I’m intrigued by the healing events near the end of Luke 4, where crowds of people are amazed at Jesus’ authority, and a demon submits to it. You don’t usually hear the word “authority” in reference to a good speaker or teacher. You usually hear words like “impressive,” “inspiring,” or “powerful.” But Jesus was not usual. When he spoke, people could sense the authority he carried.
These days, it seems as if authority is bestowed on the people who talk the loudest. We usually equate loudness and certainty with authority and wisdom. Just because someone is on TV, talks a lot, or exudes confidence, doesn’t mean that their authority is “from heaven” (Lk 20:4). Granted, I’m sure Jesus talked loud so that the people in the back could hear him. And I’m sure he was confident about what he said, but I don’t think that’s what conveyed his authority to the crowd. Not that I was there or anything, but I like to think that people recognized Jesus’ authority because he spoke words that revealed truths in undeniable ways. I think when he spoke, he vocalized meanings of life that resonated with people down to the core of their souls. To do that, you don’t need to be loud, boisterous, or arrogant. Jesus received his wisdom and authority through an intimate connection with God’s Spirit. So the next time you hear someone who sounds like they speak with authority, see if their authority comes from themselves (being loud) or from heaven (being humble).