The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee – Mark 1, verses 27-28.
You know what strikes me most about these verses? It’s the phrase “a new teaching.”
It’s stupid. These people of ancient Israel had been waiting for the Messiah, the deliverer, since the Garden of Eden. They had witnessed thousands of miracles that God had performed to demonstrate His love, his power and, above all, His patience with them. The Jews of ancient Israel were, from their beginning, the people through whom God chose to teach all of us about His nature. God had been ‘in their face’ either directly or allegorically for thousands of years. Yet, in the time of Jesus, their love for God had grown stale. They had forgotten much of who they were even as they wrapped themselves around legalistic axles. They had forgotten that God’s teaching is always new, that His love and forgiveness are new every day. That the Son of Man was coming to them to make all things new once again.
We are no different. To so many of the people in our world, this ‘new teaching’ – that Jesus is God and man, and has dominion over everything – is brand new. God has been revealing Himself to us for thousands of years in thousands of ways, yet so many people don’t know Him. I’m of the opinion that MOST people on this big blue marble don’t know Jesus and most of them have no idea who He is. Hundreds of new churches open every week all across the globe for the express purpose of introducing strangers to the Son of God. That means something.
There are many reasons why people don’t know. Some have rejected God; some have simply drifted away. Some are ignorant of the Bible; some are just plain ignorant. Some have never been to church, and some are turned off by the very real hypocrisy and un-loving nature of American churches (and churchgoers). But there are many who have honestly never been exposed to Jesus, who have never even heard of Him. You don’t have to go to the pygmy jungles of South America to find them. They’re in your neighborhood, in your Facebook friends list, and maybe your family.
The reasons why people don’t know really don’t matter, though. The bottom line is that they don’t know Jesus. That makes their ignorance both sad and spiritually catastrophic. When we assume room temperature, all that’s left of us – our mortal souls – stands before Jesus. If He knows us –because we used our lives to know Him – we live with Him for eternity. If He doesn’t, we don’t. Separation from God and His vital love is called “hell.” I don’t ever want to be away from Jesus or His love. I need it today to help me recover from all the stupid things I’ve done in life. I need it forever to actually live. That’s why it’s so important for the news of Him to keep spreading everywhere: because so many others need Him too.
Lord, forgive me for not sharing You better. Forgive my mistakes and teach me to improve for You.
Read Matthew 4, verse 25, and Luke 4, verses 36-37.