Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Authority

In the last week before Jesus was crucified, He went into  Jerusalem  and turned the religious establishment upside-down by going into the temple and driving out the corrupt money-changers who were in cahoots with the corrupt priests.

WHAT RIGHT DID JESUS HAVE TO UPSET THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT?

 

In response to these events of Luke 19,  the priests came to Jesus and asked by what authority He acted and spoke and what right did He have to upset their religious establishment?

As children, as parents and as citizens we all understand the concept of authority.  Authority denotes power, permission, responsibility, and control. We all exercise and/or submit to human authority.

However, Jesus, who is God in human flesh, stands apart from all others when it comes to authority.  Though Luke 2:51 tells us that as a child, Jesus was submissive to His mother and step-father and was respectful to His elders;  as a grown man from the time He commenced His earthly ministry at the age of 30, He exercised authority as no other human.

Though submitted to His Heavenly Father, the authority He exercised throughout His ministry, was unlike anyone else. Whatever He did, wherever He went, His power and authority were  absolute and unlimited by any man. No one told Him what to do or where to go or what to say. His authority was absolutely unique.  In Matthew 7:28-29 we read that Jesus spoke as one having authority; in contrast to the teaching of the scribes, which must have been a boring experience to sit through. 

In  Luke4:36  we have a sampling of the two Greek words that speak of Jesus power and authority.  Dunamis is the Greek word that speaks of power, a word from which we get the word dynamite.   Exousia is the Greek word for authority.  Jesus had absolute power and absolute authority to do whatever He desired in Bible times and He has that same power and authority today and throughout all eternity.

He has authority to save anyone who comes to Him in saving faith. John 1:12

He has authority to forgive sins, authority belonging only to God.  Matthew 9:1-8

He has authority over demon powers.  Matthew 10:1

He has authority to lay down His life in death and authority to take it again, which He did when He raised people from the dead and when He Himself arose from the dead. John 10:18

He has the keys to death and Hell. Revelations 1:18.  Keys speak of authority.

I HAVE MY RIGHTS!

We American like to boast about our rights.  We once had a flag picturing a coiled rattle snake with the words, “Don’t tread on me!”  I love that independent American spirit and have some of it myself.  However, under God, none of us has any rights, but to die and go to hell for our sins.  All we are and all we have is only by the grace of God.

The Jewish leaders in that final week before Jesus was crucified recognized and were confounded by Jesus, the personification of absolute power and authority.  As God in human flesh, He never had to ask for permission from anyone for what He did or said. 

When you, as a teen, say “I don’t have to listen to my parents or teachers.  I can do whatever I please”, then you are acting as though you were your own god.  By rebelling at authority, you are rebelling against God who has placed you in a family under authority of your parents.

Now getting back to the events of Luke 19, when Jesus cleansed theTemple  and drove out the money-changers with a whip, He received  no permission from human authority.  He was acting by His own power and authority as God.

He called the temple, “My House”.  He totally ignored the entire religious system of His day, with it’s corrupt priesthood. He was  indifferent to their Councils, and opinions.  Can you see why the chief priests and elders were furious with Him and wanted to kill Him?

Understand that Jesus was not received, accredited nor approved by the world.  John 1:11-12 and 15:18-21 teach this.  It was also prophesied 700 years earlier by Isaiah in Isaiah 53.

With this background, we now approach Luke 20:1-2 as the chief priests, Annas and Caiaphas, and the scribes approached Jesus and asked by what authority He did these things. They were the accepted authorities of Judaism, and they were furious with this intruder upsetting their establishment.  They were hell-bent on silencing Him forever.

JESUS’ ANSWER TO HIS ENEMIES

 

When they asked Jesus by what authority He spoke and acted, Jesus answered them with a question.  “By whose authority did John the Baptist preach and baptize?  Was it authority given to Him by God or by men?”  Luke 20:3-4

They well knew the answer to Jesus’ question.  Some of them had been there three years earlier when John baptized Jesus and they heard the voice from Heaven as God the Father spoke to His Son, Jesus,  ” Thou art My Son in whom I am well pleased!”  Mark 1:1-11  Matthew 3:16-17

They had heard John the Baptist announce Jesus as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:19-36

Those wicked priests, scribes and Pharisees knew exactly who Jesus was and why He had come to earth; but in their rebellion, they hated and opposed Him throughout His three year ministry among them.  They refused to receive Him as their Messiah and Saviour from sin.  In their rebellion they asked Him this question about the source of His authority.

