21 They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-the Holy One of God!” 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.
Jesus’ authority isn’t a result of being the Messiah. His authority came from heaven through the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit that resides in those who have received the gift of faith. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that Christians are to just go around yelling at people because they have been given authority. Rather, it means that we need to better understand the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and grow in our relationship with Him and our authority will flow from that. We don’t make or take authority; we receive it in the capacity by which we are able to use it properly.
The big deal is that God’s work through Jesus has allowed us to mature spiritually from knowledge and religious practices to a relationship with Him that results in an existence powered by a supernatural force. This is why the crowd was amazed. Before Jesus arrived on the scene, man’s relationship with God was more about being pious and following rules. How ironic that from Jesus’ ministry on earth we have once again created such a system that really stunts our spiritual growth.
If our relationship with God is true, then things like what we are reading in Mark will be normal to us. Even if we haven’t experienced it before we will understand that it is the work of God and we won’t be surprised about it. How many of us read this passage and gloss over it because we haven’t seen it happen in our lives? How many of us skip over the significance of this passage because it “doesn’t happen anymore”? How many times have we missed opportunities like this in our lives because we truly refuse to believe it is possible? This type of activity doesn’t fit into our religion. There is no room in religion for extraordinary events and there is certainly no room for an untrained teacher to come and start teaching with more authority than others.
Jesus rocked our natural world with His ministry. Jesus revealed to us that it isn’t about rules, piety, or being good enough. It is about connecting with God through the Holy Spirit to live in the Kingdom of God. Read the passage again and let its implications sink in. Examine yourself and ask, “What part of this do I don’t believe is possible today?” Then recognize the awesomeness of God.