My little brother, Evan, had this horrible habit when he was a little boy. He was famous around our house for firing all of the baby sitters. There was this one time when he was probably only 4 or 5 and he fired one of our favorite sitters, April. He had snuck off outside in nothing more than a shirt and some boots. It was pouring rain and a little cold, but Evan decided he wanted to do some gardening or something in the yard. So he had gone outside, half-dressed in the cold rain.
As soon as April realized he had snuck off, she ran out into the rain, scooped him up and carried him into the garage to start cleaning him up. She lovingly explained to him why he couldn’t be outside in the cold rain, especially not fully dressed. Evan patiently listened to all that April had to say, thought about it for a minute then said, “April, you are fired. We don’t need you anymore. I am going to tell my dad when he gets home that you are fired and you can’t come back anymore.”
Evan fired our babysitter! Evan went on to do this a number of times to a number of sitters, even trying to fire our grandparents! Fortunately, my dad is a businessman and didn’t take the counsel of a 5 year old. The sitters weren’t ever actually fired. They all knew that Evan had no real authority to fire them.
(yes, this is the most recent picture I could find of the kiddo’s of the family…)
In Mark 1:21-28, Jesus is in a synagogue during the early part of his ministry. He was teaching with such confidence and knowledge, and then backed up his words with actions by casting a spirit out a man. The people who witnessed this event said, “What’s this? A new teaching with authority!” (Mark 1:27).
I believe there is a huge difference between acting with authority and without it. Evan, my little brother, fired the babysitters but had no authority to do so, nothing ever happened (besides this story) because of his actions. On the other hand, Jesus acted with the authority given to him by his father (and afforded to all of us), and because of the authority he acted with, we are all saved.
I believe that the story from Mark 1:21-28 encourages us to speak, live, act with such generosity, such kindness, such love, such conviction that people ask, “By whose authority are you doing this?” How can you be so generous? Why are you loving so freely? What new teaching is this?
Our answer will be that with the authority given to us all through Christ Jesus, we are loving because we have first been loved. We don’t simply act in hospitality; we do so with the authority God has given us as his daughters and sons.
This week, be bold in your love for others. Know that as you love, as you teach others about Christ, you do so in the same way as Jesus and all the saints that have come before you, you do so with authority.