A synonym for Authority is Power. One gets to exercise power over someone or something because of the office or the position he or she holds, or he or she is an expert of a subject and that persons knowledge or opinions are greatly respected or it can also be because of the persons personal quality. Qualities in the way he or she speaks or behaves which make the people obey you.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was borne on this earth at a time when Romans were in power. For governance Romans had an established hierarchical structure. We know Jesus Christ never held any official position under the Roman Government or any position in the Jewish council or in any religious circles. We know that the authority or the power that Jesus Christ exercised over the people or the circumstances are not because of the power or authority that was vested on him by humans. Jesus Christ received his authority from his Father, for he said, as recorded in Mt. 28:18 “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. The life of Jesus Christ, all what he taught and did demonstrates the authority he had and still has.
- At the inception of his ministry, as he began to call the disciples, we see that at his command they just left everything behind and followed him. When he met Simon who is also called Peter and Andrew his brother, Bible states that they straight away left their nets and followed him. When Jesus Christ called James and John they were with their father Zebedee and we read in Mk 1: 19-20 that they immediately left the ship and their father to follow him.
- No man knows thoughts of another, unless their thoughts are vocalized. But Jesus Christ when he lived on this earth had the ability to know the hearts of the people whom he met. In Jn 1:47 concerning Nathaniel it is recorded that “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” Nothing was hidden from him. That is why Apostle John states in Jn 2:25 “He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” Further apostle Paul in 1 Cor 2:11 states that “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
- Jesus Christ taught and preached the Gospel of the kingdom with authority. The people of that time recognized that, what Jesus Christ taught was far more superior to what Moses instructed. While the law given through Moses demanded people to refrain from certain actions as well as made certain actions obligatory, Jesus Christ addressed the same issues with a deeper meaning. He was addressing the condition of the heart as well as mind. In Mt 5:17 Jesus Christ said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” The “sermon on the mount” is on the issues of our hearts. More than the outward performance Jesus Christ was asking us to look into our hearts. He was speaking of the things concerning eternity. He used parables to reveal the things of the Kingdom of God. Parables are stories in which a real and earthly thing is used to parallel or illustrate a spiritual or a heavenly thing. Our Lord Jesus Christ knew the spiritual condition of the people who followed him; they lack knowledge and understanding therefore he spoke to them in parables. His sermons, teachings revealed the truth. He spoke to the crowds saying…”verily verily I say to you”…. Or I tell you the truth….. The bible records in Mt.7:28-29 “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.” (Also see Lu 4:32 Mk 1:22 1:27 )
- Jesus Christ demonstrated power and authority in the miracles he performed. Substances had to be obedient to his word. At his command a substance was changed from one to another. At a wedding feast in Cana he turned water in to vine as given in Jn 2:1-11.That was the first instance he reveled his glory.
Also at his command substances multiplied to feed the hungry. On one occasion seven loaves and few fishes multiplied to feed a crowed of four thousand (Mk 8:5-9, Mt 15:34-38) and on another occasion five barley loaves and two small fishes multiplied to feed about five thousand men. ( Mk 6:41, Jn 6:10, Lu 9:15)
Jesus Christ had and still has authority over sickness and disease. He healed lepers (Mt.8:1-4) paralytic (Mt 9:1-2) Blind and Mute (Mt 9:27-34 Mt 20:32:34). In Mt 11:5 it states that …” the blind see, the lame walk the lepers are cured the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is being preached to the poor”…. All the miracles that Jesus Christ performed are not mentioned here. It is amazing what Apostle John has to say about the works of Jesus Christ in Jn 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”
In all these instances he was moved with compassion. At his word people were healed delivered and set free. He did not have to pray for hours or days for the miracles. These miracles happened as he moved with compassion towards the spiritual and physical needs of the people. His miracles proved existence and sovereignty of the Almighty God and brought glory to his name.
At his command storms became still. (Lu 8:22-25)
To pay his and Peters taxes Jesus Christ instructed Peter to throw the line and catch the first fish which would have a four-drachma coin in its mouth. (Mt.17:2527)
He even walked on water (Lu 14:22-29) He was not subjected to laws of nature.
Think about his transfiguration. (Mt.17:1-13) Only the bible records an event of this nature. And people are yet to experience an event of this nature even in these modern days.
- At his command people were set free from evil spirits and demons. Evil spirits recognized who Jesus Is. They cried you are the son of God.( Lu 4:41, Mt.8:16-17, Mt 4:24)
- Dead were raised to life. At the command of Jesus Christ, dead were raised to life. Jn 11:19 records how Lazarus was brought back to life.
- Jesus Christ exercised authority over sin. He has power to forgive sin. In Mt 9:2 when a man sick of palsy was brought to him Lord Jesus Christ said “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee”, and the man was healed from his disease. This is also in fulfillment of what was told about the ministry of Jesus Christ in Mt 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Jesus Christ revealed from where he received his authority. In (Mt 28:18) he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” And in Mt 11:27 Jesus Christ said that “All things are delivered unto me of my Father “He also said in Jn 7:16 “…. My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” Our lord Jesus Christ was given power over all flesh. Jn 17:1-2. (See also Jn 12:49 and Jn 17:1-2)
Apostle Paul speaks of the superiority, power and authority of Jesus Christ. In Eph 1:18-23 He also reveals that God exerted his mighty strength and raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority power and dominion and every title that can be given not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Further, that God has already placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. One cannot forget the revelation given to Apostle John, in Rev 5:1-14, only Jesus Christ the lamb that was slain is worthy to take, break the seals and open the scroll.
Our Lord delegated his authority to us, his believers. Jesus Christ has restored completely what has been robbed from mankind in the Garden of Eden due to the fall of Adam. His authority delegated to us, is of two fold. One, to live a victorious life as seen in Mt.11:25 -30 and the other to serve others. To take the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ to others who are still in darkness and to set them free. (Mk 16:17-18)
Our Lord demonstrated as to how we should use his authority. In Mt 20:25-28 he said not to exercise this divine authority like the gentles do. “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s life was a life of obedience. As a child he was obedient to his parents. (Luke 2:51). He remained obedient to his heavenly father even unto death. In Ro 5:19 we read that ‘THROUGH THE OBEDIENCE OF THE ONE MAN THE MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS’ and in Heb 5:8-9 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him” Jesus Christ knew what he was going to suffer, his sweat turned to drops of blood. Yet in obedience he cried, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Because of his obedience to the heavenly father he went to the cross with same power and authority. That is why even with so much pain and suffering he cried “FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO”
Jesus Christ is the wine we are the branches. Unless we remain in him, we as believers cannot bear fruit. See the assurance in his words in Jn 15:7-8 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples” He has revealed that we as his believers will do even greater things for he is with the Father. As his believers we need his authority to live a victorious life on this earth and to carry out the work entrusted to us as his followers. His words say in Jn 15:9-10 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”. His greatest commandment is to love one another as he has loved us. So that his power and authority can flow through us, his believers to those who desperately need it.