February 1, 2009
Jesus went into Capernaum, and on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 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!” The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commends even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28)
In this passage from Mark’s gospel we have Jesus teaching and healing. In both cases his authority was evident. When someone has authority, we usually think they have power and control; they are in charge of things. That seems true of Jesus in this passage from Mark. But a more important meaning of authority when Jesus taught and healed was that he drew upon the presence of God deep within him to say and do what he said and did, what God sent him to say and do. He was real. He was genuine. He wasn’t phony. Have you read the book The Velveteen Rabbit? It is a good story about what is real and why. The rabbit in the story is real because of something crucial. What is it?
Read or re-read The Velveteen Rabbit. Think about Jesus and how true to himself he was. We are followers, disciples of Jesus. To be good disciples we must be real and truly who God made us to be. Pray to Jesus that you may be truly yourself, the person God made you to be, the person God loves very much.