Luke 4:31 (Jesus) went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32 They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Let us alone! 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.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm.
v.32 describes Jesus’ teaching as “with authority”. On one hand “authority” can refer to the fact that Jesus doesn’t shy from offering his own interpretations of the scriptures rather than citing other peoples’ interpretations. “You have heard it said…. but I say to you….”. That kind of thing was unheard of in Jesus’ day.
But another understanding of authority is illustrated in v.33 and following. Luke interprets authority for us by pointing out Jesus’ capacity to cast out demons. The spirits submit to Jesus’ spiritual authority.
I’m reminded of Matthew 28 in which Jesus says to his disciples “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” as he sends them out to continue the work he had begun. And, of course, as they went along the did the things Jesus did – cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead.
Is that kind of authority still available to us? Some Christians say “no”. They believe the the powers given by God to the early Christians ceased once the church was established. I disagree. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve seen this kind of spiritual authority first hand. So if this authority is still possible, why do we see it so little?
Lord Jesus, give us grace to lay hold of your authority and use it for your glory. Amen.