The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Mark 1:22
A year or two ago a friend offered me a ride in his custom Corvette. That machine was beautiful to look at, impressive to sit in. Riding a few inches off the ground, my friend put that contraption through its paces.
In first gear I was thrown back into the seat. In second gear it felt like the g-force was stretching my face, just like that of the astronauts during a blastoff. In third gear we blew by an 18-wheeler like he was standing still.
It was fantastic!
Then, when we were doing about 1,000 miles an hour (I may be exaggerating there), we came up on a parked police vehicle. The vette slowed down. The 18-wheeler slowed down. Everybody slowed down. And that's the point. That vette had power. That 18-wheeler, with a full load and a big diesel engine, had power.
But that parked police car, it had authority.
There are in this world a great many groups, individuals and organizations that have power. They have the financial, political or logical clout to impress us, seduce us and intimidate us.
But when it comes to authority, that's different.
It's different because when things are said and done, all of us have an authority -- one very special authority -- who stands head and shoulders above the rest. His is the voice to whom we listen; He is the Person in whom we will place our confidence.
The evangelist Mark records a day when Jesus was teaching, and the people who heard Him recognized His message came with a unique authority: an authority unlike anything they had heard before.
True, like us they had known some brilliant people, some fast-thinking, shrewd, knowledgeable people. But none of those people could compare with the words they heard coming out of Jesus' mouth.
Mark's event is not the only time such a thing happened. There are other situations when Jesus' authority was obvious. When Jesus cast out demons, His authority was noted; when He stilled a storm, His authority was obvious. And when He died, yes, even in dying, His authority could not be hidden. Listen carefully and you will hear the calloused Roman centurion confess: "... 'Truly Jesus is the Son of God'" (Matthew 27:54b).
But you, my friends, have been blessed to see more than a Man do miracles or die a noble death.
You have been there to see Jesus rise from the dead. In that moment the ultimate power and authority of God did for you what you could never dream of accomplishing: Jesus defeated death and He did it for you. Thanks be to God that we have such a blessed Authority, who is bringing us to heaven.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, this world has produced many who lay claim to having authority and power. I give thanks that You are the ultimate authority in my life. Grant me the grace to place all other pretenders in their appropriate position and place. In Your Name, I offer this prayer. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries