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.

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