Authority – Part 1

Who is seeking it?  Who has it?

In the first century, there were concerns about authority.  During the ministry of Jesus, the Pharisees wanted to know where he got authority.

Matthew 21:23
23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

Jesus knew there would be problems about authority, among his disciples.

Matthew 20:20-28
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.
21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask…

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave–
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The mother of James and John was asking that they might be given authority!  In those times, the position one held, sitting next to the king on his throne, indicated what level of authority the king had delegated to them.  Jesus, knowing all things, knew that this human weakness would arise again.  What was his response?  If you want to be first, be a servant!

But also, look at what he said concerning “exercising authority.”  Look how forceful his pronouncement is; “it shall not be so among you.”  They were not to seek or exercise authority on their own!

There were also other men who attempted to seek a place that they did not deserve.  And Paul, an apostle, did not “submit” to them.

Galatians 2:4-6
4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),
5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
6 But from those who seemed to be something–whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man–for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

Notice also that these “brethren” were “secretly brought in.”  They used “stealth” (deception)… that they might rule over those local disciples, and over Paul.  In addition to being “false” people, they wanted control over fellow Christians… they wanted submission… they wanted authority!

But Jesus claimed “all authority.”  Speaking to his apostles, Jesus said:

Matthew 28:18
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

If he has “all authority” how much was left to manNone!… unless… he delegates it.

Jesus did delegate authority.  In the following parable (and others), Jesus likened his temporary absence to a man who gave authority to his servants while he was gone.

Mark 13:34
34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.

After the 70 returned to Him, Jesus said this:

Luke 10:19
19 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.

The apostle Paul claimed that Christ had delegated authority to him:

2 Corinthians 10:8
8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed—    See also 2 Corinthians 10:14

2 Corinthians 13:10 (NKJV)
10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.

Obviously, Christ delegated his authority. The apostles were his specially appointed ambassadors, they were given unique miraculous gifts.  Yet he didn’t want his own apostles seeking after authority.  How would Christ view those who seek authority over fellow Christians today?


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