Jesus has the power.
We have seen how weak our human word is many times in our lives. We cry for help, but our voice cannot break through the room’s walls; it dies in the air after a few meters. No one hears us, and our cry is powerless. We fail in our work, get angry, shout, command, and our words are worthless. Nothing moves, not even the leaves on the tree. But it is even more challenging for our terms to penetrate when they are meant to penetrate another person’s heart. How often it happens that you say something good to your child, you beg him, you promise him, you command him – and he does nothing! Our words come back to us like an echo.
But the opposite can also happen. The child’s sincere pleas bounce helplessly off the parents’ stern selfishness. And it is against this background that the power of God’s word shines through.
The Gospel tells of teaching that has power, at which all present were amazed. In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus proved his teaching by his deed when he frees a man from an unclean spirit. The main point of this Gospel passage is the concept of power. Jesus’ power was demonstrated in word and deed. The focus is not on the possessed, but on Jesus, to whom the possessor himself points: ‘I know who you are: Son of God”.
This is how the prophet, who is later associated with the figure of the awaited Messiah, was identified in the Old Testament. In Jesus’ case, word and deed form a unity. Paul later writes of this to the Corinthians, “My speech and my preaching consisted not in persuasive and wise words, but in demonstrations of the Spirit and power, so that all faith should not be based on human wisdom but the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5). Therefore, it is not what Jesus taught and did that matters, but who He is.
If our word is so weak, where does our life, the whole human race, indeed the entire world, get its strength and permanence? There must be the mighty Word of God by which all things were made and which governs all things. God reveals Himself to His people as strong in the world, as powerful in history. The greatest manifestation of his power is his love. In love, the power of God’s word is revealed. Such was also one of his disciples’ first experiences of the gospel. The term of Jesus has power over nature, disease, unclean spirits, sin, and death. That is why everyone was amazed at how powerful this new teaching was.
We today do not marvel at the amazement of those present. Today, two millennia later, when we see the entire long chain of those who have accepted the teachings of Jesus and have come to know the power and strength of his words, we are happy to be among those who have received this knowledge of his love. To this numberless line, we indeed belong. The gospel, heard with benefit, is meant to make a difference in practice – in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We know that Jesus cannot save us without us, though he died for us and redeemed us. He needs our cooperation. We have the kind of Teacher who unbelievers sincerely envy—a Teacher who has confirmed the truth and value of His words with His own life. History tells us that those who trust in Jesus’ teachings were not disappointed. Though many died for the teachings of Jesus, they received an eternal reward. Though many were persecuted for Jesus’ sake, they overcame. Why? Because they were taught by the One who has power without beginning and end.
Let us pray, brothers and sisters, that today’s Word of God may penetrate our hearts, brighten what was cold, bring light where there was already darkness, strengthen the hopeless, and so we too may witness the teaching that has power. Amen.
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