By what authority does Jesus do the things He does?
Jesus does lots of things. And so, there come questions about all of this. The religious elites want to know.
By what authority does Jesus the Messiah do the things He does?
On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the good news, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Jesus was issued various challenges by the religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) over subjects such as:
- Marriage in heaven
- Paying taxes to Caesar
- The source of His authority
- The widow’s donation
- Jesus spoke His eight “woes” against the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13–36)
- Jesus delivered the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. The orderly and extended teaching given by Jesus on the end times.
So what is the “big deal” about the authority of Jesus? The right of Jesus the Messiah to speak and act on his Father’s behalf in forgiving sin, pronouncing judgment and promising eternal life to those who believe in him is well established. The religious leaders resented it greatly. The followers of Jesus knew. “But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8) After the “Jesus Manifesto” was delivered, His listeners sat in awe. Scripture says, “The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29)
Authority is a concept known to some degree by every responsible person. By most it is appreciated at a certain level, for without it society would be chaotic. Others detest it, and refuse to live by it. The world’s prisons are full of such rebels. “Authority” is a major biblical theme. The most popular Greek word for “authority” is exousia (sometimes translated as “power”). This term, with a variety of usages, is found some 102 times in the New Testament.
The big deal is the Jesus is King and I must submit to His authority. At its core, I don’t want to submit. My guess is you don’t either. I must do what Jesus wants me to do and not what I want. I have to give up my stubborn, obstinate and defiant ways. I must!
Jesus, in his authority, has good news for me. Authority is a good thing.
Jesus Christ’s authority underlines his divine status
- So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 8:28 (NASB)
- Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58 (NASB)
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 (NASB)
- But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.1 Corinthians 1:24 (NASB)
- And in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority. Colossians 2:10 (NASB)
The origin of Jesus the Messiah’s authority – It is given by God the Father
- “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” John 3:35 (NASB)
- And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18 (NASB)
- “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Luke 10:22 (NASB)
- “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.” John 5:26–27 (NASB)
- So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” John 7:16 (NASB)
- “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” John 10:18 (NASB)
- “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:49–50 (NASB)
- “Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.” John 17:2 (NASB)
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