The audacity to question the authority of the King of kings! Yes, it happened, and it happened on repeated occasions during the earthly life of Jesus. One such occurrence is found in Matthew 21:23, after Jesus had again ‘cleansed’ the temple. Matthew records that upon entering the temple the next day, the chief priests and elders confronted Jesus as He was teaching and asked, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” The authority of Jesus is something we would do well to understand. By what authority was Jesus doing these things? Over what did Jesus claim to have authority?
God declared His authority. The voice from heaven thundered as Jesus came out of the waters of baptism, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17). Within ear-shot of Peter, James, and John, the voice thundered again on the mountain, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5). The authority of Jesus came from being the Son of God – deity in the flesh. Whatever makes God who He is, Jesus had it and had it fully (John 1:1-3). This continues to be true today of His deity and His authority (Matthew 28:18).
Jesus has authority to forgive sins. To a paralyzed man that He healed, Jesus said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you,” (Luke 5:20). When confronted by the Pharisees who knew that only God could forgive sins, Jesus said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power (authority) on earth to forgive sins…I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house,” (Luke 5:23). Yes, Jesus had the authority to forgive sins and this authority continues today. As we obey His authority, the Bible says that in the waters of baptism, God puts off the sins of the flesh, He forgives (Colossians 2:11-13). What authority!
Jesus has authority to pronounce eternal judgement. In Matthew 25:31-32, Jesus speaks of the day when He will come with all the holy angels and will sit on the throne of His glory and all nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats. In John 5:22, Jesus said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” The whole world will one day stand before Jesus for judgment (Acts 17:31). Yes, Jesus is the final Judge with all authority!
Jesus has authority to demand obedience to His will. Because all authority has been given to Him, including, but not limited to, the authority to forgive sins and pronounce final judgment – Jesus has the authority to demand obedience. Life is not a game – life is a period that God grants us to make a choice.
Will we truly love and submit to the authority of Jesus and obey His commands, or will we fail to love Him and fail to recognize His authority in our lives? The question is posed, “Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). The foolish man did not see the authority of Jesus and did not obey and great was the fall of his house. The wise will hear and obey the King of kings and Lord of lords. How much love for Jesus is seen in the authority given Him in your life?