The Gospel of Mark is very fast-paced. The urgency and frenetic pace of the life of Christ is communicated by the connective and along with the key adverb immediately. Jesus’ authority is astonishing in the sense that it is unlike the authority of any other religious leaders. He can cast demons out of people with a word and all to the amazement of onlookers (see Mark 1.21-28).
The scribes had great authority because they were very learned men. But Jesus’ authority is greater. The Greek term for authority in this text points to the supernatural authority which comes from God. Scribes had authority which stemmed from tradition and learning. It was the authority of men. Jesus has authority from His Father in Heaven. Jesus amazes His listeners in the synagogue at Capernaum that day. However, the content of His teaching is not nearly as amazing or as astonishing as the Teacher Himself.
Jesus faces the supernatural realm of evil. He casts the unclean spirit out of the man. This is a microcosm of the greater struggle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The demon cried out, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1.24) Jesus has nothing in common with the demon(s). Yet the demon(s) identify Him as the Holy One of God. They know the astonishing truth regarding His authority, but those assembled in the synagogue do not yet understand. Jesus subdues the demon(s) with two very simple commands: “Be quiet, and come out of him!” (Mark 1.25)
All of them are amazed or astounded. What happened that day spreads like wildfire through Galilee. Jesus’ authority set this man free. It is important not to lose sight of this fact.
When you internalize the Word of God, you have authority to set yourself free from sin and its deadly effects. You also have that same authority to help and confront others. When we bring the Word of God against the evil of this world, we need to remember that this evil-infused world doesn’t like to be disturbed.
Not all people are demon-possessed or even as immoral as they could possibly be. This is evidence of God’s grace and mercy in restraining evil and the evil one. But all evil is confronted the same way. It is met head-on with the authority of God’s Word.
When Jesus speaks, hope flourishes. No one is past hope. The Word of God can penetrate the hardest heart. Hardened people may think themselves to be bloodied, unbowed, unbroken, and condemned; but the authority of Jesus Christ indicates hope for the worst among us. Jesus’ astonishing authority can change you with a word today. He will quiet your soul and set you free.