Jesus, a man of authority

In the Gospel reading for Education Sunday (Mark 1: 21–28) we hear ‘as soon as the Sabbath came Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority’.

Jesus, a man of authority

People experience the power. But what kind of power is it? It is the power of authority. The word authority comes from a Latin verb augere, which means to make something increase. Its root can be found in words like ‘authority,’ ‘author.’ Its root is also found in the English verb ‘to wax’ (as the moon ‘waxes’ and wanes). So real authority is not just, as we often interpret it, having power over people so that we can make them do what we want them to do. Genuine authority is the ability to en-able people, to em-power them. To enable them to transcend themselves, to grow as persons, to be more effective in the development and use of their innate gifts.

Authority as service

Jesus did not come to rule and control people. He came, he said, not to be served but to serve. He came, above all, to make people free. So that in their freedom, they could generate all the productive and growth energies within them and be alive with the life of God within them. He freed them from all the ‘evil spirits’ (Mark 1: 21–28), of fear, compulsions, narrow self-centredness, anger, resentment, hostility and violence which prevent people from truly enjoying the experience of being alive. “I have come that they may have life, life in abundance.”

The whole of Jesus’ life was a continual teaching – wise, calm, powerful but gentle, enriching life for those who listen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.