“Jesus went down to
A Man walks off the dusty streets of a rural town and stands in its assembly hall. He reads from ancient writings in a stentorian voice, so that all can hear. Then He gives commentary about what He just read. But what comes from His mouth is unlike what the people usually heard. His words have gravitas. His statements carry the sense that what was told centuries before is completely true—true in the here and now. The people listen, enthralled by what the Man says because it hits them in their hearts, minds, and souls.
This is the depiction which the Gospel Writer gives about Jesus in the Capernaum Synagogue. Jesus teaches the people of that Galilean town. And what the people hear emanating from His mouth amazes them: “They were astonished at His teaching, for His word possessed authority.” Jesus’ teaching was unlike what the
“They were astonished at His teaching, for His word possessed authority.” The authority was there because the Author of the Scriptures actually was standing in their midst. They were hearing the Incarnate Word of God speaking the Word of God. Jesus was speaking from His heart, mind, and soul to the hearts, minds, and souls of the Capernaites. And with that word came the full authority of the Lord God Himself. The faithful people of
As the people of
What is this Word, indeed! It is what Jesus is. Speaking and commanding from His essence, from His being, Jesus has dominion over the unclean spirits. And His authority spills out into the streets of
The amazement and joy which the Capernaites had led them to welcome Jesus. The Gospel-Writer records: “When it was day, [Jesus] departed and went to a desolate place. And the people sought Him and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them.” The faithful of
Everything that happened in
But Jesus’ statement is vital: “I must preach the good news of the
“The good news of the
This is what happens as the
And so in this, your assembly hall, you may hear and be amazed. You have Jesus’ preaching and teaching repeated to you on Sunday and other days when the faithful of
This is what the authoritative word of Christ brings about. And it is astonishing and amazing. It was amazing enough when it causes visible effects, as it did in
Because Jesus is the Holy One of God, the Son of God, His word accomplishes what it says. Nothing can resist or withstand it. And that Word says that you have benefited by what Christ has done, that you have been made part of the
So you may pray with the Psalmist: “In You, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. . . . Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; You have given the command to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.” His authoritative command has been spoken in your midst. Jesus says that you are His, that you have been saved, that your captors will be cast out. As Jesus speaks—as He speaks again here and now—so it shall be for you, just as it was in
T In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.