Epiphany 4 - Year B
Authority - “meaning the freedom to express one’s powers” (JANT).
Authority is a freedom always available, even in coercive situations. Expressing one’s powers may or may not carry the day in the short-run, but it is always a witness to what you consider to be trustworthy. In this you can be as authoritative as Jesus.
It is worth reflecting on the accusation, “Have you come to destroy us?” Certainly there is a sense in which the answer is, “Yes”. For some who are into security, any modification from their ultimate control, is a death. This is the same dynamic used by those privileged in religious power. They must protect every part of their established tradition for the loss of any one part is experienced as a destruction of all of it.
The new Jewish Annotated New Testament is very clear here: “Although there has been a tendency in the modern period to distinguish Jesus’ healings from those of contemporary Jews and others, this is a theological not historical judgment. The miracles in the Gospels contain the same procedures, healing formulae ..., and demonological lore as the magic of the ancient world.”
Let’s not get caught up in trying to make things more holy than they are and openly stick to the simplicity of a freedom to express a power available in the moment.