Summary: A sermon for the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany Jesus casting out of an unclean spirit and teaching with authority
4th Sunday after the Epiphany
"’The World of Words"
21 And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
23 ¶ And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;
24 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."
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
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. The world of words have turned us into a people who have been overwhelmed, suffocated, and buried in the mounting pile of words. With so many words around us, words tend to loose their meaning, they become unimportant, they no longer have any real value or influence in life.
And there are some words which have more power than others.
The late Pastor Valbracht says in his book, Exit Interstate 0, the following about words, "It was in the early years of my ministry that one Sunday preaching my sermon and I had just gotten well into the sermon, when a baby started to cry down in one of the front pews. The mother, very much embarrassed, snatched up the baby and started out the aisle aisle. I stopped right in my sermon, and I said, ’Madam you don’t hove to take that baby out. He isn’t bothering me.’ She said, ’No?’ Well, you’re certainly bothering him.’
Words do have power, sometime.
In the following story we get an entirely different view of the world of words. "A New York columnist set out one time not long ago to prove that no one really listened to what anyone said at a cocktail party and, when he was invited to such a party, he always would arrive late. When he arrived the hostess greeted him and he explained why he was late. "I had to stop for a moment and murder my mistress, and it took longer than I thought." Without blinking an eye, the hostess said she understood perfectly, "I was almost late myself, everyone is quite busy. Enjoy yourself. Have u good time ."
As he mingled around the party, someone asked him what I he did for a living. "Oh, I am the executioner for the State Penitentiary." The person continued, "Well, that must be an interesting line of work How does business look this year?’’
We are caught up in a sea, a world of words. Some words do have special power and authority, others have no meaning at all. Sometimes our words only have meaning , power and authority, because of the listener, or because of the speaker.
In today’s gospel lesson, we learn how Jesus spoke God’s word and how that word had authority, power and hope for living. I would like to look at Jesus’ words this morning, and see because they are God’s word incarnate in this world, these words take on a special distinction for our lives. How Jesus’ words do have authority, power, and hope for the future.
Our text says, "And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes." There was something very special about Jesus’ words. They were different from the scribes who usually taught in the synagogue. They would quote sayings from the past learned men, they would not offer any new truth, or new idea, but the scribes would always reinforce what had been said before.
But Jesus came and spoke with authority. He didn’t quote any past learned men, he was the sole authority for his words. He had authority, the authority of God himself. For in John’s gospel in the prologue, it says, 1:1 ¶ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
God’s word, the word that God used to create, the authoritative word of God that brought things into existence, that word was incarnate in Jesus. Jesus spoke with the authority which was present from the beginning of time.