Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Luke 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,  and he cried out in a loud voice, “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!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”


The Scripture passage above has one main teaching purpose - to show that Jesus had authority. 

What is authority?

It is the ability to command things - and be obeyed! Many people, even with titles, bark orders and no one obeys. Not much authority there.

Authority also means the ability to get things done. The man needed to be freed from demons, and, in the end, he was indeed freed from demons. Jesus gets things done. Demons obey Him.


It strikes me how less concerned the Lord is with titles.

For many Jews, Jesus enjoyed no titles. He was not a Jewish priest or levite; not a scribe, not a member of the Sanhedrin. He was the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. Not even worth mentioning.

Even when someone in the Gospel story above wants to throw out a title, "the Holy One of God," Jesus tells them, the demons, to shut up.

Someone once called Jesus "good teacher," (Luke 18:19) and Jesus questions the man, "Why do you call me 'good?'" Jesus isn't all that moved by the mere mention of titles. He wants to make sure we understand what we're saying when we call Him by a title.

"You call me teacher and lord, and rightly so," Jesus tells the Apostles (John 13:13), but do you understand what you're saying when you call me those things? If the teacher bends down and washes feet, then so must you, the student.

The Lord even warned us that getting His title(s) right doesn't mean we get saved in the end. "Not everyone who calls me 'lord, lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 7:21)" What will save us? "Doing the will of my Father." 

Titles are not the Lord's focus. What title can we even given the Lord? Is it we who name Him? Or rather is it God who names us? Does man name God? Or does God name us, giving us His own name Christ-ian, just as He changed Abram's name, Jacob's name and Simon's name. What do we call Him but titles that He Himself has given us. "I am who am." "I am the Good Shepherd." "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Jesus is fine with titles. He even informs us which titles we are to use. But His focus is on getting things done (saving us) and in gaining our obedience to His authority, because it is an authority that saves us.

And isn't it true that we know a few people who have few or no titles at all, but who have great authority? People respect them, listen carefully to their advice, follow their example? That is authority.

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