Authority

The Gospel text for Sunday, July 5th is found in Mark 6:1-13.  Read it here.

For me, this text is not about the particulars–where Jesus went, who said what, where the disciples were sent to, what they did.  How many shakes of your shoes is the right number?  Are these sandals OK?  Which two went with which two?  (You know, reading this story as a formula and a technical manual.)  Rather, this text is bigger–way, way bigger.  This text is about authority.  Who has it, but more importantly, where authority comes from, and how one uses it.

Think that where you live gives you authority from God?  Or that where you live automatically disqualifies you from God’s authority?  Mark’s story makes us think again. 

As the hometown crowd questions Jesus’ authority on the basis of his familiarity, I appreciate the profound wisdom that Jesus doesn’t defend himself, or plead with them to accept him.  Instead, he points to God’s authority in the similar fates of the prophets (vs. 4).  And though Jesus was amazed at their unbelief, he pressed on, passing God’s authority on to the disciples, who then spread the message even further.

scripture scroll

So we find in this passage that genuine authority is not diminished in the face of resistance.  Genuine authority is also not minimized by one’s empowering of others.  If this is true, why have we (the church) been so afraid to claim God’s authority, God’s message of healing, reconciliation and love, that comes in the person and work of Jesus Christ?  Furthermore, why have we been so timid in our empowerment of others? 

Lord God, faith takes many shapes.  Help us to realize that regardless of all else, faith is defined by a resolute confidence in a higher authority:  You.  Amen.

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