Spiritual presence

September 24, 2010

What must it have been like to encounter the earthly Jesus, to meet him as he went about his ministry?  When the gospels attempt to share something of this with us, they are no doubt hindered by the impossibility of rendering such an experience in words.  But a common refrain in the gospels describes Jesus as "speaking with authority."  This is in our gospel for today along with another common refrain, demons recognizing Jesus.

I think that both of these refrains are attempts to describe Jesus' spiritual presence.  Jesus taught just as many other rabbis did.  He read from the same scriptures and his teachings sometimes had much in common with others.  But even when he said the very same thing as others it sounded different, and people could sense it.  "They were astounded at his teaching, because  he spoke with authority." 

In the same way, demons recognizing Jesus speaks of this same spiritual presence.  We don't live in the world of the gospel writers, a world that was filled with demons that caused all sorts of things we would attribute to other causes.  But the fear expressed by these semi-divine agents of the First Century speaks to an incredible spiritual presence in Jesus, a vivid sense of God at work that could bend events toward God's will.

I think the Church would do well to focus more on this issue of presence.  We need to realize that authority is less about facts and ideas well marshaled, presented, and argued, and more about God's presence.  The hunger for spirituality in our day is in many ways a hunger for just such an authority. 

The presence and authority that Jesus manifested was all out of proportion to the number of followers he had, the financial resources at his disposal, or his connections to people in power.  It was the power of spiritual presence, of God actively at work in him.  And as the body of Christ, the Church also must seek this sort of power and authority, one derived from God's presence palpably moving in our midst.  Even in a day when congregations face shrinking numbers and financial resources, when we draw nearer to God, when we become more open to the Spirit, our authority grows, and we become truer to our call of being Christ to the world.

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Originally posted at Pastor James, part of the CCblogs network.



I wonder how similar the rabbinical situation was compared to our day. Of course spiritual teachers had opinions, ideas, theories, arguments--there were plenty of debates. And here's Jesus talking like he knows something, like he's experienced something. When he talks it appears to cut through the 'cocktail chatter' of his times...

Thanks for the great post.


I was walking down the street and I saw a taxi driver having at the back of his cab this statement: JESUS IS A CHRISTIAN. I called his attention and told him Jesus is not a Christian. Jesus is God(1 Timothy 3:16). Talking about the authority of Jesus;the fact that He is God has settled everything. However, if Christians can follow Him closely as he promised in St. John's gospel Chapter 8 verse 31-2,we could have the same power demonstrated in our meetings today. "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;"(Hebrews 5:7-8) This scripture could inspire the wisdom to pray for God's delverance as Jesus did in His day.When this happens,demons have no choice but to check out.God is still in Heaven,and that means means nothing has changed with the exception people's perspective about the truth(Jesus).

Divine Authority

From my last post.......authority has plenty to do with reflection. Especially having deep and quiet meditation on what GOD bestowed on us (you)? if you are exercising enough of Divine authority? and how to improve....you can follow my blog at:

God's presence

Being present to God when we read scripture and being attentive to Christ's authority for our lives are indeed part of the Christian journey. J.G. Janzen addresses this in his article titled "Here I Am" (CC 09/10/2010) -- his thoughts on how to live with a medical crisis in his life. The article led me to purchase his recent book, At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job. Good stuff!