They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Mark 1:21-22

This was the new disciples’ first “fishing” lesson. What did they learn? Jesus was a Jew. He was quite happy to live this God-drenched life within the boundary fence of His Jewishness. He did not do anything to buck the system or to be revolutionary in His attitude to the parameters of the Law. He did what every other devout Jew did – He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He used the ordinariness of His situation to present the extra-ordinariness of the Father.

The record in Mark’s Gospel says that the people were astounded at His authority. He spoke to them as though He knew what He was talking about. And why shouldn’t He? He had just spent forty days alone with God in the most austere and dangerous of environments, hemmed in by physical and spiritual enemies, and yet He had experienced God’s presence and love so strongly that it had overwhelmed every scary moment.

He knew who He was; He was soaked in the power of the Holy Spirit and He carried with Him the environment of heaven. So steeped was He in the heavenly dimension in which He lived that He filtered every earthly experience through His awareness of God. He viewed life through God’s eyes and nothing human or natural fazed Him; not sickness, not adversity, not opposition, not misunderstanding, not even demons or death caused Him to wobble in His security in God. He was in charge and everything not of God had to give way in God’s presence.

How does this affect us? If we are not so sure of God’s presence and loving purpose in the face of everything that is a challenge to His perfection and His purpose, we will be affected by the environment of earth, not of heaven. God wants to challenge our faith by putting everything in our path that will try to deflect our awareness of Him to an awareness of the roadblock. Faith becomes purer and stronger every time His presence overcomes earthly encroachments.

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Luella Campbell

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