What Authority? What Authority!

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Sermon Hardwick / Caldecote 1/2/09

Mark 1:21-28

Summary: Jesus speaks and acts with an authority unlike any one else.

Aim: That we would listen to his words and acknowledge his authority in our lives.


Frustrations call centres.

Mobile phone – not terminal, niggly.

fault with the handset – can't authorise that sir.

Can I speak to your supervisor?”

Yes I understand – arrange for you to be sent a new handset.

Spoke with authority, acted with authority

No matter how nice, or polite no good unless speak with authority, and act with authority.



he speaks with authority – no other religious teacher has.

he acts with authority – he makes things happen!


They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” (v22)

and amazed at his actions (v27). Casts out an unclean spirit. Something dramatic happens.

v27 “They were all amazed and kept on asking one another, 'What is this? A new teaching – with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”


Seems all so very simple. But can we believe that Jesus has that kind of authority today?

We've never seen Jesus.

We live in a world where we're aware of many other religions claiming authority.

Peter Owen Jones “Around the world in eighty faiths”.

Midsummer Common – 2 young men, Mormons. Authority.

* Can we still say that Jesus speaks with an authority that no other religious teacher has?


Answer to that challenge --> Read Mark's gospel.

Written to people not so very different to us.

Never met Jesus / Gentiles not Jews / Graeco-Roman world which was a marketplace for different religions

A thread through Mark – Jesus' authority: teaching, drive out demons, forgive sins.

Climax Mk 11:28. temple courts chief priests and scribes: “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?”

Jesus - elusive - answers: I won't tell you

Jesus and Mark are saying – don't take my word for it - work it out for yourself

Man brought up in a rural backwater, received no formal religious training. Man who the chief priests crucify as a common criminal. Yet a man who spoke and acted with authority never seen before.

Mark turns the question on us. “Where do you think Jesus' authority came from?” Just man, or God?

In the course of my study... read about some of the claims of other religions.

If anything that study has made me more convinced about the uniqueness of Jesus. His words stand out as timeless and incisive.

If you need convincing, or you need reminding.

Encourage you to make a commitment to Read Mark


Sometimes if we grow up with something we take it for granted. Forget how special it is.

I wonder how many times... Kings parade – Kings college one of premier tourist destinations in this country.

Teenagers from inner city. - wow.

Miss something special on your own doorstep.

Grown up stories of the gospels – familiarity mean we miss authority

In Britain todayaware of the presence of other religions

but most of us don't know much in detail

Let's not fall into the trap -certain parts of media and government – each has an equal claim to authority.

By all means study other religions --> learn what we can about them

Study Christianity too. Church mistakes. Person where the claim to authority rests -->

Jesus of Nazareth – carpenter, man they crucified, someone who captivated crowds authority teaching and actions.

Start with Mark.

See the rest →
See the rest →