“By Whose Authority….?”
This was the BIG question posed by Christ to those who placed such a high value on human authority!
It arrived unexpected, as a vexing question, “What about the authority of John the Baptist? Was it of God, or of the masses?” Too hard to answer? John openly spoke the Word of God. He did no miracles – yet many believed him to be a prophet, sent from God. He was just that and more! The questioners who approached the Lord had heard His Words and seen His miracles. They were without excuse. (The references are in Matt 21:23, Mark 11:28 and Luke 20:2.)
“I am from above….”
Jesus showed that His authority was “from above” with Word and with Power, received directly from Heaven. His apostles were witnesses to both. They heard the Voice, they saw the miracles. They loved their Lord! Peter tells us that they were eyewitnesses, not only of His authority, but also of His Royal appointment! (2 Peter 1:16-17).
Disciples of the Lord
When we were baptised we accepted without question, Christ’s authority to speak, act and to require our complete allegiance. The Jesus we have come to know, is One who daily administers His Divine authority with compassion, love and patient understanding. In this present world He has delegated His authority to many.
What ‘authorities’ might we exercise NOW as Believers?
1| To use the Word of God
2| To uphold Jesus’ teaching
3| To witness to His Way
4| To declare God’s righteousness
5| To serve one another ‘for Christ’s sake’
6| To pray for one another ‘in His Name’
7| To forgive one another ‘as your Father in Heaven forgives’
8| To address the Eternal God - as our Heavenly Father!
This is an impressive list! Positive activities that we can fully engage in, without further consultation or need for any localised authority. We can just get on with it, knowing that the Lord will approve, with the proviso that we engage in them in the same manner and for the same motives, as Christ would endorse.
Why do we write about these things?
We (in the West) live in a very Christian-influenced world. The ‘church’ will NOT allow such license as Jesus gave us! It wants to control its members. “Pastors/ministers must have a suitable qualifications to speak for the church” or “Only the Priest can arrange forgiveness” or “We appoint Evangelists to preach the Gospel” or “Church writings / authority take precedence over the Bible.” The church will usually appoint a hierarchy, a chain of command or its own authority, and may also set a high priority on cash contributions, using questionable means and motives. None of this has scriptural authority.
The Truth alone sets one free
How blessed we are to be different, to embrace the Truth! Our Lord only allows His Followers to serve Him under HIS personal Headship. Paul draws attention to “The body” and “the Head” as integral, one united entity. Christ does call for spiritual shepherds to feed, care for and to guide His flock. These are “under authority” NOT the authority!
Let’s use this freedom we have been given to serve our Master and wait on Him ...till He comes
Bro Neil Todd (Australia)