31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. Luke 4:31-32

In Jesus’ day, authority was limited to a select few. The Jews had a religious system that not only governed their places of worship; it also determined the laws of the land politically, culturally, and socially. Religious leaders had authority to tell everyone else how to live because they were the ruling class of Israel. As high priests tasked with interpreting the law of Moses, they also determined what constituted crimes and often carried out punishments, sometimes in the middle of the street. No trial or appeal to a higher court was given because they ran the show. So you can imagine how off-putting it was when a carpenter’s son turned their well-oiled governing machine on its ear–and the people loved Him to boot.

Stepping into such a rigid system, it wouldn’t take long for Jesus to make a name for Himself. “40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.” Luke 4:40

No doubt the healing thing drew crowds of people to Jesus, but the Bible repeatedly says they were also in awe of the authoritative way He spoke, and that people came from far and wide to hear Him.

What must a person sound like to solicit awe? “He speaks with authority” is such a specific observation, yet people made it repeatedly. And spolier alert, the way He spoke is what got Him killed. The religious rulers were terrified of losing their power, and only someone with authority greater than their own could threaten it.

Luke 20:1-2 records one such confrontation:

20:1  “And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,

And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?”

The Jews tried to understand where the authority that oozed out of Jesus came from. Who granted it? Who taught you how to speak this way? What entitles you to come onto our turf and teach our people?

His answer was simple but would seal His fate: 58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58

And there it was. The claim that made both the way Jesus spoke and the reaction He received make sense. “I AM” was the name God gave Himself when He sent Moses to free the Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 3), and the way He continually referred to Himself in the book of Isaiah– and His listeners were well versed in the Scripture He referenced.

Simply put, Jesus spoke by His own authority.

Of course, He was never at a loss for how to respond to questions or how to interpret the Law– He wrote it. Of course, He didn’t fear the Romans or any other governing body– empires rose and fell by His word. The authority with which He spoke was His own. He is the one who whispered the world into existence; who holds planets in orbit and mountains in their place; who commands tides to rise and orchards to bloom; who created things like E minor and puppies; who rose from the dead– and we’ll all give account to Him one day.

So yeah, His preaching was worth the trip.


Thank God that He’s in control and you’re not, repent of areas of your life that aren’t under His authority, and ask Him for help in submitting.


  • Is there an area in your life where you’re denying Christ’s authority?
  • In what ways does His authority bring peace and comfort to your circumstances?
  • What’s your plan for how to submit more fully to Christ’s authority?