They reasoned among themselves concerning Jesus’ question and answered Him nothing.  So Luke 20:8 informs us that He was not going to answer their question.  They already knew the answer and they refused it. Furthermore, Proverbs 26:4 instructs us to not answer a fool according to his folly.

JESUS WAS APPROVED BY HIS HEAVENLY FATHER

 

Though Jesus was not approved by the religious leaders of Jerusalem, as you can see by reading  Luke 10.  Other Scriptures, including John 7:40-53 and John 1:11-12 also confirm this rejection.    Acts2:22  teaches us that God approved of His Son, as evidenced by supernatural signs and wonders.

THE APOSTLES WERE ALSO APPROVED OF GOD

 

The Book of Acts is a record of the beginnings of the early church.  The Apostles, Peter and John preached Jesus, and the enemies of Christ immediately tried to silence them by questioning their authority to preach, as recorded in Acts 4:1-7.

Peter answered  his critics in  Acts 4:8-12.  The enemies of the Gospel responded by threatening them in verse 13-18  to stop preaching or suffer the consequences. Peter responded to the threatening by declaring to them “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye: for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

 

In Acts 5 we see God confirming the authority and message of the Apostles, by killing two lying Christians right on the spot.  Take time to read this very interesting and sobering story.  It resulted in a reverential fear of God throughout the church, as we read in Acts 5:11.  Verse 12 of that chapter tells of how the Apostles moved forward with signs and wonders from Heaven confirming their authority.   The Apostles, as well as Gospel preachers today, have God’s authorization and responsibility  to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world,  Read that Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.

Paul, the special called Apostle to the Gentiles, declares his call and  authorization from God in  Galatians 1:1-18. 

Paul’s message of the grace of God infuriated the Judaizers and they repeatedly tried to silence and even kill him,  just as Jesus infuriated the scribes and Pharisees, leading to His crucifixion.

WHAT IS BIBLICAL ORDINATION TODAY?

 

Just as Jesus was confirmed by His Heavenly Father at His baptism and  just as the Apostles were ordained and instructed by Christ to carry His message to the world; so God calls and ordains men today to preach the Gospel,

Ordination today is the recognition and affirmation of an examining council of pastors and elders that the candidate has been called  of God  and approved Biblically and is personally qualified to be a pastor or missionary.

That approval is not based merely on an education or college degree; but because the candidate evidences a clear grasp of the Gospel message and has an overall understanding of the Bible and evidences the Gift of Teaching.  It is also based on the evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit in his life and ministry.  Such have a God-given ability to understand and clearly declare the message of the Bible, as declared in II Timothy 3:16-17.

It is then that the candidate is set apart for the ministry in a public service by the laying on of hands by the examining pastors. See I Timothy 4:14.

A true preacher does not seek the approval of the world, Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:10.  Rather he is approved of God as He faithfully continues to study and expound the Scriptures, as we read in II Timothy 2:15.

Not only does he preach the Scriptures, but by God’s grace he lives the Scriptures so that he cannot be condemned as being hypocritical or insincere.   I Timothy 4:7 tells us that he has a good reputation in the world.

Philippians 2:14-16 teaches that we are to live without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

As the world grows darker as people turn from the light of the Gospel and the preaching of God’s Word, may God raise up a new generation of preachers who, like the Apostles of the first generation, will turn this upside down world right side up with the truth of God’s Word.  Is God speaking to  you about this?  What are you going to do about it?  Will you surrender to His call?  God help you to do it.

I answered his call in my youth and now after 55 years in the ministry, as I approach my 79th birthday, I can assure you that life as a preacher of the Gospel has been an exciting adventure.   I urge you to submit to Christ’s authority today.

 

 

 

 

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Authority | Comments Off on Authority