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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 23, 2018

The authority of faith

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Anyone wanting to speak authoritatively on a subject in today's "information society" must be well informed and – in order to appear credible – rely on the source(s) of his information Our modern media offer plenty of opportunities to be informed, especially via the internet.

In one sense it was the same in Jesus' day, in another sense quite different. Obviously there weren't the mass media back then that there are today, and there wasn't any internet. Nevertheless, those who wanted to speak authoritatively on biblical subjects were accustomed to relying on their sources: the opinions of rabbis, the scribes or the Pharisees. And there were differing opinions on some subjects, defended by the rabbinical schools of the time.

The evangelist Mark tells us that things were different wich Jesus from the time He began to preach, and those who heard him noticed the difference: "Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark 1:21-22).

Jesus didn't rely on the opinions of others for His teaching. Instead, He preached with authority, the authority oft Immanuel, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). Jesus didn't "wax eloquent" in philosophizing about life. No, He talked about the source of life itself. His words were ground in truth, faith – and power. And people noticed.

Jesus described His disciples – to whom we belong – in the following manner just a couple of hours before He was arrested: "As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (John 17:18).

Jesus sends us into the world with a message. And we are to preach that message with authority, as He did. Our authority is founded on faith and the word of God: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? . . . So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:14, 17).

We preach in faith the things whose truthfulness is assured: God, the Father, and God, the son, exist. God has a plan for mankind. Jesus will return. There is a new world coming. The dead who died without knowing God are not lost forever. All people will have the chance to know the true God and decide whether they will live His way of life.

We preach things that are certain, not things that "could be" or that "will happen – maybe". Are we aware of that authority? We preach with the authority of the faith that God gives us.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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