3 – The authority of Christ
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he 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. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
- Sabbath: The seventh day of the week, when the Jews would rest from their work and go to the local synagogue to praise God. Our Saturday.
- Synagogue: A building where the Jews met to worship.
- Scribes: Jewish religious leaders
- Unclean spirit: One of the bad angels who followed Satan and turned against God
- Holy: A person or thing that has been set aside to serve God
What do you think it cost these disciples to follow Jesus Christ?
If someone tells you to do something, what will make you listen and obey them?
There is one word that helps us to understand what is happening here in these verses – authority. We are more likely to listen to someone if they have authority. For example, it is fairly certain that most of us would listen to what a policeman says. When King Jesus speaks, not only does he come with a message from God, but he has also the authority of God himself. We see this firstly in the way he calls Simon, Andrew, Peter and John to become his disciples. Without questioning him, they respond straight away and obey. Although they didn’t know what to expect, and although following Jesus meant leaving their work and even their families, they saw that they had to listen to Jesus Christ.
Then, as he was teaching people in the synagogue, they were able to see that there was something different about him and the way that he explained the word of God to them. The same authority is at work again when Jesus deals with the unclean spirit. The unclean spirit knew very well who Jesus Christ was, and it had no choice but to obey that which Jesus commanded.
This reminds us that everybody will one day see and acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ. But, as we have seen with the unclean spirit, understanding who Jesus is does not mean that we have repented and believed the good news.
Are there things in our lives we must turn our backs on in order to follow Jesus?
As they hear about the amazing things Jesus was doing, all the people were talking about him. Are we as keen to share with other people what Jesus has done in our lives?
that God will give you humility to accept that he has authority over the whole world and over your life. Ask him to help you not to be proud, but to obey him in everything he asks, no matter what the cost.