Witness of Life (Mark 1:21-28)

Witness of Life (Mark 1:21-28)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. The Evangelist Mark tells the story of the beginning of Jesus’ journey by presenting a very good impression of the people in Capernaum. It is said that people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching. In fact, according to them, Jesus taught as a person in authority, not the same as the scribes.

With this depiction, the evangelist Mark actually wanted to emphasize that Jesus had a teaching authority that came from God. This authority gave Jesus authority that made Him respected by his listeners.

In the following stories, we will be able to understand why Jesus’ preaching was always able to inspire awe in the hearts of the people who came to hear Him. This is because Jesus is always able to make the words he conveys come alive.

The teaching authority that Jesus had was very different from the teaching authority that the scribes had. Torah experts are respected because they are experts in Torah law who explain the Torah itself for followers of the Jewish religion. The scribes were tasked with compiling rules and regulations for every situation in Jewish religious life. This is what makes them have a very high position and become members of the Sanhedrin (religious court) alongside the high priest and Jewish elders.

Meanwhile, to describe Jesus’ teaching authority, the evangelist Mark uses the term respected. This shows that even though Jesus was not included in the group of scribes who had a high position in society, he still had the authority to teach.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. When it is said that Jesus is respected and not just revered, there are two important things behind this. First, as the Son of God, Jesus certainly received the power to teach from God. He not only conveyed the Word of God, but He was the Word itself. Jesus is the fullness of God’s promise of salvation.

Second, Jesus lived out every teaching he conveyed. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees who tended to be kind and carry out religious commandments when in public, Jesus lived out the law and all the contents of His preaching well.

On many occasions, the Gospel texts often provide changing descriptions of the reactions of the people who heard the teachings and witnessed the actions of Jesus. On one occasion, the people were amazed by what He said and did, but on another occasion they could not accept or even rejected His presence (cf. Mark 6:1-6).

However, behind the rejection of Jesus, there is a sense of admiration for his figure. When the people of Nazareth expelled Jesus, they were amazed at the power of teaching that Jesus showed them. The Gospel recorded the statement they made “What wisdom was given to Him? How can such miracles be done by His hands? Isn’t He the carpenter, son of Mary, brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t His sisters here with us?”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. For us, the testimony of Jesus’ life is a guide in living out the Catholic faith. Just as Jesus not only understood but was serious about living the Torah law, so too should we not just have the status of a Catholic but live that Catholicism. The authority of each of us as children of God will be seen in our attitude of life and deep appreciation of faith.

Let’s strengthen our commitment to bear witness to evangelical life as children of God.

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