Daily Readings and Thought for February 5th. “HE TAUGHT THEM AS ONE WHO HAD AUTHORITY”
Today we start reading the Gospel of Mark, understood to be the first Gospel to be written. The message that comes through loud and clear is that Jesus impressed the people with the nature of his teaching. “On the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” [v.21,22]
Jesus was “proclaiming the gospel of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand repent and believe the gospel” [v.14,15] Jesus had a positive message, God’s kingdom was coming. The time was fulfilled for the first stage of God’s plan. The king of God’s kingdom was there and he was recruiting citizens for that kingdom. It was a clear and positive message. And today? We see the equivalent of the scribes today, but the Bible is the only source for truthful teaching; its message is clear if we apply our minds to understand it. .
Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world … then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘… For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ ” [v.37] We are about to see the most dramatic stage of its fulfilment of God’s purpose. Our age will witness this climax, the signs that point to the imminence of this are multiplying.
In reading Exodus (Ch. 12) we saw some comparisons. The climax of the plagues set shock waves through the people of Egypt; these are in some ways comparable to the shock that the return of our king will bring on this world. When there “will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”. (Mat.24:30)
Any preaching we do must be done with the authority of the Bible as its backbone, it must be a true testimony. God, through Isaiah, challenged the people in those days. “Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples … to the teaching and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word …” [Ch.8 v.16,20] Let us keep reading God’s word, developing our understanding and teaching with authority.