Jesus was not an ordinary man. And He wasn’t just a prophet. Nor was He just a rabbi. He was and is the very Son of God. So when we hear others try to find common ground with Christianity but reduce Christ to anything less than God Himself, we need to draw the line. After all, our faith is based on Him honoring His promises for our salvation. And He can only honor those promises if He is God. The Scriptures testify to the fact that He was not just a man, such as in this miracle:
And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!”
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.
And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.”
And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district.
– Luke 4:31-37, NASB
This miracle is all about authority. The type of authority a man does not wield. First, notice that when He taught, Jesus didn’t teach like everyone else. His teaching was amazing, because He didn’t just go over the Scriptures and give rabbinic tradition from the Talmud or give an interpretation that could be argued with. He taught the Scriptures as He intended them to be understood, for He is the Word and the author of all Scripture. And because He is the author, He taught with authority and those privileged enough to hear Him teach realized they were witness to something special. Think about that… God Himself teaching you what He wrote. That’s what they received. But you know, we have that, too. We have the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide and He will teach us “what He hears,” meaning the Scriptures (John 16:13). So though we can’t be in the physical presence of God like these men, we still have God as our personal tutor. But here’s the catch, as students, we have to be ready and willing to learn from Him.
Second, notice that the demon knew exactly who Jesus was. Moreover, the demon believed that Jesus was the Holy One. Faith is more than believing that Jesus is who He said He was. Faith is about acting on that belief. While actions don’t save us, if we say we have faith but there is no sign of it, then we’re not telling the truth (James 2:17). Confessing Christ as Lord is only part of it. We are told that we must believe in our hearts, too (Romans 10:9-10). And if we believe with our hearts, that means we’ll begin to change. We’ll begin to care about the things He cares about. We’ll begin to act like He acts. And we’ll begin to yield ourselves in surrender to His authority. That means we begin to want to do His will. If folks claim to have faith in Christ but we don’t see clear evidence that these sorts of things are taking place in their lives, we cannot rightfully draw the conclusion that they have received grace and been adopted by God and are indeed granted salvation. Likewise, if we don’t see these things in our lives, it either means we aren’t saved or it means we have issues with sin we’re not dealing with.
Finally, note that the demon had to respond to Christ’s command. Everyone will one day (Philippians 2:9-11). Nothing in Creation has power over Christ. Rather, Jesus has power over everything. This is something we can take great hope in. If He calls us to something, any obstacles or challenges that lay before us are not impossible. While we may not be able to accomplish or overcome them alone, we can with Jesus’ help. Every aspect of Creation must obey Him. And that’s something that we can use to help us respond faithfully to His call. He doesn’t call us to something we can’t meet. But He will call us to things which require us to exercise our faith.
We serve a Savior that loved us so much, He went to the Cross for us. But He’s not just any Savior. He’s God Himself and everything is under His authority. Therefore, we can take great encouragement from the fact that we don’t walk this life alone, but if we are His, He walks it with us. And as He walks with us, we will change (and want to change). We will become more like Him. We will begin to slowly but surely resemble our Savior. As He performs that change in us, nothing can resist Him. He is the Almighty in every sense of the word. So whatever others may see as an impossible task or mission we can know it isn’t. At least, not for us and Jesus together. And if we keep this firmly in mind and heart, there’s no valid reason for not living out our faith to the fullest.