Summary: We are all familiar with Jesus suffering on the cross, but Jesus suffered as a man while growing up, and that is why he preached so powerfully. All who heard understood and were amazed; he taught with authority that we can use.
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 1st February 2015; St Oswalds is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
Today we continue in our Gospel readings, from Marks Gospel, and the theme for today starts with the Great Authority of Jesus, ... but as we get into it, you will notice that this authority did not come without suffering; ... and suffering is something we can all relate to; ... and Jesus too, he suffered while living in the earth, ... and that is why we can take our pain straight to the Lord, and ask him for help as he knows what we are talking about.
“Please be seated, and join me in a short prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord. Amen. (Psalms. 19:14)
There is a powerful quotation in a book called "The Invincible Christ" by a man named Massey Mott Heltzel with reads, ...
"Someone anonymous, once poignantly said something very profound about Jesus and it is this: "I am far within the mark when I say that all armies that ever marched, ... and all the navies that were ever built, ... and all the parliaments that ever sat, ... and all the kings that ever reigned, ... all put together, ... have not affected the life of mankind on this earth, as powerfully, … as that One Solitary Life".
That is some quote! We can think of many dictators or prophets in the past who had created un-imaginary powers; but this power was severely limited, and only to the countries under their authority, ... that is, while they remained in power, and were still alive.
Jesus on the other hand, ... nothing can compare. His power endures through every nation on earth; ... even within countries who openly oppose him, have little bases hidden where he is worshipped. And Jesus is also not limited by time or space either, ... as according to Luke 1:33 "he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and … of his kingdom there shall be no end", Amen.
Jesus Christ is Lord of all! Romans 6:23 tells us that "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". The authority of men is severely limited, but the authority of Jesus our God will never ends; … he even has the power to save us from our sin, … sin which leads ultimately to death.
The Wee Hitler
Now the world, regardless of what country we belong, governs us by laws and regulations; ... and when these laws fail, they create other laws; and within these laws, people invent unwritten laws, … laws that we can only find out what they are, by breaking them. But such unwritten laws are not there to help others, … no they are there to promote power in individuals. And we all know, that there has been many a wee Hitler walking about Maybole in the past telling people exactly what laws they have broken laws, ... laws that some how give the wee Hitler's types power. Yes.
Fortunately for us, Jesus would have none of this. Jesus was against these self promoting laws, laws that hindered God’s grace, … and Jesus upset anyone, or anything who came between him and God. This then is the basis of 1Corinthians 2:12 which says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, ... but the spirit which is of God; ... that we might know the things that are freely given to us from God".
And as he spoke, Jesus did not end his statements with, "Thus saith the Lord", like some pious wee neaff; ... who compare themselves with the Old Testament prophets of old whose message was given to them by God. No when Jesus spoke, ... he spoke with authority from God, ... he was God's son. Verse 22 of today's reading says "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and … not as the scribes".
I like that, ... Jesus obviously spoke with authority that the scribes seemed to lack. Who were the scribes? Well they must have been someone qualified with man made "authority", ... authority they probably earned within the Jewish system, ... but authority without out real power, as according to Jesus, they did not know what they were taking about, ... and with authority that did not satisfy the spiritual hunger the people were looking for.
Jesus therefore must have answered the peoples questions, ... and Jesus demonstrated these answers using the power of the Holy Spirit, ... by doing miracles and the likes, in proper context; … that way, the people received God’s grace; ... ... and as so, the true Gospel was preached, ... the broken hearted were healed, ... the captives to evil spirits were delivered, the blind received sight, and the captives were set free.