From the Well - 1/25/2018

Ruins of the Synagogue at Capernaum

Ruins of the Synagogue at Capernaum

Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV)
21 They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24 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." 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." 28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

There once was a little boy who asked, “Dad did you go to church every Sunday when you were a little Boy?”  “Yep, I sure did.  I went to church every Sunday,” the father replied.  “Well,” said the boy, “I bet it won’t do me any good either.”

It's painfully obvious that the church's teachings were not an authority in this father's life. Therefore, the young boy had no expectation of the churches influence in his decisions, life-style, career path, or future family life.

We may come to church every Sunday. If we are not at Clemmons United Methodist, we may listen to a service on the radio. We may watch a service from the previous Sunday on the Clemmons UMC website, read the Upper Room devotional, or glimpse at a web-based devotional. But if we are not attempting to live as disciplined Christians every day, then we are not allowing Jesus Christ to have authority in our lives.

When Jesus spoke in the synagogue in his home town, the scriptures tell us that the people were amazed. They even asked, “Is this Joseph’s son?” In other words, what’s the son of a carpenter doing preaching and teaching in the synagogue? Only the educated were allowed. And, yet, our scripture tells us that Jesus taught “As one having authority.”

Ultimately, the religious gatekeepers were profoundly threatened by Jesus because he taught as one with authority. People just naturally wanted to follow Jesus because of who he was. You can well imagine how much of a threat this was to the powerful people.

The powerful people couldn’t attack his character or his teaching without angering his many followers. So they went after his authority. Jesus had no right to teach, to lead, or preach. Jesus was from Nazareth not Jerusalem. Jesus wasn’t born into the right family. Jesus was a troublemaker. But Jesus the troublemaker had authority over evil and Jesus had authority among those who followed.

Will you allow Christ to have ultimate authority in your life? Think about it.

See you in worship this Sunday.

Matthew