So there is a saying out there that I can’t seem to recall what it is but basically it means that we will grow up to essentially be our parents. This wisdom that I heard in my youth quite honestly scared me as I did not want to grow up to be my dad as he and I didn’t exactly get along. He was strict, angry on most days, and authoritative to the point that even the sound of his voice would make me freeze in my tracks. I, on the other hand, was more happy-go-lucky, aloof, and impetuous. All the traits that my dad saw as getting me no where in life. Did I mention that we didn’t get along?
It got me thinking about the authority that I felt like my dad had, and the authority that I try to have with my kids and the authority in my life that really meant something to me. With my dad, there was just this fear that I felt that told me that I better do as I’m told. The other sources of authority in my life were more intellectual and logical, in that it only makes sense for the good of all to follow whatever course of action. I wasn’t driven by fear but I was motivated by an instilled desire to just be better. And as for what I try to have with my kids and what I actually accomplish I suppose is a mix of the two.
But as I grow older and my kids apparently do as well, I’m finding more and more how authority might just be in who we decided give it to. But for me, I guess I want to give it to those whom I naturally respect and trust because… well… it just make sense. And I guess that’s the question then: what makes sense for you?
I don’t think anyone in the Lutheran church really likes these kinds of demon stories that we get in this gospel reading, because we don’t know what to do with them. We have those who truly believe that it is a literal demon, and others who would write it off as just a cultural way of describing certain ailments that they didn’t have the medical knowledge to more accurately diagnose. But either case, I think the point of this story isn’t the demon, but it is Jesus’ authority.
Jesus taught unlike anyone has heard before and people were amazed. Jesus silenced the unclean spirit and people were amazed. Jesus had this authority that got people to listen and unclean spirits to do things, and people were amazed.
To me, this is the authority that makes sense. Not just because following Jesus makes sense, but what Jesus teaches makes sense. It makes sense to love your neighbour. It makes sense to feed the hungry. It makes sense to help the poor.
So while it helps that Jesus is… well… Jesus and so he just commands respect by the title alone, let’s not forget that Jesus’ authority comes also in what he says, what he displays by example, and what he teaches. It would be a good idea then to look at his teachings, like really look at it, so we can soak up as much of this authority, learn as much from with wisdom, and follow as much from his example as we can!
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!