Teaching With Authority

January 31, 2021

In the Gospel today the word authority stands out.  The listeners in the synagogue are astonished and after the healing and calling out of the demon, the crowd is amazed.  What is it about this Jesus?  What sets Him apart? The word authority is highly charged and can become explosive and inflame many.   Differing viewpoints call forth different responses to those in authority.  We must ask ourselves after the summer, fall and winter we have had, who do we believe has authority?  We are in a time of unrest.  We are in a time where villains can be made of anyone who disagrees with our ideologies and flashpoints flare up constantly before us.  From what we feed ourselves in the news media and the examples of many who are called to serve and protect, division, hatred and disrespect become the battlefield within our society.  Authority should never be used this way if we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we ask ourselves what is amazing about the authority of Jesus, it is that He sat in a place of humility with the community in the synagogue.  He was not a scribe, so He could not sit in the place of honor.  Jesus led from among the community.  He spoke wisdom with a confidence that came with love.   He did not make anyone feel small or belittle anyone.  This was the new teaching.  He would not let Himself get caught up in the games of the local authorities who had a power of this world and believed they needed to protect it.  His authority came from the genuine love He had for all God’s people.  His compassion was a part of every word He spoke.  He would speak of how the Kingdom of God is different.  It is a kingdom of forgiveness, a kingdom of surrender, a kingdom of self-giving rather than self-righteousness.

The Jesus I have come to know in my life, in my relationship with Him is a gentle healer who speaks most harshly to the devil and to evil and its surrounding darkness, while having love for His enemy and a sinner like me.  When we know this Jesus, we realize the maturity of this world will always be flawed and our expectations of it must take into account what the authority of Jesus is asking of us.

Embrace and allow yourself to be embraced by the One who has this kind of authority.

Father John Ouper