Jesus, as we know, was renowned as a great speaker and wonderful storyteller. He always knew his audience and to whom he was speaking. He spoke about seeds being sown, about sheep and shepherds, wine and vineyards! Perhaps that is why in this Sunday’s gospel we read that ‘his teaching made a great impression on them’. What Jesus offered the people then, and us also is Good News, not fake news!

But it is not only what Jesus says that makes an impact on the people, it is also what he does. Jesus heals a man who is sick, resulting in the people being even more amazed at what he did rather than just what he said. If this Jesus can heal a man and forgive him his sins, then who is he? They have heard him speak with authority, and they have seen him heal a man who was sick. Their response to experiencing Jesus is ‘What is this? A new teaching – with authority!

As we continue through these early days and weeks of this New Year, it seems appropriate that Jesus offers us something that is radically new. Jesus continues, through the gospels, to offer us an alternative message; a message that is new.  A message that invites us to try to change some of our less than positive habits, am I asking God to help me or am I trying to do this all by myself? There is the story that tells of a man praying about what lies ahead. He is worried, afraid and anxious about what awaits him. He prays to God saying, ‘Lord, give me a light so that I may walk forward without being afraid.’ There was silence. Then God spoke and said, ‘No, I will not give you a light. Instead, you take my hand and we will walk into the future.’