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Homily for Fourth Sunday in ordinary time B

26 Jan 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Moses spoke to the people, saying, the Lord your God will raise a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren as you desired (Deut. 18:15). Probably the people observed that Moses was growing old and might soon join their ancestors. So, they desired another prophet like Moses; in fact, they prayed for it at Horeb, and the Lord promised to grant their request.

There was no way the people would have prayed for another prophet like Moses if they had not seen something wonderful in him if they had not seen the manifestations of God’s power and glory in his life. Moses’ life challenged their lives; it inspired them to ask God for continuity, another prophet like Moses.  And Joshua was chosen, he took over from Moses, and God was with him the way he was with Moses. But at the fullness of time, God raised a greater “prophet” to shepherd his people. He came down himself in Christ Jesus to shepherd his people.

Jesus came to Capernaum on Sabbath and went into the synagogue; he taught with authority that astonished the people. His teaching was different from those of the Scribes and Pharisees, and even the demons noticed the difference and cried out, What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are; you are the Holy One of God. Jesus exercised his authority by ordering the demon to be quiet and come out, and the demon obeyed.

When the scribes and the Pharisees taught the people in the synagogues, the people did not feel the power of God’s presence; they did not feel that authority in their voice. The Scribes and Pharisees quoted the prophets as an authority; they referred to the prophet’s personal experience of God. They talked about other people’s experience of God and not their own experience. They saw the prophets as very close to God, but not they themselves, for they were far from God. But Jesus was different; he taught with authority that is his. He taught about the God he knows and not the God some other persons told him about. He talked about the God he has seen and touched, about the authority he was convinced of. Not like the Scribes, they talked about other people’s experience of God. If we do not know God personally, we cannot talk with authority.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we have authority, believers authority, and the authority to bind and lose. The scribes and the Pharisees allowed their God-given authority to be silenced by pride as Jesus said; They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their fingers. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutation in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men (Mt. 23:4-7).

There are so many things in our world that can silence our authority in Jesus Christ, and one of the most dangerous is fear. Many Christians are afraid to exercise the believer’s authority; they are afraid to challenge evil probably because they feel they are not worthy. But, who is worthy? Of course, nobody. But we are justified by faith in Christ Jesus. We stand on the power of that justification that comes not by power and might but by the power and mercy of God.

The demon recognized the authority of Jesus Christ, and he bowed to it. Jesus ordered the demon to “be quiet and come out of him.” The words of Jesus, “be quiet,” is a powerful one. To be quiet means to rest, peaceful and calm. When the sea was troubled, Jesus commanded it to be calm, and it became calm. What are the challenges before you? The Lord can speak calmly into you, he only needs to say the word, and you will be healed just as the man with the evil spirit was healed.

This authority is ours as believers; it is called the believer’s authority. As Christians, we must learn to stand on this authority to confront, challenge and defeat the devil. God has given us power over the works of darkness. So, as we celebrate this Sunday, let us ask God to renew his power and authority in us through Christ our Lord. Amen!