Astounded and Amazed
O Lord, take away any tiredness or cynicism and give me a heart that’s truly open to You today.
Read Mark 1:21-28
 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.  The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.  Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,  “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!”  “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”  The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.  The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching-and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”  News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow is Jesus’ teaching described here? Why?
When were you last astounded and amazed by a sermon? It’s easy to blame the preacher but maybe the fault lies with us—have we lost our capacity for surprise? The people of Capernaum hadn’t—they were riveted by what they heard and saw.
By teaching in the synagogue—and casting out a demon there while he was at it—Jesus had brought the spiritual battle to the heart of the religious community. His teaching and his actions were both full of the power of God. And there was an unmistakable air of authority about him.
Unlike the religious leaders, Jesus wanted his hearers to listen, understand and allow God to change their lives. The teachers of the law were less concerned about their listeners and more concerned with being right. They wanted to be theologically perfect, and that didn’t tend to make for life-changing sermons.
Sadly, the people of Capernaum, who initially responded with such vigor and excitement to Jesus’ ministry, failed to take his teachings to heart. This can be a real danger for us, too.
Would you like Jesus to do something dramatic in your life? Ask him to work through his Word and good teaching.
Lord Jesus, I do want to take Your Word to heart and to always respond with eager obedience.
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