November 9, 2011
Teaching with Authority
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Jesus amazed people with His teaching. He illustrated His teaching with miracles, spoke with authority, revealed the plans and purposes of God, communicated love, and commanded everyone to respond to His message, forcing people to confront the spiritual reality surrounding them, and to make decisions about eternity. Today, we shall study a passage about Jesus training His disciples through His teaching in Capernaum.
Capernaum. Jesus did not spend all of His time in Jerusalem, the chief city of the spiritual world. Instead, He ministered in Galilee, and particularly in the area around Capernaum (Mark 1:21). In Galilee of the Gentiles, a great light dawned upon both the Gentiles and Jews sitting in darkness (Matthew 4:12-17; Isaiah 9:1-2).
Teaching in the Synagogue. In Mark 1:21, Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath. We know from the Old Testament that God commanded His children to rest on the seventh day, just as He had rested from His work on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 20:8). Notice too that the people met together not in a temple, but in the synagogue. Jesus customarily entered synagogues on the Sabbath, to read, preach and teach the Scriptures (Luke 4:16-22). The synagogue at Capernaum provided just such a place for Jesus to enter and begin teaching on the Sabbath. You may recall that a centurion in the Roman army built the synagogue for the Jews in Capernaum (Luke 7:5).
Amazed at His Teaching. The disciples and the other people gathered in the Capernaum synagogue were amazed at the teaching of Jesus (Mark 1:22). This word “amazed” (“ἐξεπλήσσοντο“) means to be astonished, and conveys a sense of awe and difference by way of contrast. Jesus amazed people with His miracles as well–healing the deaf and making the mute to speak (Mark 7:37). Jesus will draw sharp distinctions between the actual commandments of God in the Old Testament, and the traditions of men trying to interpret those passages.
Teaching with Authority. Jesus taught as the author of the Bible, the Creator of the world, the King of all creation, and He knew the thoughts and intentions of every heart in His audience. He not only knew the Old Testament, He wrote the Old Testament. Therefore, when He taught, Jesus taught with the full authority of God, for He was God in the flesh. In contrast, the scribes studied the Old Testament and the traditions of men. In Mark 9:11, the disciples recognized the scribes as authorities on the Old Testament. Likewise, in Mark 12:35, Jesus refers to the saying of the scribes concerning Christ being the son of David. The scribes studied the Old Testament, but Jesus had to correct their teaching which substituted the traditions of men for the commandments of God (Mark 2:23-3:6; Mark 7:1-23; Mark 10:2-12). Notice too that the scribes, despite their careful study of Scripture, rejected Jesus as the Christ (Mark 8:31). Jesus prophesied that He would be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, who would condemn Him to death (Mark 10:33). During His preaching ministry, the scribes were afraid of Jesus and His teaching, which astonished the crowds, so that the scribes and chief priests plotted to destroy Jesus (Mark 11:18). The scribes came to Jesus while He walked in the temple and questioned Him about His authority (Mark 11:27-33). The chief priests and scribes sought to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him, but they feared the crowds might riot during the festival (Mark 14:1). The scribes (along with the chief priests and elders) sent people to arrest Jesus (Mark 14:43) and participated in the religious proceedings against Jesus (Mark 14:53). Ultimately, the scribes consulted with the chief priests, elders and the entire Council, and delivered Jesus to Pilate, who ordered His crucifixion (Mark 15:1). During the crucifixion of Jesus, the scribes came with the chief priests to mock Jesus (Mark 15:31). With the scribes, we see that men may devote their lives to the study of Scripture, and still never know Christ, but furiously reject Him and lead many people astray. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit, who teaches us the words of Christ Jesus, so that we may hold fast to our Savior, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
So we learn more about the amazing teaching of Jesus today.
● Jesus taught in the synagogues.
● When Jesus taught, people were amazed at His teaching.
● Jesus taught with authority, unlike the scribes who never knew God and failed to recognize Jesus as the the Son of God, Immanuel, and the Savior of the World.
Application for Today
As I read my Bible today, I will remember that Jesus taught with authority. He amazed the crowds with His teachings, because He did not teach like the scribes. He taught God’s truth, as God in the flesh. When I read the Word of God today, I pray the I will be astonished afresh with the words of Jesus, and live just as wants me to live. Will you be amazed by Jesus today?