Jesus At The Book Group

Sermon Snippets’ is an occasional series, taking bitesize chunks from our Sunday sermons.  The following excerpt is adapted from a sermon on Mark 1:14-34, preached by Nathan Burley last Sunday.  You can listen to the whole sermon here.


Jesus went into town and taught in the synagogue.  If Jesus came to your church, He’s preaching!

What He’s preaching is probably “the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.” (v15)

But Mark draws attention here to how Jesus teaches; with authority.

His hearers were astonished.  “they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (v22)  It was unlike anything they’d ever heard.

Jesus didn’t need to refer to commentaries or give tentative interpretations of the Bible.  “I think it might mean this or that…”  He spoke with authority.

I know I’m the wrong age and the wrong gender to be its target audience, but this week I finished reading the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.  I actually really enjoyed it.

Now imagine I was at a book group and one person says, “I think the series is a social commentary on the dangers of reality television.”

And someone else says, “It’s more historical than that, asking what the Roman Empire would have looked like in the 21st Century.”

I pipe up with something about it being, “A critique of capitalism on the one hand and then, in the final book, also critiquing communism on the other.”

Someone else says, “Come on, it’s just a good page-turner with a love triangle and plenty of fighting!”

And then, lo and behold, Suzanne Collins walks in.  The writer of The Hunger Games.

If she weighs into the discussion, it’s not a debate anymore.  She can tell you what it’s about.

In the same way, when Jesus picks up a Bible and teaches, He has authority because He is the author.

Other people say, “according to so-and-so…”  Jesus says, “But I say to you…”

And if v15 is what He taught, then He’s more than the author, He’s the main character!  He’s the promised king the whole Bible is about!

We preach the Bible saying, “Look at Jesus.”  Jesus preaches the Bible saying, “Yes, look at me!”

He teaches with authority.

Listen to the rest of the sermon here.