What Are Your Intentions?
By Dianne Neal Matthews
“What do you want with us, Jesus from Nazareth?” (Mark 1:24a)
Heads turned as the man’s cries pierced the subdued atmosphere in the synagogue. One look and the worshipers knew that this tortured soul suffered from demon possession. “Oh, no! What do you want with us, Jesus from Nazareth?” the demon screamed. “Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24, God’s Word translation)
Many of the people had witnessed or heard of exorcisms involving incantations, strange rituals, or props. But Jesus spoke only a few simple words: “Keep quiet, and come out of him!” His word was enough to silence the demon. The evil spirit threw the man down on the floor in convulsions and left his body with a shriek.
Only a few minutes earlier, Jesus had amazed the people in the synagogue with the way he taught with such authority; now they were stunned by his power over demonic spirits.
“What kind of command is this?” they asked each other. “With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits, and they come out.” (Luke 4:36)
During his time on earth, Jesus spoke and taught about God with wisdom and authority. He demonstrated power over the weather, evil spirits, diseases and infirmities of all kinds, and even death. Yet most people refused to do what every demon Jesus ever encountered did—acknowledge him as the Holy One, the Son of God. Although demonic spirits strive to carry out the wishes of Satan, they instantly obeyed any command spoken by Jesus.
Today, many Christians call Jesus “Lord” but refuse to submit to his authority in their daily life. Jesus taught that verbal expressions mean nothing if we don’t also obey him. “Why do you call me Lord but don’t do what I tell you?” he asked (Luke 6:46). Being a follower of Christ means so much more than saying the right words or singing the right choruses; it demands a life fully committed to obeying God’s Word and submitting to Jesus as our Master.
James made a convincing case that faith is more than mere intellectual assent. “You believe that there is one God,” he wrote. “That's fine! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear.” (James 2:19) His letter explains that true faith will always result in a life marked by godly living and good deeds.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he commissioned his followers to make disciples on the basis of the authority given him by God the Father. As we obey that command, our life becomes infused with his authority as we tell others about God, teach from the Scriptures, confront evil in the world, and bring healing to wounded people. If we are fully submitted to Jesus’ lordship over us, then people will see his authority through us as well.
[Jesus said] “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)
Ask yourself: Does my life reflect Jesus’ authority over me and through me?
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This Devotion is adapted from Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture with permission. (Baker Books) © 2010 Dianne Neal Matthews
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. Her newest release is Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation (Baker Books). Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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