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Authoritative Jesus!

February 2, 2015


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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany     Trinity Lutheran Church

1 February 2015                                      Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +
St. Mark 1:21-28


It’s really shocking. Incredible. Something that you’ve never seen or heard before. Not that a preacher preaches at First Synagogue in Capernaum. But that this Preacher preaches with absolute “authority”! Authoritative and definitive preaching. “Not like the teachers of the law.” This Preacher preaches like no other. His preaching is categorical. Clear-cut. Resounding.


Again, this is thoroughly outrageous. Exceedingly scandalous.  After all, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” (John 7:15). “He just a carpenter!” (Mark 6:3). His family is a bunch of nobodies and deadbeats.


You can just imagine the scathing and hurtful things Capernaum’s circuit counselor and Galilee’s district president say about this Preacher behind his back. “Not qualified in the least,” they would write on private evaluation forms circulated among their cronies. “Not fit to be a preacher! He doesn’t pass the synodical sniff test! Not a team player. He snubs His nose at all our man-made authority. He refuses to be taught by our seal of approval experts. Doesn’t ever attend our synodically endorsed preaching seminars and all our man-made authoritative conferences that provide preachers with the latest sure fire visionary techniques to transform congregations from going-to-hell-maintenance to going-to-heaven-missionally-mega! Let us work on getting the Preacher deposed. No, check that! See to it that Petrocino Pavaratti, Bugsy Batava and Lucky Luciano fit this Preacher with cement golashes. Or better yet, have the boys take Him outside the city gates of Jerusalem and hang Him on a cross. That’ll teach Him! After all, who does this Preacher think He is? Good grief! He preaches/teaches as if He’s God in the flesh!”


Well, the fact of the matter is that … He … is!


The Preacher is the Son of God! His mouth is God’s mouth! His words are divine words from heaven. When you hear Son of God Jesus teaching – you’re hearing – God teaching. So His teaching is with “authority.” The authority of God Himself. Divine authority. “Not like the teachers of the law.”   Let’s not forget that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given” to Jesus (Matthew 28:19)!


His divine authority is revealed in His words. Words that give and do what they say. What He says He does and gives. His authority is to say: “I forgive you. I’m God for you, sinner! My suffering and death counts for your salvation, sinner! My blood is divine blood that cleanses you from all sin. My body is the one and only sacrifice that atones for you – FOR YOUR SALVATION!”


Again, His authority is divine authority. A Good Friday God in the flesh authority. Doing what it takes to save you His sinners.


And you are! Forgiven, that is. Saved. Redeemed. Because His word of forgiveness gives what He says. Trust His promise of forgiveness in your Baptism, the absolution, the preaching of the Gospel and in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus doesn’t lie. His preaching is certain and sure.


Then, all of a sudden, another incredible event takes place. Showing you that Jesus brings all divine authority FOR YOU and FOR YOUR SALVATION.


Naturally, then, Preacher / Teacher Jesus has authority over your bitterest enemy! He has authority over your most dangerous adversary that seeks to devour you and take you to his hellacious lair. Jesus has all authority over Satan and all his hellish demonic power. Not even a group of Satan’s henchmen stand a chance in the presence of all authority in heaven and on earth God-in-the-flesh FOR YOU Jesus. When Jesus shows up to preach, Satan has no authority. Satan’s reign is over. Satan’s house is plundered.


You are given a concrete example in the text. Proof. Behold, a man in the synagogue is possessed by demons.


In the synagogue? In church? Really? Yes, indeed! That’s primarily where Satan sets up shop. In the church! To oppose Christ! To be Antichrist! Using anyone he can in the pews, the pulpit, the rostrum or church headquarters to stand against and combat Savior of sinners God in the flesh Jesus who has come to die for you. That’s Satan’s cup of tea: to go up against God’s Son, the Christ.


All hell breaks loose in the middle of the sermon! Satan raises his ugly head when Son of God Jesus preaches. “Just then a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out: ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’”


Whoa! The evil spirit gives a shout out! Leaks out the truth about this Preacher named Jesus! He is the Holy One of God! And therefore the demon’s adversary! Capable of unleashing the almighty power of God against himself and his red dragon master Satan!


“Shut up! Be muzzled you evil demon! You’re not allowed to preach here! You’re not in charge! I am! So get out!”


And Preacher Jesus’ word does what it says: an exorcism! “The evil spirit shook the poor possessed church member violently and came out of him with a shriek.”


What a church service! Divine service! The Lord’s service! Preaching, teaching, and an exorcism! God’s roaming the earth! All heaven breaks loose! His Word proclaimed, demons defeated, and people redeemed and restored! Through the Preacher! The Holy One of God — Jesus Himself! Absolutely stunning! Amazing!


He’s done it for you too! You too are forgiven! All your sin is His! All His perfection is yours! At your Baptism He put His most holy Name on you! At your Baptism He told Satan to shut up – to be muzzled – and to come out of you! You now belong to Jesus! He claimed you as His own!


How can all this be? Is it really true? Yes, it is! Because Son of God Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Divine authority! The only authority that holds! That lasts! The authority of His dying for you! His rising for you! And His authoritative words for you today: “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.”


Now that’s a Preacher! Thank God for this Preacher! His words give what they say! His crucified, risen and ascended Body and Blood! For you! And with Jesus’ words Satan is forevermore muzzled! The red dragon is not allowed to speak! Jesus does! With His words a miracle! A miracle of all miracles by the Lord Himself. Forgiveness! Life! Salvation! Through His authoritative and categorical promise in the Lord’s Supper: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.”


In the Name of Jesus.


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