Jesus Is Lord

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
In his book Jesus and Power, David Prior saw little use in a distinction between the terms “power” and “authority.”
The importance of that distinction can be seen in Micah 2:1 where evil people carry out their plans to sin “because they have the power to do so.” Certainly, no authority inheres in their plans or activities.
What one has the power to do does not mean one is authorized to do it. Authority means the right to exercise power.
Jesus has both power and authority.
In the Great Commission, the Lord plainly states:

Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

This passage tells us at least five things about Jesus’ authority.
1. Complete Authority. Jesus has “all authority.” He uses a common Jewish construction which we call a divine passive. The passive verb is understood to have God behind it as the subject or acting force. With all authority given him by his Father, no one ever has any space to dispute an order or decision of his.
Jesus detains today all authority in matters of faith, practice and mission. No one today has authority to impose on others. The only time a disciple has authority is when he speaks God’s word (Titus 2:15) — and the authority is still God’s, not his.
2. Exercised Authority. Based on his authority, Jesus gives orders: “Therefore.” He makes use of his authority to command his people, so his is not an authority that can be ignored, bypassed or substituted. Christ is not an absent or inactive Master.
3. Benevolent Authority. Jesus wields his authority for good. Making disciples and baptism brings forgiveness to the world. At the beginning of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus declares that he has authority on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). His authority does not send us out for humanitarian relief, political action or benevolent causes, but for the spiritual redemption of all, the greatest good that can be done for another.
4. Specific Authority. Jesus does not leave it to our imagination as to how a disciple is made. By the two participles in the phrase, he orders that we make disciples through baptism and teaching. Baptism is the response to the preaching of the gospel. Jesus sends us into the world to preach and teach. Jesus’ authority is specific, and that means when he specifies, we forget all other options.
5. Supported Authority. “I am with you always.” Jesus does not send us on an impossible task. His presence guarantees his help and strength. Whatever he commands us to do, we can by his help perform.
What does having all authority make Jesus? Lord of lords, and King of kings!

One Reply to “Jesus Is Lord”

  1. “His authority does not send us out for humanitarian relief, political action or benevolent causes, but for the spiritual redemption of all, the greatest good that can be done for another.”
    The above quote is from Mr. Matheny’s article (Aug 3). I believe the article to be very good and sound! However we must be careful about separating the Christian walk into segments…like political, social, and so forth. An elder in my own congregation told me “the Bible does not speak specifically against abortion…(what about Thou shalt not kill)” another elder of the same congregation insisted that we have to be careful when establishing when life begins (this after I gave a wed night lesson on life starting at conception (In Luke Jesus was not 12 days in Mary when John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb).
    Christ’s authority commands that we be salt and light (Jesus in Matt 5). Paul commands that we “reporve” the evil works of darkness (Eph 5.11).
    For Christians there is no segregation. Our entire life oozes Jesus be it political, social or humanitarian.
    For too long the Lord’s church (as a whole) has avoided the social issues and “political” issues which have destroyed our once great land! The denominations have beat us to the punch and continue to while the Lord’s church sits in the shadows! Shame on us!
    What can we do?
    1. Get involved and speak out from the pulpit on abortion and homosexuality…
    2. Get involved and speak out during election time…pass out voters guides (in church) and urge the sheep to vote their godly principles!
    3. Help the elderly and others register to vote and get to the poles
    4. Establish crisis pregnancy centers and share Christ with women who seek help
    5. Write letters to the editor and pressure elders to urge the preacher to preach on the important social issues of our land
    There is so much more but this is a start.
    The Lord will hold us to this! We cannot assume our flock is informed on these issues! Many are not…we must preach it and speak out…time is short.
    Lee Wagstaff

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