And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. — Mark 1:22
Even wearing three-inch heels, Mrs. Smith was still a bit shy of five feet tall. However, despite being short of stature, she was a woman of authority. Fellow teachers noticed that her students learned well and her classes seemed well-disciplined.
My husband’s classroom was next door to a habitually unruly fourth grade class, and often their disturbances could be heard through the walls. Noise was a daily occurrence. One day Mrs. Smith came as the substitute teacher for the rowdy fourth graders. My husband heard her as she stopped the incoming students at the door. “If you are here to work, you may come in,” she said. “If you don’t plan to work, don’t even come through the door.” All the students (many as tall as the teacher of the day) entered quietly. There was no sound through the walls, and my husband marveled at their behavior in the halls that day.
It was not Mrs. Smith’s size that influenced the children’s behavior. Rather, they sensed her authority and knew she would not hesitate to notify the principal of students who were disruptive. Mrs. Smith knew that she had the authority of the principal behind her to fortify her edicts.
The word authority begins with the root word author, which means “one who originates or gives existence.” We usually think of an author in regard to a written work such as a book or poem. John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” No wonder the people at the synagogue recognized the authority in Jesus’ teaching — He was the Word, the Truth, and the Son of God! What greater authority could there be?
The Gospel, which means “good news,” stands out from all other news or teachings. Many new converts say things like: “The Gospel message was suddenly so clear,” “I could feel God speaking to me,” “My doubts were gone,” “The Bible came alive,” or “My life changed completely.” These are all ways of saying one recognizes the authority of Jesus Christ. Authority is the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior. Authority can be a convincing force.
Notice also that the people recognized Christ’s authority in teaching because it was not like the teaching of the scribes. In other words, evidence of authority can be recognized by what is not done as well as by what is done.
We can trust in the authority of Christ over our lives and plans because He is always in agreement with the Almighty Father. Consider what an advantage this is to us as Christians — we can know that He has the power and authority to orchestrate what is best for us. However, in order for Him to work freely in our lives, we must submit to His authority. Are you submitted to Christ’s authority today?
A group of ten Jewish men above the age of twelve was sufficient to organize a synagogue. The synagogue was the place where Jewish people read Scriptures, prayed, and worshiped God. The services were led by laymen. It was customary to ask rabbis visiting in the area to read the Scriptures and teach, so Jesus had freedom to minister there. Services were held on two weekdays as well as the Sabbath.
Jesus possessed more than just authority regarding the Scriptures; He had the heart of a servant. Though He felt it important to teach God’s Word, He could not turn away the many who came for physical healing and deliverance from demons.
Verse 22 mentions the astonishment of the people and verse 27 mentions their amazement at the authority of Christ. In verse 38, He reminded them of His true purpose, which was to preach in as many towns as possible. Possibly that was the reason He told people to refrain from telling others about their healings. He knew many more would come for healing and the time required would further delay His preaching ministry. Yet, He could not refuse the hopeless cases such as the leper in verse 40. He knew His earthly ministry would be brief.
The scribes mentioned in verse 22 were learned Jewish teachers. They are mentioned in the Bible from the time of ancient Israel. They studied Scriptures and served as copyists, editors, and jurists. Often they quoted well-known rabbis to give themselves more authority. Jesus did not need to quote others; He had a complete and exact understanding of the Scriptures and their applications.
Jewish exorcists used magic and wordy incantations in an attempt to cast out demons. However, Jesus spoke only a few words (verse 25) and the unclean spirit came out, although not without doing as much harm as possible.
Jesus was on the earth as a man and He became very weary, but His habit of prayer (verse 35) kept Him in unity with the Father’s plan. Jesus made this time of communion a priority, even when it meant going without sleep.
In verse 44, Jesus reminded the leper He had just healed of the ritual required of cleansed lepers in Moses’ time. These details can be found in Leviticus 14:1-32.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The introduction of the Son of God
C. The authority of the Son of God (1:21-45)
1. Over demons (1:21-28)
a. His authority revealed (1:21-22)
b. His authority demonstrated (1:23-26)
c. His authority realized (1:27-28)
2. Over sickness (1:29-31)
a. The time (1:29)
b. The illness (1:30)
c. The double miracle (1:31)
3. Over diverse infirmities (1:32-34)
4. Over the disciples (1:35-39)
a. The time (1:35)
b. The desire of the disciples (1:36-37)
c. The desire of Christ (1:38)
d. Summary of Christ’s ministry (1:39)
5. Over leprosy (1:40-45)
a. The leper’s request (1:40)
b. Christ’s response (1:41-42)
c. Christ’s instruction (1:43-44)
d. The result of the miracle (1:45)
Living under the authority of Jesus Christ brings great benefits, and is a testimony to those who are watching our lives.