4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 31/1/2021 - Gospel: Mk 1: 21-28
New Teaching
Jesus' custom was to go to a synagogue on a Sabbath, and there he preached to the people. Synagogue leaders often invited a fresh, new, promising voice  to teach in their synagogues. Jesus' teaching not only made tremendous impact on people, but actually His teaching changed their lives. They spoke highly of Him. They were amazed about His wisdom. They praised Him, saying that His teaching was not just revised old teaching, but actually it was a new teaching, and He taught with authority. Scribes often relied on customs and traditions as the sources of authority to interpret the Torah. Many of their customs and traditions were conservative, and were heavy burdens for the people, and they were weighty on punishment. Unlike the Scribes, Jesus taught the people about God's love, and mercy. He once asked the people who challenged Him 'Is it against the law on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil; to save life or to kill? Mk 3,4. For Jesus, laws, and customs, and traditions were for people, not people for traditions.  Jesus taught with authority. Jesus' authority was not derived from the ancient customs and traditions, but from within, from His personal authority. This personal authority was confirmed upon Him on the day of His Baptism. On that day, the Spirit came upon Him, and the voice of God from on high confirmed Jesus was the Son of God 'You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you' Mk.1,11. Jesus' authority came from God: The authority to proclaim, that God's kingdom was with the people, and for the people.

The text mentioned nothing about what Jesus taught the people. From what people praised about His teaching, we believe Jesus taught them about something, which was dear to their hearts, and some things which were relevant to their daily living, and something which they had longed for years to listen to. There was another source of information that let us know what Jesus taught the people, and that was the annoying voice from His opponents. Through their complaints, we  know Jesus gave voice to the poor. He criticized regulations and customs that destroyed life. Jesus welcomed sinners and tax collectors. He ate with them to show, they too, were God's children, and God loved them. Jesus freed the people from fear, and brought them hope by curing all kinds of sicknesses and diseases. Several times Jesus ordered evil spirits to 'be quiet', and they obeyed Him. Jesus was the Holy One of God. The Holy One would not talk to the unholy, but just gave a command, and they obeyed. Jesus came to the world to set God's people free from the unholy ones.

Jesus' authority and His teaching were identical. His teachings had power, and His power was manifested through His teachings. He once told his opponents that He would prove to them that the Son of Man has power to forgive sin. He gave a command to the cripple to be healed. 'But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the paralytic 'I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home. And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone'. Mk, 2:11f.

The people enjoyed listening to Jesus because His teaching was new. He talked more about God's love and mercy, and less about God's wrath and punishment. Listening to Jesus, the people felt, that the God, Jesus talked about was the personal God, Who was close to their hearts, Who walked with them in every circumstance and understood their hardships. Listening to Jesus, the people felt, that God's kingdom was close at hand, and for everyone who lived a life of loving God, and serving others in God's name.