MARK 1:21-27 – And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
THEME OF THE DAY. THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST. There are certain passages of scriptures which cause us to pause and linger long. They are penetrating to the soul demanding our attention and self-examination. One of those passages exists in Luke’s gospel. It is the words of the Lord Jesus in the form of a question, a very serious question . . . “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?’” (Luke 6:46). I want us to sit down together and dig deep into the question. It ties directly into the scripture of the day and the issue of Jesus’ authority in our lives. Let’s begin with a confession. Me first. I confess I know more commands in the Bible than I obey. I think most Christians may say that, at least those who are in good Bible-preaching churches and regularly read their Bibles. And what we cannot do is give ourselves a pass when it comes to being a knowing Christian but lagging behind in being a doing Christian. Go back to Jesus’ question. There is no hint of “cutting us slack” when we do not obey His commands. None. That brings up the core issue in our lives. Why don’t we obey God more thoroughly, consistently, and with zealous passion? I think it is because we really don’t know who we are dealing with in Jesus Christ and His absolute right of authority over us. I know that is a hard saying but a true saying. And what I want to do is show how I believe that is true when it comes to not obeying known commands. If we truly knew Jesus as He is revealed in the Holy Scripture, there would be holy submission to all His commands and a drive within us to obey them with uncompromising zeal. Yet, when we have a picture of Jesus created more in our minds and contemporary Christian culture than cultivated by prayer and His Word, compromise or lack of obedience to known commands easily occurs. And what may be alarming is the ease that we are okay with disobedience, like in the examples below.
God commands us to honor the Lord’s Day and do not forsake the meeting with His people on His Day, yet, how easily we may disobey this command by allowing, even scheduling, worldly events and activities from sports to outings to keep us from church (Hebrews 10:25).
God commands us to love one another with a love that endures all things, believes all things, and forgives all things, yet, how easily we may disobey this command by harboring bitterness, allow fractured relationships, even leave churches or absent ourselves from fellowship over hurt feelings and unforgiving spirits (John 13:34-35; Ephesians 4:32).
God commands us to go into all the world and proclaim His Gospel, yet, how easily we may disobey this command and remain silent in sharing the Gospel out of fear of man (Matthew 28:18-20)
God commands us to be separate from the world and be holy, yet, how easily we may disobey this command by visiting websites that promote carnality, watching movies which feed our flesh, engage in social media with conversations poisoning our souls, or allowing our entertainment and music to create worldly thinking not godly (1 Peter 1:15).
Friends, these commands come from the Authority of the Universe and our lives as Christians. Something is wrong if we are not gripped by our glorious and authoritative Christ making obedience to His commands, all commands, not neglected, ignored or disobeyed. Take time soon and let the question of Jesus do a deep spiritual work in us . . . “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?”
PRAYER: “Lord, help me to daily submit to Your authority over me and that by willful and delightful obedience.”
QUOTE: “How we respond to the authority of Christ in our lives reveals what we know of the biblical Jesus.”