31 August 2010

Power Incarnate...

The synagogue at Capernaum.

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath; and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, "Ah! 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." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
- St. Luke 4:31-37
The people at Capernaum were astonished at Jesus' power, and no wonder. They were well-accustomed to people who claimed they could exorcise demons, and they'd use all kinds of incantations, arm-waving, and objects, calling on various powers and personages to try and gain control over the evil presence.

But Jesus' authority was something quite new. When the rabbis taught they supported every statement with quotations. They always said, "There is a saying that . . ." "Rabbi so and so said that . . ." They always appealed to authority. When the prophets spoke, they said, "Thus saith the Lord." Theirs was a delegated authority. When Jesus spoke, he said, "I say to you." He needed no outside authority.  His wasn't a delegated authority.  Jesus Himself was authority, because He is God Incarnate.