6th September, 2012
BRUCE C. WEARNE
Read Mark 1:21-22
We don't hear about John the Baptist being in any synagogue. But Jesus became known when He began teaching where people gathered to hear God's word from the law and the prophets. He taught that the time was right, that the Kingdom of God in its fullness had now come. Now He began teaching, week after week, in his home town, Capernaum.
"Jesus was a great Rabbi. He invited those He taught to join Him in listening to God's law and the writings of the prophets and living lives that were obedient to His covenant with them. God's covenant became the basis of their life together. Their reason for being Israelites was re-established in their daily lives."
A week or so earlier in Nazareth, He had read from Isaiah and then sat down to teach. In those times, the teacher sat and the class stood, listening. The questions came thick and fast. He knew what He wanted to say and at first the Nazarenes were glad to hear Him, but after a while they wanted Him out of there. So Jesus left the village of His childhood (Luke 4:12-30). All the same, He was known as the Nazarene, Jesus of Nazareth.
From there He settled in Capernaum where His own family had gone to live. There He began work with His disciples, His students. He went to where people were. He lived with them. He and His disciples travelled around the countryside, visiting people where they lived, talking and eating with them, day by day. It was the custom to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath day and off they would go with all the people to hear the Law read and explained and to be challenged by the words of the prophets. Jesus went to the synagogue with a clear purpose in mind. And when He taught there was something that impressed people. He stood with the others while God's law was read. And when he sat down to teach, He was different from the scribes. This was clear to those who heard Him.
Mark tells us that Jesus helped the people understand the law so that they were amazed by His teaching. The scribes did not teach in that way. My hunch is that the "authority" the people experienced from Jesus' teaching had to do with the fact that Jesus listened with the people to the reading of the law. They listened together to what God wanted of them. He was now a Capernaum Rabbi, and this was where His family lived. Jesus joined them when they gathered to listen to God's commands. He shared their ritual. He was a great Rabbi. He invited those He taught to join Him in listening to God's law and the writings of the prophets and living lives that were obedient to His covenant with them. God's covenant became the basis of their life together. Their reason for being Israelites was re-established in their daily lives.
This made the scribes sick with jealousy. Right from the start they looked for ways to stick their boots into Him. Mark tells us that those who want to use God's Law for their own power trip will see Jesus as a threat. Ordinary people who wanted to hear God's word were amazed by Him.
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