Authoritative Presence

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5 September 2017

They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

I wonder what it would have been like to hear Jesus’ voice.

In today’s gospel, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath, and rather than give us the content of what he taught, Luke focuses on the effect Jesus’ words had on those who heard him:

He left them utterly astounded.

There was something about Jesus.

Here was a man of unique authority, and even before he said a word, or raised his hand to heal, his presence alone had the power to change things. And when he did speak, it was as if the words themselves carried a charge, an energy that changed the circumstances of whoever was listening to him.

It is interesting that in this story the unclean spirit that afflicted the man was forced to manifest simply by the presence of Jesus in the synagogue. I don’t think this guy just wandered in on the day that Jesus happened to be in town. It’s much more likely that he was a regular synagogue worshipper who carried a hidden bondage, and that when Jesus stepped into the room, much to everyone’s surprise, the dark thing was forced into the light. It is interesting too that even the demons were forced to confess the truth about Jesus in the light of his presence. All it took were seven words from Jesus and this evil thing, which no doubt had tormented this Jewish synagogue attender for years, was gone.
It’s no wonder people were impressed. Jesus’ words carry power!

Let’s pray for the grace to hear his voice, speaking words of forgiveness, freedom, healing and life into our lives today.

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