The Authority of Christ

One who has authority possesses power and jurisdiction. One with authority has the right to tell others what to do, the right to expect them to do it, and the right to punish them if they refuse to obey. As the Son of God, Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).

Jesus worked many miracles while He walked this earth. Although people were helped by these miracles, none of them were performed exclusively for the immediate physical benefit of mankind. They were performed primarily as signs, certifying that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Jesus said, “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish - the very works that I do - bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). Some of the Jews understood this. “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world’” (John 6:14). To the Jews on Pentecost, Peter claimed that Jesus was “a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22).

When Jesus performed miracles, He exercised His divine authority over a variety of things. One should notice that in all these miracles, the things which were under the Lord’s authority responded positively and immediately to His authority. When Jesus healed the sick, He showed His authority over disease. When Jesus healed the leper, the leper was cleansed “immediately” (Matt. 8:2-3). When Jesus cast out demons, He showed His authority over demons. The demons recognized both Jesus as well as His authority over them. When people saw Jesus cast out demons, they marveled, “For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him” (Mark 1:23-27). When Jesus calmed the sea, He showed His authority over nature. The disciples who saw it feared and remarked, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:39-41). When Jesus raised the dead, He showed His authority over death. Jairus’ daughter arose immediately when Jesus called for her to come back to life (Mark 5:41-42).

When Jesus healed the sick, their bodies responded immediately. When Jesus commanded the elements of nature, they responded to His voice immediately. When Jesus told the dead to come back to life, they arose immediately. When Jesus rebuked and cast out demons, even they responded in immediate obedience. All of these miracles were done before men, and for the benefit of mankind. Those who witnessed these miracles concluded that Jesus was a man of unique authority. Those who heard Him speak acknowledged that He spoke with authority (Matt. 7:29). Thus, one would expect that individuals who heard Jesus would respond positively and immediately to His authority. Yet, sadly, many of them did not. The all-authoritative Christ could command the elements and the subjects of the spiritual world with the sound of His voice, but when this same Christ appealed to mankind, He was often met with reluctance, rejection and rebellion.

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11, emphasis mine - HR). Notice, Paul says everyone should respect the authority of Christ, but many still do not today. However, there will come a day in which everyone will respect His authority. “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Rom. 14:11). On Judgement Day, everyone will see the Lord of glory, will bow the knee, and will confess that He is Lord. Many will do so to their eternal regret. However, those of us who have acknowledged the authority of Christ in our lives by our obedience to His word will bow before Him with confidence and expectation of an eternal reward.

by Heath Rogers

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