I have several passages of Scripture that report an interesting phenomenon… they tell of Jesus speaking with authority, as though it is something new for their ears.
One of the first times we come across this terminology is at the tail end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:28 & 29 –
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
And another time it occurs early in the Gospel of Mark, 1:27 –
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority!
This is an interesting phrase, because it seems to be in contrast with the current religious leaders of the day. Jesus appears to be speaking with a power & authority that extends beyond the current leader’s ability to influence people.
This gives us a clue as to why he was at odds with the religious leaders… he challenged their authority and the people saw that he clearly was something more than a mere rabbi, or teacher. There something more to the way Jesus related to others, there was something about the way he spoke, the message he brought, the way he brought it. There was something contagious about the manner Jesus spoke.
When we read the words of Jesus on paper it is hard to catch the power behind them, we have difficulty emoting in the same way the crowds who heard Jesus speak firsthand did.
What if we caught that authority, what if we could see/hear Jesus the way the crowds did? How would that change our commitment & devotion to him?
Would we be more willing to throw caution to the wind and follow him anywhere he would lead us?
Would we even recognize his authority?
Many of us have no doubt had very real experiences with Jesus where we became aware of the power he has as the creator and sustainer of everything… so why don’t we follow with the same kind of awe?
What can we do to regain that kind of awe & wonder? How can we re-kindle in our lives a desire to hear the message Jesus proclaims and say, “This is a new kind of authority, he is not like our leaders!” I have a couple ideas. They are by no means definitive… but they help me:
- I have to want it. This sounds simple, but we have to want Jesus to have power and authority in our lives or else he won’t.
- I have to surrender to it. If I recognize Jesus for who he is, then he demands me be his disciple.
- I have to look for it. In what ways has my life become complacent and lacking the power and authority of Jesus? I have to find those areas and remove them from my life. Confess our sin and create new patterns of belief and behavior.
- I have to follow it. Once we surrender, we follow.
Seems easy enough, huh?
I confess to you that I haven’t lived under the power and authority of Jesus with regards to support-raising. I have become lackadaisical. That is sinful. I confess it and challenge myself to be more deliberate, recognize the power and authority of Jesus.
I want to live each day on purpose, as though it matters.
I want to live with a sense of urgency, that God has called me to something bigger than myself.
Starting right now, today, I will live with urgency… under this power and authority of Jesus that is like none other.
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