Before we progress farther into the purpose of The Plow we need an understanding of authority in the Ministry Manifesto – the New Testament. Each manifesto has its own authority which gives it legitimacy to its followers. The Ministry Manifesto is no different in that regard, but has the added authority beyond any document created by man because it comes from God Himself.
This is why we will study the bookends of the Great Commission first in this blog: (1) All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18); and (2) I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
It is important to recognize that Jesus claims exclusiveness in His authority in the New Testament: in His sayings and in the writings of the apostles. The Greek word for all used here means all, meaning of all kinds, of every kind and sort, including every possible variety. In its grammatical construction in this instance (Matthew 28:18) all is used in the sense of all possible, the greatest, utmost, and supreme. The claim of Jesus is: there can be no higher authority on which the Kingdom Revolution is to proceed than upon His words, and more specifically His Word, the Ministry Manifesto. As faithful soldiers we should listen to the commands of the Commander in Chief and play our role in fulfilling the Great Commission. There is no other authority we follow: not church growth advocates, not worldly philosophies, and not the best business management practices. Our commands come directly from our Ministry Manifesto given to us by God.
Authority in the Greek is ἐξουσία. It means permissible, allowed; it includes the thought of permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. It may be used either of the capability or the right to do a certain action.
Kenneth Wuest in his Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Volume One adds this helpful working definition:
The word means literally “to beat out,” and was used of that authority which a person has which is delegated to him from someone else. The person delegating the authority is in a sense out of himself and acting in the person to whom he has delegated authority. Thus, the word means “delegated authority.” The word means also “the power of authority and of right.” It was used in legal practice of delegated authority. Here it is used of our Lord as having that authority in Himself, not derived from others.
When we approach the Great Commission we must recognize it comes with all the authority of Jesus Christ. If we accept being commissioned officers we are subject to Hos direction and guidance by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We also have a clear objective: to make disciples.
We will look more closely at authority in the New Testament in future blogs.