He Taught with Authority

Last week we saw Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum. They may have come to see miracles of healing, but it was his teaching that amazed the people.


                  The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught

                  them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

                                                                                           Mark 1:21


What does it mean that he “taught them as one who had authority?” Let’s look at this phrase through the eyes of one of those in the crowd – a fisherman, for instance. Let’s call him Ezra. Ezra fishes all night in the Sea of Galilee. He comes ashore to count the fish and sort them – clean fish in one pile and unclean in another. He mends his nets and sets them out to dry. Then he sleeps a good part of the day. That evening, he goes out again. Some days he may take his fish to particular markets down the shore. Life is pretty much all-things-fish.

On the Sabbath, even fisherman refrain from their work. On this Sabbath, Ezra makes his way to the synagogue along with the others. They all want to see this healer, this miracle worker. Ezra lingers toward the back of the synagogue knowing that he and his fishy-smelling cloak are not always welcome.

The Scripture has been read and the local rabbi says the prayers. Now Jesus begins his teaching. Ezra leans in to hear the teacher, wondering when Jesus will do acts of healing. Instead, Ezra finds himself enthralled with Jesus’ teaching. Jesus doesn’t drone on and on like the other rabbis do. This teaching engages his mind. It penetrates his heart. Jesus doesn’t quote other rabbis in long drawn out verbiage that puts one to sleep and lays heavy burdens on its listeners.

No, this teaching comes through with clarity as though it is coming from God Himself. It is akin to those times when the Lord uses a great speaker to draw us in and touch a needy spot in our lives that yearns for clarification or healing. It’s like those times when we have quiet, meditative prayer and the Lord brings amazing thoughts or leads us to just the right Scripture for that day.

We have a sense of comfort and security in authority, an assurance that this person knows what he is doing, a hope that he can be trusted. It makes it worth coming to the synagogue that day.

But wait until next week when we find out what happens next in this highly-charged Sabbath meeting.


Walking Through the Word


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Exploring the rest of the story.

Welcome to our walk. In the next months, we will explore what might be the rest of the story for various Bible characters.

We won’t drive through or even cycle through; we will walk through the Scriptures pausing to look not just at the main characters, but also the characters with bit parts. We’ll ask questions, like, “What is your back story? What have you suffered? What brought you into this moment?”

We may see ourselves as we shuffle along––see our pride, our impatience, our victories, or our pain. Let’s decide now to see with new eyes, to catch unheard words, to feel the angst or the mounting anticipation of these characters who were real people, not just fictional characters in a story.

We will take a look at many people including Jesus himself. In fact, let’s start with Jesus in Mark 1:21.

21 They [Jesus and a few of His disciples] went to Capernaum,
and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went to the synagogue
and began to teach.


The synagogues in Jesus’ day were used for worship and Torah readings, but mainly for teaching. Teaching was Jesus’ specialty. But He was not just your run-of-the-mill teacher.

22 The people were amazed at his teaching.

Oh, don’t you wish people would say that about you? “He’s an amazing preacher.” “She’s an amazing Sunday School teacher.” “Look how they find teaching opportunities in everyday things. What amazing parents they are!”

What captivated the people so? His parables, his stories, his illustrations? Indeed, and how. He used appropriate illustrations the people would understand––fishing stories by the seashore, shepherd stories on the hillside, and farming parables in the small towns.

The people were impressed with Jesus’ miracles of healing. The miracles helped endear Him to the people.

No doubt, He demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit––love, joy, peace, kindness, etc. All these attributes were attractive, but why were they amazed at his teaching?

…because he taught them as one who had authority,
not as the teachers of the law.

Stay tuned for more on this subject next week.