Jesus’ Authority as Seen by Man
People recognized that Jesus taught and spoke as somebody who had authority. There was something in the way Jesus taught that even those not in His inner circle saw as authoritative. Would not the Creator of the whole universes know how to present the words of God? Would not Jesus Himself be the example of teaching ministry the Eleven were to follow? In each of the passages below the word astonished describes the reaction to Jesus’ teaching. The Greek word for astonish (ekplḗssō) as used here means to strike out, expel by a blow, to strike with a panic. The people were struck with astonishment and amazed. The construction of these references would include a prolonged amazement. This explains how I feel when I sit down with God’s Word. The following Scriptures used as reference to this guiding principle:
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29)
Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as scribes. (Mark 1:21-22)
And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. (Luke 4:32)
The spiritual leaders of Israel were threatened by Jesus and questioned Him as to His authority. The scribes often quoted certain rabbis as their authority for teaching, but Jesus claimed His authority came from the Father. Jesus often taught this and was pushed by the spiritual elite to prove His case. Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, and Luke 20:1-8 all record an incident in which Jesus’ authority was questioned by the religious leaders. Jesus had already kicked out those conducting business in the temple, those who were making merchandise of God (John 2:16 and 1 Timothy 6:5). They questioned Jesus as to what authority He had to do the ministry He was doing and by what name He was given this authority. Jesus cleverly posed a question to hold the elite at bay until His ministry was completed. We will see where Jesus received His authority as we continue this study of authority.
The Centurion recognized Jesus’ Authority. Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 recount a story in which a Roman Centurion came to Jesus to pray for his servant who had a tormenting sickness. The Centurion, a military man himself, understood what authority was and knew that Jesus was given the authority to heal. Jesus and the Centurion had similar jobs: the Centurion received his authority from Rome and Jesus from the Father. The Centurion explained authority as this:
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Matthew 8:8-9, emphasis added)
People recognized Jesus’ authority over demons, disease, and all kinds of sickness. Jesus performed miracles that could only be attributed to God. The people were getting a small piece of the all authority the Eleven will eventually see by the end of their training. Because Jesus came in the body of flesh, as a man, the people concluded that He was granted the authority to cast out demons and to heal the sick as the following passage states:
Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” (Luke 4:36)
Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. (Matthew 9:8)
Jesus had Authority (Power) to Lay Down His Life and Take it Up Again
Jesus’ work upon the cross was according to His own authority. Though the Son was submissive to the Father the Scripture teaches the act itself was an act of His will and His authority. We continue to see played out in the Ministry Manifesto the final authority exists in Christ Himself.
Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. This command I have received from the Father. (John 10:17-18)
Jesus Christ is given All Authority in Heaven and on Earth (see notes on Colossians 1:16)
Jesus’ authority is now recognized on heaven and on earth. We have seen that in the earthly ministry of Jesus He had authority on earth. We have also shown that Christ has authority in heaven after His finished work on the cross. This passage ties these two ideas together in a post-resurrection declaration of Jesus. Not to say the Son did not have authority in heaven during His earthly ministry (because He never lost that authority), but this is to show the focus of His ministry between the earthly and the heavenly and how they interrelate.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) – Authority now recognized in heaven as well as on earth
Both Holy Angelic and Demonic Angelic Beings are subject to Christ’s Authority
Because Christ’s authority is in both in heaven and on earth He has authority over all angelic beings. This is easily understood because we have previously established from Scripture that Christ created both holy and fallen angels and He has authority in heaven (where angelic beings dwell) and on earth (where demonic beings dwell). As a side note please do not get confused and recognize that both types of beings have limited access to each other’s place of abode, but that authority is regulated by the Supreme Authority of God to suit His will.
Note in both 1 Peter 3:22 and Ephesians 1:20 it is stated that Christ is at the right hand of God. This is in reference to Christ’s authority. To be at the right hand of the king is a declaration of authority and strength. Thus the phrase of being somebody’s right hand man – that is the Christ, the right hand Man of the Father. Also we are told that Christ’s is far above the other authorities. The authority of Christ is so far above angelic beings that there is no comparison.
Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Peter 3:22)
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21)
And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10)