Let’s explore the concept of authority and especially focus on the authority that Jesus Christ was given and that He gives to His disciples. But first, let’s acknowledge that there are many positions of authority in this world…
Joh 19:10 – Pilate, Act 1:7 – Our Father in Heaven, Act 9:14, Mat 21:23- chief priests, Mat 8:9, Luk 7:8 – Soldier, Mat 20:25 – Civilian leaders, Luk 4:5 – devil, Luk 20:20 – governor
Paul calls this human authority
1Co 9:8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?
And into this mix of human authority, Jesus Christ appeared with an authority given by God in Heaven…
Mar 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic–
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Joh 17:2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
Mat 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–”Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
Joh 5:27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Joh 10:17-18 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Jesus clearly had been given immense authority and He used it as He walked amongst us. I believe that He did these things as a sign pointing to what He was about to do on the cross. I think that He healed people’s eyes as a sign to His healing everyone’s eyes on the cross in His role as Jehova Nissi (the Lord our Healer). He provided food for 3000 people and then for 5000 people as a sign of His ability to provide food for everyone on the cross in His role as Jehova Jireh (the Lord our Provider).
The miracles were signs and wonders to encourage us to believe that He is able to do what the prophets all promised the Christ would do, on His cross.
Our Father in Heaven also gave other people a temporary authority over Jesus Christ, which Jesus Christ was also obedient to, because it came from His Father in Heaven…
Joh 19:10-11 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.
Jesus’ reply to Pilate shows that all authority is ultimately given and provided from God. That concept of God being in charge matches with this statement by Jesus Christ about the times and seasons that human history is passes through…
Act 1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
Although all authority in Heaven and on Earth had been given to Him, in order to keep His perfect position of righteousness, He was in full obedience to His Father in Heaven…
Joh 12:49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak.
Joh 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
Interestingly, Jesus said the Holy Spirit would also operate only on what He hears from God…
Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Now that we know more about Him, His authority and His obedience, perhaps we can appreciate more about the role He appoints His disciples to…
Mat 10:1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
Mar 3:14-15 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.
Mar 6:7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
Luk 9:1-2 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
Luk 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
Paul spoke about the authority he had been given and he explains what it is used for…
2Co 10:8 For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed.
2Co 13:10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
We have explored the authority that Jesus Christ had. Now we should have a better idea of His ability to give authority to His disciples – such as you and me!
Stil focussing on His authority, lets look at one of the tests that He went through…
Luke 4:5- 8 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “’You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
I suspect that the devil knew that Jesus Christ had immense authority and so he tried to gain access to the authority of Jesus Christ (or at least disable His authority by inducing sin) and he hoped to do this by offering access to his own authority.
Jesus didn’t take the bait. Why not? Here was a chance to get authority over the whole world. Wasn’t that the goal? No, that was not the goal. God our Father loved the world – people – so much that He sent His Son to bring eternal life to us.
Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Had Jesus taken another route to authority over the world (kosmos – people, world affairs, earth, heavenly host, ungodly multitude), then He would have sinned by being disobedient to God. Then God’s plan to eradicate sin would have failed. If Jesus had sinned through disobedience, He could not have taken the sin of the world onto Himself as a perfect Lamb of God.
This idea of restoration of all things – the kosmos – shows that rather than being a judgemental God, in fact God was showing compassion and love towards us! God the Father saw, knew and understood the bondage that the devil had held us in for 10,000 years through sin and death… and so He sent Jesus Christ to remove sin and death as forces which keep us bound.
Jesus Christ faced this test and stayed true to what He had come to do. He refused to receive the devil’s authority over the world, because He trusted that God had already given Him all authority in Heaven and Earth. Why would He change where He gets His authority from? Why would He change onto the team which was about to lose the whole game, set and match?
So Jesus Christ remained loyal to only listen to our Father in Heaven and to do only what the Father spoke to Him and showed Him. Complete obedience. He completed the work set before Him, He ran His race. Jesus Christ gave His life for everyone and then He received it back when He was raised up.
It’s so exciting that we find ourselves – the church – in a majestic cosmic story in which everything is being given back to our Father in Heaven…
1Co 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
Now we can see once again the broad scope of history, from the fall through to His cross which is the pivotal moment in the unfolding events and then onward to the “close of the ages” when everything is returned to God the Father. What a story! 🙂
So now that we can see all of that more clear, once again we can perhaps more easily understand our role in this cosmic drama of events…
Rev 2:26-28 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star.
There is nothing small or puny about the role we have been called to as disciples. Once upon a time we were captives of sin and death, but through Jesus Christ we now have the capacity to be overcomers and to rule and take dominion over sin and death. What a turn-around! The authority Jesus Christ received from God the Father is given to us disciples, because we are His body on the earth, we have the fullness of Him within us, we are One with Him. So now we can clearly see that as His authority came from God the Father, ours comes from Jesus Christ and apart from Him we can do nothing…
Joh 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
He has loosed everything in Heaven and we are to loose it on Earth. What a priveledge! What an honor!
As we had a measure of faith, we also have a measure of authority. How do we grow our authority? To grow our authority, all we need to do is be faithful in the small things and God will give us more…
Luk 19:17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’
The purpose of our work is nothing less than the complete removal of evil and the restoration of the whole world back to our Father God who loved us so much that He sent His Son…
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. – 1 John 3:8
Book: If My people (v35!) (1+MB) – A free daily devotional which is under development. 167 pages.