"A New Teaching With Authority"
In Mark 1:22 the people in Capernaum were "amazed " by the teaching that went on in their synagogue. The reason for their surprise was that Jesus was not teaching them as the scribes had taught them, but instead, "as one having authority." In v.27-28 we read that the amazement continues as well as a debate over this matter, while "news about Him went out everywhere, into all. . . of Galilee." The reason for all the furor? Well, certainly His healing of the demon possessed man was part of it, but also, they were amazed at this "new teaching with authority." These people were hearing God's will in a way that they had never heard before.
Several years later, as the apostle Paul is equipping other men to teach the gospel of the Kingdom, we see the same principle in action. Titus 2:15 is where the evangelist is admonished to "speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you." The word of God is not some soft substance like toast dipped in milk. It is the "power of God," Romans 1:16. It was/is to be taught "with all authority."
It is common in the religion of our age to hear a watered-down gospel. A gospel that speaks of forgiveness, but neglects to mention the basis upon which that forgiveness is offered. We hear a gospel that speaks of sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice of our surplus, our extra, our leftovers. Is this really a sacrifice at all? Even among God's people it often seems that teaching which demands change, exhortation to activity, or addresses areas of our life in which our light is being dimmed out is "sniffed at," to use the language of the prophets. It is dismissed as just "opinion" or "that preacher's interpretation." The truth is that God's word should be taught "with authority." The world needs to hear the gospel taught in a way that it has never heard before from false teachers who preach for hire. And sometimes, we need
to hear it also. We need to come face to face with that which will cause us to lose our souls.
Does it not appear sometimes as if the only time we get serious about Bible teaching is when we see it pointed at denominational folks and those who need to obey the gospel or learn how to worship God acceptably? We also need to be serious when the "sword of the Spirit" cuts inward. We need to be serious about enslaving compulsions such as selfishness, lust, covetousness, jealousy, greed, and laziness. We need to be concerned about our example and see our influence as we wear the Lord's name. There are habits that we "pickup " which overshadow our words and demonstrate a lack of self-control. Far too often, we allow ourselves to be led by our "feelings" rather than by the instruction which God gives us and pride seems to be a besetting obstacle to spirituality with many. Fornication and adultery are wrong, period. Lying and deceit are sinful. Gossip and idle words, lukewarmness and being a busybody will cause us to miss out on a heavenly home and be lost eternally.
It is important that we not view the things above, and more, as "small things" that God will overlook. He has told us how to live and He expects us to be obedient children. It is not a matter of "interpretation," but of self-discipline and obedience. The religious world, in general, ignores the authority inherent in God's word and
simply overlooks that which God calls sinful. Let us stand, and teach, and live as those who possess a spiritual with the poser to change men's hearts and save their souls. God bless your commitment to His cause.
By Carl (Mac) McMurray
From Expository Files 2.10; October 1995