In today’s Gospel from Luke, we hear that the people who heard Jesus teach in Capernaum “were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.” Later in the passage, after Jesus heals someone suffering from the spirit of an unclean demon, the people were amazed that Jesus commanded the spirit “with authority and power.”
What did it mean that Jesus spoke “with authority”? He wasn’t “in charge” in a formal sense. He didn’t have any official “authority” in the sense in which think of the word, that is, in terms of someone having a position of authority.
As used in the passage, the word “authority,” means something different – and much more important – than simply having a position of authority. Rather, I think what the Gospel writers were trying to convey was that there was an authenticity and integrity to Jesus. His power and authority came, not from any position, but from the fact that He spoke and acted out of a truth written on his heart.
We are all called to live our lives as Christians with the same integrity and authenticity as Jesus did….called to know the truth written in our hearts and to live out of that truth at all times. That is not always easy for us to do, but that is the model of Christian living Jesus left for us.