Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Word of Authority

"Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching

them on the Sabbaths.  And they were astonished at His teaching, for His

word was with authority." (Luke 4:31-32)

 "For his word was with authority" is a challenging statement to us today.  Do I trust His Word as that which has authority over my life?  If not, why not? With rulings from human courts directly contradicting the authority of the Word, and even major church denominations rejecting the authority of it, from Genesis to Revelation, we are seeing a muting of the authority.  It is not wrong to look to men of old for their commentary and wisdom on a given verse - but if we do it to mute the Word itself then, what have we done?!  With wisdom we must handle the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15).  Seek understanding, but do so in reverence - knowing from whom it came (2 Tim 3:14).  His word is powerful, sharp, and it will have his way with us (Heb. 4:12). If we honor Him, we shall be blessed by it.

John Gill makes mention of the Persic translation of this astonishment which puts verse 32a as, "He penetrated them with it"  Further he mentions the miracles & healing as not only a fulfilling of Isaiah 61, but also as a confirmation of his teaching itself.  John Knox points out that the astonishment of the people at Christ's Word here was not them alone, but that even the Demons (vs. 34) were astonished!  When the Word of God is given due course, all bow to its truths.
But the question is, what about the national abandonment of it?  How does the abandonment of the Bible as authoritative by the masses affect us who still lay hold of and claim the Bible as authoritative in our lives?  In one arena, we could claim that it ultimately does not matter, seeing that God is the Author and Sovereign and therefore we are bound to hold the truth.  And while this is true, it cannot be said that it matters not at all. 

It does matter - in that we will be challenged to bend to the masses.  We cannot do so insofar as the truth of His Word bears upon us.  So there is the rub.  We who hold the Word of God in highest regard will be challenged on our position regularly, and be pressured to compromise.  As public opinion goes increasingly against the Word, we will be subject not only to pressure, but eventually to outright persecution.
Brethren - Let us not lose hope, but remember that if the world persecuted our Lord, it will persecute us.  Recall that in the earlier verse in Luke's' gospel chapter 4 his own people, that is to say, the place where he had been brought up - Nazareth, tried to cast him over a cliff!  Consider what we read in John 's gospel, "Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20)  Later in John 16:33, we read, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 

Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Tim. 3 describes such difficult times, and that is the very context where Timothy is exhorted to "continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."   Paul then goes on to speak of the very Word like this, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Let us resolve therefore to hold fast the living truth, the Word of God, which is able to make us wise unto salvation, for His glory - Amen!

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