Luke 4:31-37 By What Authority?
I have been asked many times, “How do we know who God is? Can we see him, touch him, or hear him?” At first I didn’t know how to answer this question until I realized the obvious: We know God because we know Christ. Jesus is God. Christ spoke with authority and power. That is, his word has power to change (transform), heal and set free those who believe in him. “All were amazed and said to one another, ‘What is there about his word?’”
We read throughout scripture how the crowds were amazed at Jesus and watched him closely, or carefully (Lk 14:1). This is an on-going observation. They were looking for where the strings were attached. Things have not changed much. We are always looking for reasonable, logical explanations to life occurrences. So too, were the crowds, the Pharisees and scribes that were monitoring Jesus. “By what authority does this man command?” The sick are healed. Not enough? The dead begin to rise. Not enough? It is never enough for us. We need to see it for ourselves! “Seeing is believing!” Not only are there healings, but also deeply profound reflections from the carpenter’s son. Christ reveals the mystery of who man is. Who am I? What am I here for? What must I do? Christ opens our minds to ask the meaningful questions and he opens our hearts by answering them in word and in deed. The Lord does not mind at all, he knows the question, “How can this be?” quickly evolves to “Who is this man?”
“I know who you are!” St. James tells us in his letter that “even the devil believes in God!” Even the devil knows that he is the “Holy One of God!” But to know him is not sufficient. It takes more. It takes humility. “Better to reign in hell, than to serve in heaven!” This is the philosophy of the unclean spirit who goes against God. Better to reign than to serve!
“I know who you are!” Let us not fool ourselves. This is a declaration of war. This is no simple dialogue. This is combat and it is to the death! “Either He destroys us or we destroy him.” The devil, out of pride and cunning, wishes to reveal who Jesus is before “his hour has arrived.” The Lord will have nothing to do with it. Christ is not about to allow the unclean to reveal who he is. He has his mission, his plan and his vision, which is the revelation of God’s mind.
St. Paul asks, “Who could ever know the mind of God?” He quotes scripture, “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?” Only Christ knows, because Christ is the Word. By knowing Christ, we know God. By knowing what Christ thinks, we know what God thinks. By knowing what Christ says, we know what God wants. By witnessing Christ’s authority, we know that God rules! Christ’s authority comes from the Cross. It is nailed to the Cross. His authority is His Love for us!
Today, let us take some time to read the Gospel, to meditate on the word and to fall in love with His Word: To know, to love, to imitate. God willing, by our words and actions, we too may be a sign of contradiction in the world. “Who are you?"