Authority

Sermon: Authority

With great humility and vulnerability my sermon manuscript for Sunday 1/29/2012.

Gospel Text: Mark 1:21-28

The Holy Gospel According to St. Mark First Chapter.

21They (Jesus and his Disciples) went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he (Jesus) entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his (Jesus) teaching, for he (Jesus)  taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “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.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He (Jesus) commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

The Gospel of our Risen Lord.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ.

This morning we dive right into scripture. Open your bibles to Mark 1… This is fitting for us this morning because in Mark we read that everything happens Immediately… Immediately Jesus… heals…  Immediately… Jesus… preaches Immediately… Jesus… went from this place to that…and so forth and so on…

So let us follow suit… we read immediately… Jesus… from baptism to temptation to calling disciples… he is washed… fed and has gathered… for his ministry…. In Luke’s Gospel it takes five chapters to get to this point…. The author of Mark is hurrying us along… The author wants us to quickly get to the main focus of the gospel… the cross and empty tomb… but in our haste to get to Easter morning… we easily miss some important moments in the life and ministry of Christ.

I want us to look down at verse 27… this verse is where we see that Jesus is set apart from all others… The bystanders looking at Jesus, watching Jesus heal this man… They were saying to themselves… What is this? A new teaching… WITH AUTHORITY…. The Greek here is Ex.ooo.see.ad.so… to be the master of… to have full and entire authority…

Underline in your Bibles the phrase or write it down…. New teaching – Authority

Jesus was unlike any of his time… not only could Jesus talk the talk… We read in Luke 2:46-47… as a young boy… Jesus was found in the temple sitting with the teachers, asking questions and astounding everyone who was there…   You see many in 1st century Israel time could speak the word of God…. We have a book full of the prophets whom God chose to speak and act through…. These prophets could interpret scriptures… and preach with the best of them… some even performed miracles…. but Jesus… he was different…. not only could he interpret scriptures and preach… he could command the spirits and heal the sick… we read that this new authority moving through Jesus causes him to act in a way that sets him apart from other prophets and healers of his time … which shows that his life is in line with the will of God.

Jesus is different… than any other who came before him…. As the Son of God… his life is completely in line with God’s Will… Jesus speaks the will of God even as a young boy and lives the will of God out as we read this morning and throughout the gospels… his life is an open conduit for God’s infinite power to flow… by the shear fact that Jesus is the Son of God, he is given the authority to act in the Kingdom…

Remember Jesus told his disciples in the verses above… Come follow me…. Which means Watch me, learn what I do and say, Imitate everything that you see, DO WHAT I DO… So in this moment Jesus is teaching his disciples… that from now on… they will begin to talk the talk and walk the walk… they too will be able to act with the authority of God…

We can easily and typically get caught in the nouns and the actions of what we read in scripture… Sure… Jesus heals someone with a demon… We get caught up in the questions of who is he, what just happened and how did he do that… and what does this mean?   We often don’t acknowledge that the disciples and the bystanders are point out that something is different… that something is new… There is more to this text than just an exorcism and healing…

If we move beyond the words and actions that we read… we can ask ourselves what is happening underneath this text… what is unfolding right in front of these new disciples both in the book and seated hear today…

Is Jesus is showing them and us…at the very beginning of his public ministry… that as you align yourself with the Will of God… this new kind of authority is able to freely flow through your life… because you are a child of God… washed and called …. God gives you access to the authority to act in the Kingdom… This authority is tied tightly to our identity as Children of God… This is the same authority Jesus spoke and acted from … as you open yourself to your identity as a Child of God… as a Disciples of Jesus… you open yourself up to the work of the Spirit… the breath of God…. the will of God… As you open yourself up to the will of God, God is able to flow through your life… and begin to bring about the kingdom… through you…

How do you open yourself up… how do we follow so closely to Jesus that we are covered with the dust of his feet… We make time in our life… to be in prayer and reading scripture… we worship with God’s people… we spend time with people we love talking about our faith in Jesus… Where two or three gather… I will be with you… promises Jesus…  All of these places are how and where  we listen for God to speak in our life… so that we can open our hearts and our ears to listen to God.

Opening ourselves up… means not being pulled down by the monotony or busyness of life… We need to observe, look, listen, and pay attention what is happening around us…who is in our life… what are we doing with our life… where do we spend the majority of our time… these are questions that only you can answer…

As you begin to observe you may want to write down what you see, think, and feel… you can reflect on the important impact moments in your life by asking the question what is God asking me to do or say… and what am I going to do about it…

To ignore what God is calling you to say or do… is to ignore or live outside the will of God… to listen… to say here I am lord… is to live into the will of God…

If this is too hard… if your life is so clouded and full… and you cannot see or feel clearly where God is calling you… then spend time reflecting on the baptismal liturgy found on page 227 in the ELW… is it here you can reflect on and abide with the promises that God makes to you and the promises that you make to God…. Because when life gets hard… when bad things happen and it is easy to lose sight of our God…when our world gets dark and scary then we must turn toward our identity and be reminded of Who and whose we are as children of God… we must be reminded that through our identity we have access to Gods power and peace… grace and hope…

The gospel message for us today is that in our identity as children of God… as disciples of Jesus Christ… we have access to amazing authority… not as the world defines or gives… but authority that comes from God… which means we, you and me, have the ability to bring the kingdom of God near this side of the second coming…… not for our own building up or for our own Glory… Jesus never does anything that brings him glory… rather… his life leads ultimately to his death on a cross and the glory of God is shown through the empty tomb…. So too the same is with us… we are to pour our life out… not for our own good… rather we are called to lose our life… so that the glory of God might shine through us…

So may you become in tune with God’s call in your life… May you live into the will of God and allow God to work through you… May you surrender your life, your will to the will of God… to the life that God wants you to live…

Thanks be to God

May the Lords name be praised by my words, meditations, and deeds.

In the name of the Father, Son and + Holy Spirit. Amen

 

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