Summary: If we would follow Jesus into the place of power, we must follow Him into the solitary place of prayer.
A man from Berlin, Germany, took an unusual approach in trying to bring peace to his marriage. CNN reported that the man was using an old air raid siren to stun his wife into submission.
“My wife never lets me get a word in edgeways,” the man identified as Vladimir R. told the police. “So I crank up the siren and let it rip for a few minutes. It works every time. Afterwards, it's real quiet again.”
The 73-year-old man's 220-volt rooftop siren was confiscated by police after neighbors filed complaints. (Man Uses Air Raid Siren to Quiet Wife, CNN.com, 4-19-03; www.PreachingToday. com)
Some men think that the way to be heard is to be loud, but does that really work? If not, then what DOES work for us men to gain a hearing? How can any of us gain any real influence in the home and in the community? How do we get the authority to be heard and respected by those around us?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Mark 1, Mark 1, where we see the surprising source of authority for Jesus Himself. He is the Son of God, to be sure. But even as the Son of God, He chose to live His life in such a way that ANY man must live. Thus, he becomes the example for EVERY man, whom he invites to follow His example.
Mark 1:21- They [i.e., Jesus and his followers] went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. (NIV)
Unlike their own teachers…
JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER PEOPLE.
He speaks in such a way that grab’s a person’s undivided attention. In fact, His words strike people with power. Verse 22 says, “The people were amazed” – literally, they were stricken out of their senses. When Jesus spoke, people listened with a little fear and trembling, because they knew His words carried weight. Their own teachers of the law quoted authorities all the time. But Jesus was His own authority, and His words had the power to evoke decisions. In fact, they sometimes made people a little uneasy.
I like the way Andrew Greely once put it in the Chicago Sun Times. He said, “If Jesus makes you feel comfortable with your agenda, then he's not Jesus… Once you domesticate Jesus, he isn't there any more. (Andrew Greeley, “There's No Solving Mystery of Christ,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1-16-04)
You see, Jesus didn’t come to make us feel comfortable. He came to shake us out of our own world into His. I dare you. Take the time to listen to Jesus and see what He does to your world. Jesus has authority over people, and…
JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER DEMONS, as well.
You see, Jesus not only has power in this world, He has power in the spirit world too, and even the forces of evil must obey him.
Mark 1:23-24 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “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!” (NIV)
This evil spirit is trying to intimidate Jesus by using the first personal, PLURAL pronoun, “us.” And in an effort to control Jesus, this demon calls Him out by name, both His human and divine names. But Jesus is not about to be intimidated or controlled.
Mark 1:25-26 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. (NIV)
Mark 1:27 The people were all so amazed – Literally, they were “rendered immovable” (VINE). It’s a different word in the Greek than that used in verse 22, this word “associated with terror as well as astonishment” (VINE).
Mark 1:27-28 The people were all [rendered immovable, so much so] that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (NIV)
Everyone quickly learned of His power in this world and in the spirit world, as well.
In Christianity Today, Brenda McNeil writes about a brother from Ghana, West Africa, who was completing his PhD in the School of World Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary. During one of his trips home, he attempted to share the gospel with several people who lived in his community. Although they listened respectfully, no one turned to Jesus Christ. He later learned that they were intimidated by a witch doctor that lived nearby. The witch doctor kept a symbol of his authority hanging outside his home: a lattice basket, filled with water that never leaked.