MARK 1:27: “And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Religion without power? This is what the Jews had become accustomed to in their day. They were simply going through the motions, and people who were dominated by demons coexisted with them experiencing no change in their lives. Then Jesus comes on the scene preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Everything changes! The demons stand up and take notice, as do the people. Jesus rebukes a demon and a man is set free. The crowd marvels. And this did not happen in some dark corner. No, this happened at a regular synagogue meeting! This could also be true of many of our churches today.
Paul warned Timothy that in the last days there would be those – “…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power…” (2 Timothy 3:5 ESV) What did Paul tell Timothy to do? He said to avoid such people. When our walk of faith simply becomes external observances of “religion”, and not a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we run the danger of moving from the power of God to the mere “appearance” of godliness – without the power.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is a Gospel of Power! It is the proclamation of the King, Jesus Christ, and His rule and reign over all. When the Gospel of the Kingdom confronts the kingdom of darkness there is a power confrontation. When this happens light always overcomes and dispels darkness. This is true when Jesus is the center of all that we are and all that we do. When we begin to make ourselves or anything else the center we begin to move away from relationship to religion, from power to powerlessness.
This power is not found in any new teaching. It is not resident in any denomination. It is not the coveted possession of any one leader. It is found solely in the Cross of Jesus Christ and in the proclamation of His completed work of redemption. It is found when we proclaim this message, not in our own wisdom or strength, but in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Paul was always aware of this and always reminded those he was writing to about this truth.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV)
Lord, draw me to the reality and power of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. May I not rest in anything but Christ alone. Anoint my words and my life with the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God so that others can clearly see Jesus and place their faith in Him. In Jesus Name!