In Jesus’ time, there were many teachers of the Law. In the synagogues and other places of teaching, they talked long and hard about their understanding of God’s Word and its applications. But like your average modern parishioner on Monday morning, they quickly forgot the sermon they had just heard.

Jesus was different. He used the same text book but his words penetrated and were memorable. People learned something new. What was the difference? People detected some quality that was missing in many of their teachers. They said he spoke with ‘authority’.

Luke 4:

31Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. 32They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.

33In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34"Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"

35"Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

36All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!" 37And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Even before the crowd saw the miracle power of God expressed through Jesus, they heard a message that sounded as if it were true and reliable. Even though the other teachers taught some of the same things, Jesus’ words had an edge. It was a sharp edge that cut right into their mind. He came as one with the authority to wield a sword that would smite their hearts.

When authority is present and issues a proclamation, there is an expectation of obedience. The flashing red lights of authority cause you to obey and pull over or to run in fear and disobedience.

When the flashing red lights of Jesus’ teaching shone in that synagogue, there was a man who faced a power conflict. The evil presence of a spirit inside him could not help but react to the greater presence of Jesus.

Luke 4:34Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"

When Jesus speaks, there are hidden listeners. The jig is up and they have to come out of hiding. God help us all submit to the authority of Jesus' words.