“With authority and power he commands”

Jesus shows us how to use authority with love. We read about it in Luke 4:31-37.

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“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!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

Twice in this passage Luke attributes the word “authority” to Our Lord Jesus Christ. He says that Jesus speaks with authority and that he acts with authority. Jesus is the Son of God and He has authority over everything on Earth, from the humans who hear His words to the demons who inhabit people. And from other Gospel passages, we know that He acts with authority over the Earth itself. He changes water into wine. He calms storms, even walks on water. Jesus tells us in other Gospel passages that if we but had faith we could move actual mountains, and with His authority and command He could do that, too.

But what is interesting about the Gospels is that despite Jesus’ authority, He never uses it except to do good for others. He doesn’t cause floods. He doesn’t create earthquakes. He doesn’t make people sick or lame or blind. Instead, he heals the sick, enables the lame to walk, makes the blind to see. He even expels demons and brings the dead back to life.

For all those who warn that God is punishing the world with natural disasters for this sin or that or that God hates this sinner or that sinner, Jesus shows  us that’s simply not true. Jesus shows us that God is about love, not about hate; about healing, not about destroying; about saving, not about killing. And He does so with authority.

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