Skip to content

How can we teach others with authority?


Mark 1:21-22
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

When you have a question, to whom do you go for an answer that is authoritative? I suppose it depends upon the topic, right? I suppose, too, it depends upon whether you are looking for information about something practical or if you are seeking a source that provides truth, which results in life-giving formation.

Mark reminds us why the people of God turn to Jesus, and the power which underlies His words. Jesus teaches with authority, that is, as one whose views are definitive. His voice is perfectly aligned with the Wisdom of God.

This is different from the scribes who taught what they had learned about the Word of Law (as compared to Jesus, who IS the Word) They studied, memorized and interpreted the Law(as compared to Jesus, who IS God’s loving revelation of the Word) Certainly they were granted respect and power; their understanding of the Law was enforced. The scribes expected compliance that would alter people’s behavior regardless of whether or not their hearts were transformed. But they stood apart from those they taught, and their “power” in many ways established distance from their students.

All that Jesus says, however, radiates from his increasing magnification of Wisdom. (Luke 2:52) This is the same Wisdom that is described in the eighth chapter of Proverbs. It emanates from God, the same one whose creative Wisdom established order from chaos. This Wisdom, which is embodied in Jesus, is Love, Order, Justice, and Peace. Jesus invites us to listen to his teaching, the ultimate authoritative counsel for life — and His authority resides in His Oneness with God the Father.

Jesus never forces us to follow his teachings. We may be tempted to dilute or diminish what he has to say, because his teachings lead us to a way of life that is countercultural. Following Jesus does not assure an easy or predictable life. But unlike an authoritative figure who imposes legality or “right life” upon you from some external position, Jesus binds you to himself and dwells in all moments with you. He assures you that as you struggle to follow his instruction he, in Wisdom and Love, is with you.

No amount of study about the Word can provide all that we need as church leaders.  Study provides a doorway, a platform and a structure where we can talk about Christ and learn about what God is saying to the church.  But authoritative and enduring leadership is possible only when we set aside the thoughts of our minds and pray for (and receive) the renewing of our minds in Christ.

We are transformed constantly through our “chewing” on the word, taking it in, paying attention to its impact upon our own hearts, minds and souls, and then leading from that transformation.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: