They went to
and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
The people were amazed at his
teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers
of the law. (Mark 1:21-22 NIV) Capernaum
People were eager to talk to Jesus. They would travel to hear him teach. They brought their children to be blessed by Jesus. They sought healing for both their bodies and their souls. They loved to bask in his mercy and to see him confront injustice. Jesus spoke with power and truth and his words changed lives.
Jesus taught his disciples to speak, too. He taught them to love Scripture because it is the word of God that will transform lives. He taught them to pray – using their words to strengthen their love for and relationship with God. He taught them to teach – sharing the treasures of God with people using simple words and stories to convey deep and complex truth.
People recognized that Jesus’ words had authority, and was not like the teaching of the religious leaders. There is great irony in this because the religious leaders liked to point out that Jesus lacked authority – he was not from their schools or institutions! Jesus had a totally different kind of authority.
Jesus spoke with the authority of someone who knew what he was talking about. His ideas about God were not theories based on a combination of Scripture and philosophy, rather he spoke about God as one who had spent lots of time together!
Jesus spoke with the authority of someone who lived out what he taught. One of the most devastating things that Jesus said concerning the religious leaders was this: “You must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach!” In contrast, Luke describes his gospel with these words: “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…” (Acts 1:1). One of the most attractive things about Jesus is that he precisely practiced all that he taught!
Jesus spoke with compassion to all those who had been beaten up by others or beaten down by life. Jesus spoke with mercy to all those who knew the weight of their guilt and dreamed of forgiveness. Jesus spoke with hope to all those who had given up on life and faith. Jesus spoke with challenge to all those who promoted self over others and thought themselves somehow superior. Jesus spoke with anger to those who degraded God’s temple and robbed God’s people. Jesus, hanging on the cross, looked around at the soldiers who gambled for his clothes, the religious leaders who took pleasure in mocking him, the people who simply bought into the Roman/Sanhedrin story that he was a criminal, and the criminals who were mocking him as they died together, spoke with great difficulty: “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
When Jesus spoke the world changed! He empowers his disciples with world changing words as well. Let’s use them!