Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Exploring Jesus' authority

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Matthew 7:15-29

“And so it was when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”  Matthew 7:29

Oh, I wish I could have sat in on one of Jesus’ hillside lectures! Mathew puts his finger on at least one aspect of Jesus' appeal—the authority with which He taught. Our passage contrasts it to the scribes.

What was the scribe’s teaching like. The IVP New Testament Commentary says:
“Other Jewish teachers regularly cited earlier sages' opinions, and though later teachers sometimes came to regard their tradition as tantamount to God's Word, Jesus' contemporaries never would have claimed, like Jesus, that people would be judged according to how they treated their words.

With greater authority than the scribes who expound the law, greater authority than Moses who gave it (5:1), the authority indeed of the One who will judge humanity on the final day (7:21-23), Jesus declares God's word, and the people recognize that he speaks with authority unlike their other teachers” - IVP New Testament Commentary accessed through

The word authority here is exousia. It means:
1. The power of choice - liberty of doing as one pleases.
2. Physical and mental power - the ability or strength with which one is endued.
3. The power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege).
4. The power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed.

The lexicon I used to look up exousia lists other places in the Bible this word is used. I checked out the ones from the gospels and have tried to pair the times Jesus claimed or showed this authority with the various definitions:

1. Power of choice:
'Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.'" John 10:17,18
2. Physical or mental power, ability or strength:
"Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, 'What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out'" - Luke 4:36
3. Power of authority (influence) and right (privilege): 
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name'" John 1:12 
"'For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man'" John 5:26,27.

4. Power of rule or government:

"Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
Jesus answered, 'You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin'” John 19:10,11

 Furthermore, Jesus gave His followers His authority:
- Over demons, disease and Satan’s power: 
"Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases" Luke 9:1.

"'Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you'" Luke 10:19.
- At Jesus' ascension, on the strength of His authority He commissioned His followers—us—to use that authority:
 "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen"  - Matthew 28:18-20.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to experience Your authority coursing through me by the presence of the Holy Spirit to fulfill Your great commission. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...