Saturday, January 31, 2015

Epiphany 4

Epiphany 4
1 February 2015
Mark 1:21-28
Authority – So what?

It is one thing to have authority and it is another to have that authority accepted.  Lack of respect for authority is a problem of our day.  Thirty-five years ago, millions in Iran demonstrated against the Shah to the point that he had to leave the country. The people refused to bow to his authority.  Though he had authority as a king, his authority was no longer accepted, respected, and obeyed by a majority of the people.  The same can happen to any person of authority, including Jesus Christ.  What is our response to His authority? How should we properly respond to Jesus’ authority?

1.     First, we must recognize His authority –“And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as {one} having authority, and not as the scribes.”V.22

When Jesus speaks. When He acts. People notice.  Jesus proved that He had that authority that comes from God by what He said. He spoke for God. But He backs up His words with His works of mercy. Jesus speaks and Jesus acts! He says only those things that God can say.  He works miracles and acts of kindness that only God can perform. This truly is God in the flesh. No one can work like Him. No one can speak like Him. By His words. By His works. We recognize there is none other. Only He can be the Son of God.

Transition: But there is more than merely recognizing Jesus’ works and words for what they are. Few today would dispute what He has done.  Few, if any, would put a disclaimer on His words and actions. But how do we respond to what He has said? What is our reaction to the miracles that He works? His words and works call us to action.

2.     We must also respect Jesus’ authority –“And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!" Vv.23-24

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James reminds us.  (James 2:19) The devil recognizes Jesus’ power and authority.  The devil calls Jesus out. Respecting His authority, the demons knew Jesus had the authority to destroy them. “What are going to do to us?” They ask.  “Have You come to destroy us?”  The demon knew his fate. He will be doomed forever by the one who has the authority to destroy him. That’s why he asks the question! It’s not a matter that he would be destroyed. That fact is perfectly obvious.  The question is when. When will this demon be destroyed?  Will you destroy me now? Or later? For You are the Holy One of God.

One’s enemies make for our best critics.  The demon gives testimony that this Jesus is the Christ. The very Son of God.  We too, are called to acknowledge what even Jesus’ fiercest enemies had to admit. We respect Him. For He is God Almighty. The Lord of Hosts, To Him every knee shall bow. And every tongue confess. He, Jesus, is Lord of all.

3.            We finally respond to Jesus’ authority –“And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." V.25

The inevitable happens.  After nine anxious months. A baby is finally delivered. We know what is coming. Yet, when that blessed event happens. We are filled with awe.

You take in a spectacular sunrise or sunset. We recognize that this is something that happens every day. Each morning the sun rises at the beginning of the day. We expect it to set as dusk turns to night. But when we take it all in. We are filled with wonder and awe. Likewise when recognizing Jesus you respond with shouts of thanksgiving. “For it is my duty to thank and to praise, to serve and obey Him!” Yes, this is most certainly true!

The confrontation of Jesus with the demon only heightened the reality that this Jesus is King and Lord of all. May we resound in kind by offering Him our lives for service in His kingdom. Willingly following Him and praising Him for all that He has done. I

Words – 790
Passive Sentences 6%
Reading Ease – 78.8

Reading Level -4

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