Whose Authority? (on The Edge)

Day 2’s night message at The Edge Conference by an African Pastor Henry. That is one dude on fire man.

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.

Mark 6:1-6

Now, now I like this message because it answers the ‘timeless’ test of “If God exists, ask him to show me a miracle to prove it.”

So the bold words were the main point of the message: “And he could do no mighty work there…”. Why couldn’t he? Is he not the all-powerful God, kind and merciful and willing to heal all? Well, yeah! So why couldn’t he do mighty work there? Get this: He had no choice because the people “took offense at him”, because they would not believe. This hindered him from working his miracles. Of course Jesus wants to heal and of course he could heal, but the people wouldn’t let him out of their unbelief.

This is how miracles work. It is never “show us a sign to prove yourself”.

It is “because you don’t believe, I can’t show you the sign”. It’s not the miracles that will make your faith, it is your faith, your belief without any kind of guarantee or observable proof, that will enable you to see these miracles.

And that’s foolishness to some people. “It’s just a bunch of excuses to save yourself from doing ‘miracles’ which you can’t.” They may say.

Well, you can say that. But for me, personally, it makes sense. If you don’t believe it first, before the miracles, you won’t believe it even after the miracles. You’d think of all sorts of reasons “Oh, there’s a scientific explanation! Oh, it’s a coincidence!” and you’ll credit everything else but God who technically is God over the heavens and the earth and can make the coincidence happen or use science for his miracles. Who’s to say God can’t use science? I’m sure He has every right to since He made the earth. Tuh. But I deviate.

You believe before you see. That’s how faith works. If you believe based on what you can see and only that, that isn’t faith. You’ll just need a lot of constant assurance from God and you’ll constantly doubt Him if you can’t see anything. How is He going to do a mighty work in you then if you don’t trust Him?

The other takeaway: Respect everyone in life. Revival comes when you do the Christian life practically. Your life may be the only bible someone else is going to read. So take responsibility for that.

The other other takeaway: God will give you what you need in a package you don’t want. God came to the people in a way they didn’t like, in Jesus. They couldn’t respect or honour him so they missed out on his miracles.

The third takeaway: Listen.

On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the man who was paralyzed— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Luke 5:17-26

Jesus had the power to heal because there were sick people who needed to be healed. The Pharisees themselves were sick and also needed healing, but they didn’t get it. Only the paralytic got healed. Why?

The Pharisees were too full of themselves to receive Jesus. They knew much, they were learned in scriptures and thought they knew more than Jesus such that they were offended by him also. They didn’t see that they were sick. Even though they witnessed the miracle of healing Jesus did, they still didn’t want to subject themselves to his authority or respect him. So they didn’t get it.

Last one from Matthew:

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him. But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Matthew 8:5-13

I always like this centurion. I absolutely admire and respect this dude because he recognized Jesus’ authority and went beyond Jesus’ offer in faith. Jesus has full authority over our lives, a perfect plan and this centurion allowed Jesus to do what he does. He respected Jesus’ authority and got his servant healed. Based on Jesus’ word and just his word. Like. Wow. Kudos, dude. Seriously. On a word.

A lot of people baulk at the word ‘authority’ and in truth, I do too. A bit. I rebel if I think it’s just…not the smartest/most useful thing to obey. But this is the authority I want to submit and live under because I know for sure that whatever I do under this authority is for the best.

How do I submit? Obey. Which is something I’ve come to realize one needs faith to do. Truly, “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” While I’m there, I want to work on submitting to the other human authority figures above me. After all, He is the one who gives them authority over us. “Work as if for God and not for men”, right?

There are a couple other points in Day 3 and I hope that I’ll be able to put those up too to wrap up the Edge.

Till then!

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