self, or Satan.
It is easy enough to come to Church and yet not listen to the voice of Jesus speaking to you.
There are a melee of voices out there and we have to decide which voice we wish to listen to
It is our choice if we decide to listen to Jesus and tune out the other voices we hear – or tune Him out and listen to the melee of words around us.