The world is a mystery that has inspired and driven humanity, from the scholar to the young child, to question and ponder the difficult questions it poses. In seeking answers, we all develop our own understandings or reach our own answers to satisfy our curiosity, no matter how unreasonable they may be. Our many questions lead to comparatively much shorter list of answers. In a landscape so barren of sure foundations, to adopt a position of authority and confidence on any topic is received with suspicion and criticism. Unless, that is, the answers to our questions are accompanied by both power and undeniable truth.
As Jesus began to speak in the Capernaum synagogue, both of these elements were present. His teaching came with an authority that confidently knew, not a presumptuous attempt spurred by curiosity. He spoke with an understanding of a time before any of our problems existed. More convincingly, his teaching came with the power to reverse the problems of this world that demand our attention and inquiry. In his being was simultaneously the answer before the problems and the answer to the problems. The teachings of man cannot access the before and after, and thus are left in infancy. The teachings of philosophers and religion can begin to understand, but are left far short of the ability to confidently explain and resolve. The synagogue of Capernaum was filled with certainty. The God of the ages was present. There was no doubt for those watching and listening that this was new, this was different. This was not of man. When the Holy Spirit is unleashed in the minds of men there is nowhere else to look. The work of the Holy Spirit demands attention, and receives it, because the power and truth of almighty God always comes with healing. The fear of the Lord does not terrorize, and the people in that synagogue were not feeling terrorized. Their fear of the Lord was that of awe and amazement. In the presence of something so supernatural there is no other reasonable human response.