Jesus’ Authority in the Book of Mark

When I first read through the Book of Mark, I immediately noticed that the author (which tradition holds is John Mark, Mark being his Greco-Roman name) focused on the miraculous side of Jesus’ ministry. It was incredibly powerful to read, in one sitting, miracle after miracle. It just showed me how much power Jesus actually carried around with him.

For instance, did you ever wonder why on earth the disciples that followed Jesus around would just up and leave their jobs at his command? At this point, Jesus probably wasn’t that famous.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Mark 1:17,19

Here’s another example of something strange happening on Jesus’ command:

…[Jesus] sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it.

Mark 11:1-6

Why on earth did these people let the disciples take the colt just because Jesus said so?

I think that in both scenarios above, people just recognized the authoritative power in Jesus instinctively. Even the demons knew the authoritative power of Jesus and obeyed Him.

…and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. 

Mark 5:11,12

 

So it was clear that Jesus had authority that both man and spirit recognized (even though some people, like the Pharisees, refused to submit to His authority). But nonetheless, even the Pharisees recognized Jesus’ authority. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have tried to kill him:

And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

Mark 11:18

Jesus’ authority came from His complete devotion to do the Father’s will despite His own desires:

He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

Mark 14:36

And since he walked on earth as a man, that means that everyone who has the Holy Spirit and is submitted to the Father in the same way can (and should) practice this same authority. But this takes time, training, submission, and a willingness to follow God no matter what.

Before Jesus began his ministry of miracles, He had to wait on God and receive whatever it was He needed before His “ultimate” ministry could take place, and it took Jesus the majority of his life before God deemed Him ready:

Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. 

Luke 3:23

If it took Jesus this long before God “commissioned” him, I think that it is wise for believers to undergo the same kind of testing and training that Jesus did. This isn’t to say that God won’t use anyone for His purposes unless they are perfect first, for I don’t think believers ever stop growing in holiness in this lifetime. Even Jesus began working when he was just twelve years old and was teaching in the temple. But from Jesus’ life, there does seem to imply a period of “training” before going out with a fullness of authority (which would result in a more effective and Spirit-filled ministry).

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My friend and I getting ready to study the Book of Mark at Starbucks!

But how can we give away what we have not yet received? How can we bring the comforting news of God’s love and His heart toward us if we ourselves do not know (in our spirits) His unconditional and unwavering love for us? And how can we teach with authority the way Jesus did if we ourselves have not come to know truth (in our hearts)?

On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!

Mark 6:2

This is why I did a Foundations for Counseling Ministry with YWAM as well as the Chronological School of Biblical Studies. I knew that there were parts of my life that God wanted to heal so that I minister to and teach others with authority that’s comes from submission to God. And I knew there were so much about God’s character and so much about truth in the Bible that I hadn’t yet tapped into with His guiding wisdom.

Like Jesus, I want to commit my life to serve others, to sacrifice my own desires for comfort, and live for something greater. Not that God wants to deny me comfort and a happy life, but I believe that since Jesus’ heart was set out to do the Father’s will, then that’s what my priority should be as well.

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Mark 10:28-31

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