by Robby Gallaty, adapted from his new book The Forgotten Jesus: How Western Christians Should Follow an Eastern Rabbi. Read more of The Forgotten Jesus for fresh insights on the Easter story and the rest of Jesus’s life and ministry.
Although Jesus was meek and mild, he wasn’t weak. He could call down at any moment “twelve legions of angels from heaven” (Matt. 26:53). The Gospel writer Mark was the one who focused on communicating Jesus’s authority over all things.
In Mark 1:13, we see Mark highlighting Jesus’s authority over the animals. Mark is careful to tell us, “And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals.” The word “with” in the language of the New Testament implies being in harmony or communion with. Jesus had no need to fear wild animals because he was in harmony with them as a direct result of his authority over them.
Not only does he have authority over the animals, but Jesus also has authority over the angels. Mark continues by telling us, “and the angels were ministering to him.” Normally, man was made lower than the angels, but in this case the angels are the ones ministering to Jesus (c.f. Ps. 8:5).
Both the animals and the angels serve this man. Will we?
In Mark 1:22 we read about Jesus’s authority as a teacher: “And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”
Jesus also demonstrates his authority over sickness, as we see in Mark 1:30–31 (CSB): “Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.”
He even had authority over nature and the demonic, as we read in Mark 1:34: “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.”
Jesus displayed authority to forgive sins, something only God could do, in Mark 2:10–11 (CSB): “‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he told the paralytic—‘I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.’”
He proved he was Lord over the Sabbath in Mark 2:27–28 (CSB): “Then he told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’”
Finally, Jesus could extend his authority to others. We see this when he gives his disciples delegated authority to cast out demons and preach in Mark 3:14–15 (CSB): “He also appointed twelve—whom he also named apostles—to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.”
Mark’s cumulative case for the authority of Jesus points us to one truth: Jesus does things with the authority of God. We are left to conclude that this man is God, because only God possessed sole authority to heal, forgive sins, set people free from Satan, and to disseminate that authority to others.
Over the past 2,000 years, much has been said about the person and the teachings of Jesus, and the majority of what we know is good and reliable. But we still need to study the Bible, to dig out the truth for ourselves, and to be willing to move beyond our cultural assumptions of who we think Jesus is to uncover the Jesus who has sometimes been forgotten.
Is the Jesus we know the man who was born to a virgin, reared in a Jewish land, and raised in a Hebraic culture, or is he a Jesus of our own imagination who resembles an American pastor or a life coach?
How To Use This Book
Use insights from The Forgotten Jesus in your teaching.
If you want your church to know and follow our Master better, consider sharing this book with them. It will help its readers:
- Discover the Jewish-ness of Jesus and how it enriches your Bible reading and prayer
- Understand how the larger biblical narrative fits with Jesus
- Love God as Father—the way Jesus did
What others are saying:
“The message of Jesus may be timeless,” writes author and pastor Larry Osborne,” But his life, teachings, death, and resurrection were all time-stamped. They took place in the real word at a specific time and place. In The Forgotten Jesus, Robby Gallaty helps us better understand the long-forgotten culture and context of Jesus’s life and ministry so that we may better grasp the timeless beauty and power of his gospel.”
“Readers will be freshly amazed at Jesus’s life and ministry when they view it in light of his first-century Jewish reality,” writes author Lois Tverberg. “Don’t miss this treasure that God has revealed through Robby Gallaty,” adds pastor Bryant Wright.