Astonished and Amazed: Mark 1:21-28


Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 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!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

 

When was the last time you were astonished or amazed? Chances are, it wasn’t at church – was it?

Jesus went into the synagogue and taught. And the people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.Jesus can teach with the authority of God, for He is God. He didn’t interpret and/or speculate, He taught and expounded. Where might we find this authority today?

Well, since we have such an awesome God, He has provided this authority to the Church He founded.

Let us recall the “Great Commission” for a moment. “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:18-20.

First, note that Jesus confirms His authority and then proceeds to give His authority to the Apostles. We see this in  St. John’s gospel, too. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  Jn. 20:21. Isn’t it a great comfort to realize that within Christ’s Church, He has handed down His own authority through Apostolic succession? Directly from Jesus, to His Apostles and down to our Bishops today. Only God could do such an amazing work of preservation! So we can be assured that what the Church has held true for two thousand years has Jesus’ very own authority attached to it. Now, that is astonishing!

Secondly, notice that this authority is to make disciples through baptism and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Obedience to Jesus is essential to be a disciple of Christ. Without obedience to His commands, we fail in living out His call to , “Follow Me“. Thus, we bring a distorted gospel to the people around us, and His authority becomes suspect.

So this week, let us be fully obedient to the authority of the Church. In living out the gospel this way, we become the light of the world. A city on a hill, that all around us can see. This light, of course, is our good works [obedience] that give glory to your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:14,16.

Amen.

 

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