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The Word of Authority
Gospel Reflection for August 30, 2022
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “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!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
In today’s Gospel, we hear an example of Jesus as the Word of God made flesh. First, those who hear him are astonished, because he spoke with ‘authority.’ The people were accustomed to hearing the rabbis repeat God’s words, followed by “Thus says the LORD.” Jesus, however, would utter the words “I say to you” or “I tell you.” This must have been a shocking thing to hear! Who was this man claiming that he says, instead of proclaiming what the LORD says?
The Gospel then tells of a man possessed by an unclean demon. The demon immediately knows Jesus’ name, knows that Jesus has power over it, and proclaims Jesus as the Holy One of God. Demons know and fear God. This is an indication of Jesus’ authority, but the authority is proven by his ability to cast out the demon with his command. Teaching with authority, immediate recognition by the demon, and casting out the demon made an impact on the witnesses. They told everyone about the events. If Jesus possesses such authority, then what does this mean for people on earth?
Jesus is the Word of God, and so we should live by every word that he spoke to us. He is also the Word of God made flesh, so we should try to live our lives as he did. We cannot pick and choose what we want to believe or follow, because everything he said and did was the Word of God. There is no higher authority. He gave us the Word, he embodied the Word, and with a Word he can transform our lives. If we listen, our unclean spirits can be banished by the authority of the Holy One of God.
Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker