The authority of Jesus

Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18, NIV)

All authority belongs to Jesus. That word “all” is huge. It means all, as in there in no other authority other than that which derives from Jesus. None anywhere. Not in heaven, nor on earth.

The votes of democratic majorities do not give authority. Office and position and skill do not give authority. Wealth does not give authority. Fame does not give authority. Traditions do not give authority. The only authority resides with, is found in, Jesus.

If the president of the United States is aligned with Jesus, then his authority is genuine. If he (or she) is not, then the president may have power, but no authority. Lots of people in our world have power and exert power. But they do not have authority. Their power is used in godless ways.

Jesus has all authority. If we would have authority, it must come from him.

This is an amazingly, breath-takingly, radical statement by Jesus.

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10 thoughts on “The authority of Jesus

  1. All authority “has been given” is an important concept because Jesus delegates some authority to leaders of the church and that is an awesome responsibility.

    I have been doing a little study on authority and thought I’d share a few notes.
    It is interesting to note the story of Aaron in the Book of Exodus 32:21.
    While Moses is on the mountain Aaron was left in charge.
    Aaron was given authority and was completely derelict in his duty.
    Moses looks around confirms what God has said to him that the “people have become corrupt”
    The first words recorded out of Moses mouth was “What did these people do to you…?”.

    The scripture reads:
    19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
    20 And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. 
    21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” 

    Some teach Aaron was motivated by fear and threat which would make Aaron cowardly.
    Some teach Aaron was a peacekeeper and participated in the sin because he wanted to keep peace at any cost.
    What ever the motivation Aaron failed. He failed God. He failed Moses and the cost was high.
    Later the text records the cost of that sin and the division. The people are required to make a choice.

    Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side–come to me.” v 26

    Aaron would later go on to become Kohen I would imagine Aaron would never forget the lesson learned that day .

    1. “Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side–come to me.” v 26” The decision of this similitude is before the United Methodist Church right now. Some will think they are “saving” their lives, or saving themselves some trouble, by choosing to remained baffled at what to do with biblical mandates. Others will set out for the Jordan…

    2. And right after that Moses and the Levites cut down 3,000 Israelites, right? Am I remembering the story correctly?

      1. That is true.
        It is also true Moses pleads with God not to kill them all.
        So what does it all mean?

        1. N. T. Wright, in Paul and the Faithfulness of God, spends 1500 pages making a case (contra the universalists) that “not all” of elected Israel decamp for higher ground, though a remnant does. In the same way, not all who wear the Methodist brand will have holy faith. That’s painful for us, as it was for Paul. This is why so many of us wring our hands in grief and dismay over disobedience. We sense the Big Sort is happening, AND MUST. But it is the biblical pattern (both testaments).

        2. More notes.
          Before turning on God consider the following.
          The story includes…………
          Lack of leadership. Sheep without a shepherd. Wolves creeping in and deception. Aaron offering gold as a sacrifice in place of who knows what and a ridiculous excuse of a calf appearing
          A people intent on doing evil.
          Rebellion,
          A people who desire and need leadership.
          Moses acts as intercessor.
          The people unarmed are a people not equipped to defend themselves .
          Judgment and penalty is reserved for the guilty.
          Wesley seems to think those that led the rebellion and who where leading the people astray were the 3000 killed. (Wesley’s notes)

          The Lord struck the people with a plague to change their hearts.
          It was Moses who took up arms and set the people apart.. Exodus 32:35

  2. Wouldn’t it be just like God to manifest a revival out from the midst of all that is taking place? That He would ignite within your heart a renewed joy and love and wisdom. That He would actually say….”lay it all at my feet”? What if the only thing stoping it was you? Gary summed it up best.

  3. Every day I pray for our churches in America I get a little more excited. I just so very much believe that God is doing something for Him….to erase all of the confusion that has become a dark cloud shrouding the light of His glory. From my limited observation it “appears” that a new type of church and Christian has taken hold of our Christian community. A body of people who believe they are serving God in their compromising and conformity to the culture…the world. I have believed for some time now that the true church would face its greatest foes from within the church first. And we have only seen the tip of the iceberg….at least that is the knot in my gut.

    But this is what I get excited about. The culture conforming and nominal Christians may be sweeping in and temporarily acquiring notoriety (of course they will…they are friends of the world), hijacking denominations that once were our pillars of Christianity in America, and even taking over physical assets in numerous cases…..but these people and all that they are creating will not last for very long. How can they? These churches will not provide people what they really need, and eventually without those needs met, people will depart.

    I believe that after a long draught…..there will be people departing from these “church” ideas and becoming stronger and stronger in their holding Jesus Christ as the only authority. We will become like the Bereans in Acts. We will become a more tightly knit community of believers where love can abound without the chains and bonds of compromise. I believe we will be so counter-culture in our walk that we will face the most persecution the church has ever faced in America. But I believe the persecution will only ignite our light brighter. I believe all of you leaders who grieve and mourn today for the loss of what it was will soon be rejoicing in the hope and faith of what lies ahead of you and those you lead. I am just a common man….a Christian member…..and the desire in my heart to be a part of God’s plans for the future for our church and our church leaders wells up within my heart like a spring of pure water and excitement. My appeal to the church leaders in UMC who choose to answer God’s calling out to you today will unsheathe your swords and lead us to the future. The way is narrow….and many will just not want to traverse the rugged path ahead…..but you will have those, like me, who are waiting to follow you. Please do not wait too long…..this is our time as the church in the history of the church…..make it count….make it lasting….and let’s together reveal the true love and glory and majesty of our All Mighty God.
    …..peace

    1. You have the tongue of an exhorter and an encourager. Keep on praying and making your appeal. It is salutary, like the Florida coastal breeze!

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