Epiphany is a season celebrating how God touches our lives. The season begins with the celebration of the kings visiting Jesus at Bethlehem, next we heard about Jesus’ baptism where the voice of God proclaimed that Jesus was God’s son, last week we heard about the calling of the fishermen to be disciples. Epiphany is about big moments that point to Jesus’ divine significance all of which involve people making steps to follow his example. It is about expressing God’s mission to all corners of the world.
But as we hear today’s gospel lesson, we get a glimpse of Jesus’ authority with the common people he encountered. When telling stories like this one, I struggle with not knowing what Jesus said. For some reason the gospel writer didn’t include his amazing words, a surprisingly unjust oversight. There are times when I wish I had the words he spoke because they were so powerfully persuasive about the way God is involved in human life and they provided the purpose of existence, so strongly, that the people who heard them knew it without question.
They knew it, even though Jesus didn’t come to them as an authority (at least not one chosen by the society). Here was this stranger who appeared in the gathered community, a place where people gathered to listen and interpret God’s Word (a place similar to this one), and after speaking these amazing words, he was deemed to be the ultimate authority. So much so that the real authorities, the ones who made a good living doing that work, were scared of losing their power and influence in that community.