Today we started reading the gospel of Mark: it is more of a summary of the work and teaching of Jesus than the other gospels, but the 4 gospels have been inspired and preserved so that together we possess a comprehensive picture of all that Jesus did and taught – and what an impact he had, for he taught them “as one who had authority” [ch. 1 v.22] “They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!” [v.27] His miracles gave a special sense of “authority” to his teaching.
That sense – and challenge of – authority is missing among a great many ‘christians’ today, so many fail to use the Bible as a foundation for teaching with “authority.”
There is a fascinating comparison with this point in today’s chapters 11 & 12 in Exodus – and the “authority” Moses and Aaron achieved through the plagues they were empowered to bring on Egypt. Some Egyptians responded to Moses words and acted wisely (9 v.21, 11 v.3) but Pharaoh and those in power ignored his warnings, despite the authority he displayed in bringing the plagues..
We can see comparisons with today – when so few are heeding the “authority” of the Bible and its’ warnings of the coming judgements of God in these “last days.” This thought brings us to today’s two Psalms (66 & 67). Psalm 66 reflects back to the lessons of the events recorded in Exodus! “Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! … Come and see what God has done … He turned the sea into dry land …”[v.3,5,6].
Then Psalm 67 looks to the future, “May God … make his face to shine upon us … that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations…. judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations … let all the ends of the earth fear him!” [v.1,2,4,7] This is truly a vision of the nations when Jesus reigns and is the “one who has (all) authority.”
May we be among those who praise him, indeed who, as Paul challenges us – and writes – as to our way of life today – may it be true of each of us: “if we endure, we will also reign with him” [2 Tim. 2 v.12.]
How awesome is Jesus’ promise in Revelation, “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.” [2 v.26] What an awesome and humbling prospect for us. Let us always have in mind Jesus’ words, “whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” [Matt 23 v.12]