These days with Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., etc., there is no shortage of voices for us to hear representing the entire political spectrum. The big question to ask, is by what authority do they speak? Also, why do we grant them the authority to speak for us and command our attention? Does the authority arise from a charismatic personality? Does it offer easy answers to complex problems that we really don’t want to work on in life? Does authority come from affirming our cultural biases, racial fears or political leanings? What is authoritative speech?
Jesus entered a synagogue and began teaching. The people were astounded by how Jesus taught with authority unlike the scribes. A second response came from a man with an unclean spirit outing Jesus as “Jesus of Nazareth” and “Holy One of God.” What was an evil spirit doing in the synagogue? The text doesn’t say but it could be a reference to the scribes. Anyway, Jesus commanded silence from and cast the unclean spirit out. The people were amazed at the authority of Jesus’ words over the unclean.
What made Jesus’ words have authority was that they spoke directly to the unclean in their midst. The scribes knew the Scriptures inside and out. My suspicion is they used the Scriptures to support the status quo and overlook the unclean spirit that resides in our human institutions, even the synagogue (church). Jesus spoke directly to the unclean and called it out. His word had authority.
Before us is the option to choose what is going to speak with authority to us. Will we opt for the words that allow the unclean to still remain? Will we hear the word from Jesus that calls out the unclean? If we choose the latter then we need to be ready because the unclean won’t leave easily as the evil spirit sent the man into convulsions. Yet, this is the only way for us to know freedom that is heaven granted.
Jesus’ authority calls out the unclean in us. He calls out our prejudice toward others, the noose hung to intimidate, threats of violence to political foes, the lies and deception, the list is endless. The result will be like those in attendance that day in the synagogue, we will be amazed. We’ll know Jesus’ authority to see us free.