A New Teaching – With Authority. Most people when they read Mark 1:21-28 are all about the demoniac and how Jesus exorcised him. Even the title of the passage is “The Man with an Unclean Spirit” It’s true nothing quite spells out authority like abolishing evil with a just a word. “Be silent and come out of him” [1:25] and just like that the man is convulsing, he screams and no more demon. That is amazing if you stop and think about it, also a little scary. I mean you must put things into context, first century Jews or twenty-first century Christians. You must know the ground your standing on before you can build a foundation, or it will collapse on you. As a modern intelligent, worldly human it is almost impossible to convince us that evil spirits, demons or ghosts even exist must less have an impact on our daily lives. Humanity was no less intelligent 2000 years ago than today. True they did not have the virtually instantaneous access to knowledge that we have today, and no doubt would consider it a miracle. However, their innate intelligence was probably greater since they did not have smart phones and had to remember everything they wanted to know. Most educated people spoke and wrote several languages and had more than a nodding acquaintance with philosophy and religion. My point is they were not barbarians squatting in the mud picking their noses. They were thoughtful, well-spoken and highly intelligent people for the most part who believed most emphatically in the Greatness of God and the evil of demons. We should take a lesson from our ancestors, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. [Ephesians 6:12]
The devil’s real and he is quite happy that we do not believe in him, Satan does not want us healthy and happy if we are Christians, he wants us miserable like Job, because if we are miserable and do not believe in him then who are we going to blame our misery on…you guessed it God. The evil one knows this, and nothing makes him happier than when we question God. I am always amazed when something bad happens to people, the first thing they do is turn to God, and the first thing they ask is WHY ME GOD? Same person, only survivor of something horrific, kills everyone else except for them…goes and tells everyone, I guess I’m just lucky that’s all. The more things seem to go wrong the happier I am, because I know the enemy is trying to stop me and Jesus is not going to permit it. You see demons recognize the authority that Jesus possesses and that it is all encompassing, they knew it in Capernaum when they asked “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? [1:24] They know his power, have you come to destroy us? [1:24] They know where he derives his authority, I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” [1:24] From God, and they were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! [1:27] Demons recognize Jesus’ authority, so why don’t we? You see I don’t see this passage the same way as the commentaries do or most people for that matter. What I see, the words that fill my bones with fire and set my heart to beating, that empowers my mind and comforts my soul. Five words A new teaching—with authority! [1:27] You see it’s not the devil that has the authority in this world, It’s Jesus. The evil in this world cannot teach us or create in us anything new, it can only corrupt what has already been created. It has no authority that we do not first give over to it, and then only because Jesus gave that authority to us first. We must give it up, we must forego our inheritance in God’s Kingdom before evil can take hold in us and that is the enemies number one goal, to strip us of the authority that Christ brought to us, that is our birthright as children of The Most High God.
Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God with the authority of God. People were amazed, they were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. [1:22] One having authority, but not like the scribes, not like the lawyers in other words. Forgive me if anyone here is a lawyer, either currently or in a past life. The Pharisee were the biblical scholars of their time. They believed in the resurrection of the body, spirits both good and bad as well as the coming of The Messiah. At the time there were 613 commandments or laws, this include the 10 big ones. As you can see with so many commandments you had to have someone to interpret them and keep track of them. The Pharisee were good at it, in fact Josephus said, “they interpret the law with careful exactitude.” That was their problem, they were too analytical, too authoritarian, they did not speak “With Authority” but rather “from authority”. There’s a difference. It’s the same difference you see in a person who recites the scripture by rote and the one who speaks it from their heart, with passion, love and clarity, something to be relished and cherished while at the same being unable to keep it to oneself but desiring to give it as a gift to others so they can know the same joy, not merely something to be gotten through, explained,… minimized. The people could tell the difference, they were amazed by His teaching because He taught from the heart of the Creator. The love of God for His creation could not be hidden from His children when it was spoken by His Son. Just like the authority of Jesus could not go unrecognized by the enemy. All those who encountered Him instinctively recognized the authority that Jesus commanded.
A new teaching—with authority! [1:27] We see it all through the bible. The first thing he does is show his authority over evil when he casts out the demon. He then goes on to Simon’s house where he shows his authority over sickness and “that evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. “And he cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him”. [1:32-34] Jesus has authority to forgive sins “when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic— “Stand up, take your bed and go to your home. “And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. [Matthew 9:2-9] Not only does he have authority over our bodies but our very souls, “Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So, they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” [John 11:39-44] Jesus’ authority is in his divinity, “Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” [John 8:28-29]
A new teaching, certainly. Jesus came to show us the way, to instruct us in the will of His Father, of our Father. With authority…definitely. None can deny the authority of Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Jesus told us “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” [John 14:6-7] When we open our minds to the word of God to a new teaching-we acknowledge the authority of Jesus over us we accept that authority for ourselves, it becomes a part of us. We accept that authority when we accept Christ into our lives and The Holy Spirit is that authority that burns within us, that Jesus promised us if only we would accept him.