And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? - Luke 4:22
Last week we were talking about miracles as part of the revelation as opposed to meeting a need. It strikes me as I write that Jesus did not turn stones into bread to satisfy His own hunger when it was suggested by the devil because it was not revelatory. The devil knew who He was. Perhaps it is good that we not try to prove ourselves to the Accuser, whatever form he takes. Anyway, what was true of the works of Jesus is true as well of His words. He comes to bring the Gospel, in His Incarnation, His signs, and His words. The prophets, Isaiah in particular, spoke of the One who would bear good news to His people. Jesus had gone to Nazareth and was in the synagogue there on the Sabbath where He read from the scroll what we know as Isaiah 61:1-2:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
When He finished reading, ... he began to say to them, Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. "Gracious words" can also be "words of grace". Jesus spoke eloquently, but, far beyond eloquence, His words carried with them the power of salvation. If they were received, those words would impart grace to the hearer.
However, despite the wonder created in the hearts of His auditors that day, they almost immediately began to react against this onslaught of grace. They remembered the boy raised in the house of Joseph the carpenter. They remembered Jesus Himself working and sweating like all common men. Those residents of Nazareth were unable to reconcile the image of the one who had walked among them as a child and a young man for so many years with Him proclaiming Himself the prophesied messenger. Soon, they had worked themselves into such a frenzy that they attempted to murder Jesus solely for telling them the truth about Himself.
I was reading on the blog of Vox Day (Theodore Beale) -- which I do not necessarily recommend, about his debate over a couple of books with one Philip Sandifer. Sandifer is an atheist who, in discussing the existence, power, and authority of God, says:
I have no concern whatsoever that his authority is legitimate, however. It is not, at least over what I understand to be me, Philip Sandifer. The self that I am solipsistically invested in has an independent consciousness from your god. I am but a sinner, cast out into a material world and fundamentally separated from your god. But where you view my sin as my imprisonment in a lowly, materialist prison, I view it as my freedom from the tyrant you choose to serve.
Jesus spoke with authority. This is offensive to people like Sandifer who would, even if they believed a Creator existed, deny that the One who created them had any right to tell them what reality looks like (i.e., give the Law). These poor folks are convinced they are so intelligent they can "understand their experience in the world" apart from God.
(Seriously, man, I've been there — still got the shovel. You ain't even figured out how stupid you are yet.)
John Milton knew this dude:
Here at least
we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.