Jesus’ Authority Past and Present

[31] And Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, [32] and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. (Luke 4:31–32)

Notice that Jesus’ hearers were “astonished” by the fact that he taught with authority. Jesus wasn’t like other religious teachers, justifying their interpretations by quoting rabbis who came before them. Jesus was the authority.  

The experience of these first century Jews has a parallel today. Many people are surprised or even shocked when the Bible is presented as authoritative, as the sole source and norm for faith and life. 

In some cases, they are surprised because they trust in counterfeit religions or false gods. Others are shocked because they believe truth is relative, so there can be no universal authority. There are even people who profess faith in Christ who argue the Bible is just one of many religious sources of knowledge.

Those who are astonished today that the Bible is authoritative have the same needs as those first century Jews in and around the city of Capernaum. They need Jesus. Jesus, who convicts us of our sin and sinful nature. Jesus, who died and rose for the forgiveness of that sin and sinfulness. Jesus, who creates and sustains faith. Jesus, who develops within believers trust in the Scriptures. 

If you’re frustrated by living in a society that relegates the Scriptures to just one of many old sacred texts, I’m with you. I, too, am angered when some Christians treat the Bible as if it’s just another man-made document. 

Our best response is to take our frustrations and concerns to God in prayer. It is to come together for mutual support and encouragement. And it is to share Jesus all the more with those who do not yet accept the authority of the Word. 

(A Second Look devotions are weekly written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS).

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