Through the centuries, theologians have faithfully labored at the task of interpreting the scriptures. In a small way, for the last few decades, I’ve been involved in such a process too. It’s rewarding, exhilarating, and excruciating at the same time.
But I sometimes wonder about the way we’ve handled the scriptures. Because when Jesus taught the Scriptures, there was something different. His audience also experienced the difference, “and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority” (Luke 4:32).
We focus more on interpreting the text to find the original, intended meaning. Or we may study it to determine the appropriate application for our day. All these are vitally important and we need to continue approaching the Bible in such a way.
But Jesus had a different approach. He used the scriptures to teach and to illustrate and moved along to demonstrating God’s power in a practical way.
In Luke 4:31-37, the people recognized that his words possessed authority. This statement is mentioned before he performed the healing. Sure, their response could be due to the previous miracles they’ve seen. But when power is demonstrated in your ministry on a regular basis, you’ll communicate the message with a different slant/flavor. The words you speak will be with genuine boldness and authority.
So Jesus taught with authority. His authority came from who he was and what he did (the miracles). According to Jesus, all these were evidence of the kingdom of God that has come to earth. For him, the aim in teaching the scriptures and demonstrating God’s power was to present the Kingdom of God and invite people to enter the kingdom through a relationship with him.
Through the centuries, theologians and the church have been rightly concerned with correct interpretation. But maybe we ought to take Jesus’ view and give priority to presenting and demonstrating the kingdom and inviting people to the kingdom of our Lord.
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