Mark 1:21-22 - And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He [Jesus] entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
As a pastor, I drive a sensible and dependable vehicle. But when a friend offered me a ride in his Corvette, I jumped at the opportunity. The car was stunning to look at and, after some squirming, impressive to sit in. Riding only a few inches off the ground, my friend put the machine through its paces. In first gear, I was thrown back. In second gear, I was firmly compressed into my seat. In third gear, I understood why the Corvette is a sports car with a lot of muscle.
Before long, we came upon a parked police car. My friend hit the brakes in a hurry. The 18-wheeler we left in our smoke squealed to find the speed limit. Everybody slowed down, on both sides of the road, which is the point: the Corvette had the power; the 18-wheeler with the big diesel engine had the power, but it was the parked police car that had the authority.
Who is the "authority" in your life? I'm not asking who can make you afraid. A bully may terrorize and a dictator may intimidate, but they should never have the authority. A person's authority should be that individual that he or she respects and honors. And that respect should be given, not because it is demanded or because of some real or imagined compulsion, but because it has been earned.
There is no one who deserves our honor and respect more than Jesus. Those who heard Him here on earth would attest that He taught as one with authority. He taught people to love their enemies and do good to those who persecuted them. He told all who would listen that God wanted people to show their appreciation for His love by how they lived and the sincerity of their hearts—not by the money they put into the temple treasury.
But as important as Jesus' teachings are, His authority is based on much more. Leaving His throne in heaven, Jesus came to earth and substituted Himself for sinners, that means all of us. There was nothing logical about His sacrifice. Nevertheless, because of His suffering, stripes, and crucifixion, all who trust in Him as Savior know that they are forgiven and life eternal is their future. It is the kind of thing that only a loving Lord would do. It's the kind of action that gives Him the authority worthy of our worship.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, Ruler of the universe, teach me to submit to Your wisdom and authority in all that I say and do. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "God's Authority," a devotional by Rev. Dr. Kenneth Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
1. Name three people you would consider an "authority." What kind of authority do they have?
2. Jesus speaks with authority. Why should we listen?
3. How is living according to God's authority helpful to us?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"