What is authority? Why is Jesus’ authority questioned?
The authority of Jesus is questioned by others: Are we questioning that Jesus has the authority from God? We need to consider that issue in our hearts.
Is Jesus our Master? Are we His slaves? Does Jesus own us?
Now in thinking about the authority of the Messiah, perhaps it’s helpful to consider two words. The first is the word dunamis which the Bible translates “power.” The second is the word exousia which the Bible translates “power” or “authority” and is best understood as “authority,” and there is a difference. Dunamis or power is the ability to do something. Exousia or authority is the right to do it.
- And when we say Jesus had authority, we mean not just that He had power but that He had privilege. God had given Him the privilege of acting in His behalf in this world with no regard for the authorities of men. And so He had both dunamis and exousia, He had the power and He had the privilege. It was given Him by God and He said that again and again. He said in John’s gospel at least three or four times from chapter 5 to 8, “I do what the Father shows Me to do and that’s exactly what I do.”
- Matthew 12:24–28 — But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.“
- Matthew 21:23–27 — When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ “But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.” And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” He also said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
- John 2:18 — The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”