Monday, May 16, 2016

Day 67: Mark 1:21-45 & Psalm 68 - How Did Jesus Demonstrate His Authority?

Today's reading: Mark 1:21-45 & Psalm 68

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How Did Jesus Demonstrate His Authority?

And they were astonished at his teaching,

for he taught them as one who had authority,

and not as the scribes. - Mark 1:22

How do we know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Holy One of God? When Jesus came, He did not just tell people who He was and then say, "Trust me, I'm telling the truth. Really." Many religious leaders have done that. Mohammed and Joseph Smith, the founders of Islam and Mormonism, both made claims to be prophets who received revelation from God, and yet they did nothing to publicly substantiate their claims, to clearly demonstrate their authority. 

So, what did Jesus do? He revealed His authority and the nature of His kingdom by His teaching and His miracles. 

When He taught, He spoke with the authority of the author of the Scriptures and the ruler of the kingdom of God. He spoke clearly, boldly, with authority, power and wisdom. He did not need to rely on the handed-down traditions of the rabbis and He was not trained in rabbinical schools. When the people heard Him teach, they were astonished. They heard His authority, and Jesus' words are remembered and are still astonishing people to this day.

Then, when Jesus was finished teaching, He would demonstrate that His authority was not just a matter of clever words or compelling speech. He showed the people that He was their long-awaited king, publicly and repeatedly. His miracles showed there was no limit to His authority: demons, illnesses, chronic medical conditions, forces of nature, disabilities and even death itself all submitted to His rule. 

We can gain two things from Jesus' clear and public demonstration of His authority: confidence and comfort. We can gain confidence as we understand better that Jesus really is unique in the history of the world. No other religious leader has done the kinds of things Jesus did in such a public manner. Thus, we can know that His authority is unique and ultimate.

We also gain comfort. Jesus still rules with the full authority He demonstrated when He was on earth. This means that nothing can stand against Him or overrule His sovereign care for us, His subjects. In fact, He uses all things for His purposes. He is not lacking in power, wisdom or love in any of His actions toward us. We can rest in the loving arms of our High King and His royal authority! 

Prayer Based on Psalm 68:

O Lord God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, You are supreme above all earthly powers. You reign with absolute sovereignty and majesty. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, far outlasting and outshining the passing kingdoms of men. For thousands of years, your people have trusted in Your promises, have praised Your name and have seen Your power come to our rescue again and again.

O Lord, let the nations know that You are God, Show them Your power and let them tremble in awe of You. Send forth Your kingdom to the ends of the earth through Your missionaries who preach Your Gospel and carry Your kingdom to the ends of the earth.

O Lord, let Your own people worship You with fear and trembling, with holy reverence. We are too flippant, too self-centered, too shallow and too passive in our worship of You. We treat worship as another form of entertainment, but You do not exist for us to have another diversion, another fun experience, You are God Almighty and Your power and glory and wisdom and love know no limits. Let us worship You in holy fear. 

O Lord, cast down Your enemies from before You. May those who oppose You and who seek to destroy Your people and overthrow Your kingdom be frustrated and defeated. Arise among us, drive away the oppressors of Your people, and let Your people delight in you and find our joy in You. You are the Father of the fatherless and the Protector of widows. Care for Your people. Satisfy us in Your loving care, We need You, our Father. In Jesus' name, Amen!   



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