A Year of Listening to Jesus The Power of The Word

Sorry for the hiatus of writing. It is amazing how a week of being down with an illness can put you weeks behind in so many areas of life. But we are back with A Year of Listening to Jesus.

 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” Mark 1:25

The Bible begins with God speaking and causing all creation to come into existence. The shear magnitude of the power of God’s voice and words is beyond what I can comprehend. That power is bound together with God’s authority as King. When He speaks, all creation must listen and obey.

When Jesus was confronted by a demon possessed man in the early days of his ministry the power of God’s Word became evident. The demon spoke through the man and challenged Jesus. But Jesus would have none of that and commanded the demon to be quiet and to release the man. As a result of just six words from Jesus the demon completely obeyed.

The crowd, including the religious leaders, were stunned at the authority that Jesus spoke with and that the demon obeyed him. This was unlike anything they had ever witnessed. For some it was a source of inspiration and encouragement. Here was a messiah whose words could bring healing and new life. For others it was a source of consternation and anxiety. Here was a man who could challenge their authority and cause them to lose control of their own destiny and power. They saw that they too would have to submit to such power and it did not sit well with them.

For 2,000 years people have had the same two reactions to the Bible. For many, it is God’s Word and a source of comfort and strength. The ability of the Bible to ease their anxiety, give them direction, instill confidence, and answer life’s most difficult questions, makes it a priceless resource. For others the call that Bible places on them for surrendering to God, giving up with idols, and admitting that they are not the center of the universe, maks the Bible a hard task master that they seek to remove from their lives.

If you were to go back and ask the demon possessed man who was freed by Jesus if he wanted his demons back or wanted to remain free, I am certain he would want to remain free. If you asked him his opinion of the words of Jesus I suspect he would want as much of those words spoken into his life as he could possibly get.

What is your reaction to the words of Jesus?

A Year of Listening to Jesus 1/5

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’” Matthew 4:10

We get to the third temptation faced by Jesus in the wilderness and Satan puts it all on the line. He will give Jesus all that he he surveys from the highest mountain peak if only Jesus would bow down and worship him. He is proposing blatant idolatry, the worship of something, anything, other than the Lord God. In this case it is the worship of Satan himself. That is ultimately what all of our temptations are really about; idolatry. Every temptation we give in to is a statement that we prize that temptation above the Lord. In that moment we place the experience of the sin above the experience of intimacy with and obedience to the Lord. All sin is the placing of something other than God in the center of our affections.

One of the tragedies of giving in to temptation is that it always gives us less than God wants to give us. Think of the temptation given to Jesus. Bow down and worship Satan and Jesus can be master over all that he surveys from the highest mountain peak. Yet, when he is obedient to the Father and fulfills his mission of laying down his life, Jesus is raised up to take his throne over all creation and every knee will bow down to him and declare that he is Lord. (Philippians 2:9-11) Satan offered him a few miles of a kingdom. The Father gave him all creation.

We so often settle for far less than what the Lord offers us. Sometimes because we don’t believe God really loves us. Sometimes because we believe the lie that God is trying to keep us from really enjoying life. Sometimes because, like little children, we can only think about the cookie in from of us and not the feast to come if we just don’t eat the cookie.

But there is still more in the passage. Jesus dismisses Satan by commanding that he be gone, and by rightly quoting scripture back to his face. That is authority. It is an authority that comes from the Word of God rightly understood and handled. There is a power in the Scriptures that goes far beyond the wisdom and inspiration of the words themselves. God attends to his word and by his word makes things happen. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and Lazarus came forth from the grave. He spoke and Satan fled.

The need to know and believe and apply the Word of God to everyday life situations is essential for a life that is blessed and flourishing. God wants you to have so much more than Satan offers. Will you trust God’s Word on that?