Commissioned: Authority

I’ve been reading an instructive Christian book that challenges believers to completely rethink their approach to studying the scriptures. The most fundamental shift author Jen Wilkin asks readers to make is to realize that “The Bible is a book about God.”

As simple and obvious as that seems, the author reminds us that when we approach scripture looking for what a passage says “to me,” we subconsciously switch our focus from the Bible being God-centered to it being primarily about us. And while it absolutely does give clarity about who we are and what we should do, that information only comes through an understanding of who God is. (pg 23) So as we think about the application of this view of the scripture, we can clearly see that the major emphasis of God’s agenda is for us to take what we know from scripture and share it with others.

Jesus said it like this: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

A lot of Christians know those verses as the Great Commission, but what they don’t realize is that its only part of what Christ said. Back up to verse 18 and we see important context for His challenge. He laid the foundation for his directive by saying

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Think about the implications of this. All authority resides in Jesus. He has all power, all ability, all rights, and all privilege. Everything belongs to Him. The Gospel give abundant evidence of Christ’s authority over supernatural forces, illness, sin, and even people, but is that the usual picture painted of Him today?

In his book, “The Jesus I Never Knew,” Philip Yancey talks about the disconnect between the image of Christ in the first century and the one we have today. He wrote that he felt like Hollywood had lied to by Him by portraying Jesus as a man who is “cool as a cucumber,” calmly reciting his lines evenly and dispassionately. Nothing rattles him as he patiently dispenses wisdom in flat measured tones. However, this is in stark contrast to the picture the New Testament gives.  Jesus is depicted as one with such authority that people flock to him multitudes and were willing to sit for hours and days just to hear His enthralling teaching. And yet often we act like it takes every last ounce of our will-power to pull ourselves away from what so easily captivates us and simply follow after Him.

Possibly, one of the reasons we fall short of God’s will for our lives is because, in the back of our minds is the image of the mild-mannered Jesus who doesn’t really care what we do and will always forgive us no matter what.

When we reevaluate and replace that flawed image and truly grasp who Jesus is and understand the scope of his authority, we’ll realize that our King has every right to force us to do His will. But instead of lording his power over us, He gently calls out to us, “Follow me!”

Once we relate to Jesus by faith, through prayer, worship, and the Word of God, it should naturally foster within us a wholehearted desire to humbly and gratefully respond to his call without hesitation.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  ~ Matthew 11:28-19

 

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Wilkin, Jen. Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. N.p., 2014. Print.
Yancey, Philip. The Jesus I Never Knew. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Print.

18 thoughts on “Commissioned: Authority

  1. I’m afraid this is frightfully true: “in the back of our minds is the image of the mild-mannered Jesus who doesn’t really care what we do and will always forgive us no matter what.” One friend I know left her husband for another man saying, “It’s okay because God forgives!”

  2. Thanks for your post! There is a book by Mike Erre called the Jesus of Suburbia. It’ s a very easy read and points out how the church has commercialized Jesus and made him into a commodity. It’s actually pretty sad, but thankfully people are asking questions and finding surprising answers when they take the time to look at what Jesus said about Himself and what he did. He is the perfect revelation of God, and so it is all about Jesus. We have to rediscover who he is and what he is doing!

  3. Well said, Karen. In Genesis 1:26, “God said…” and then at that moment, He delegated AUTHORITY to mankind. In Gen 3, man gave his God-given AUTHORITY to Satan. Then JESUS T

    1. …then JESUS to the AUTHORITY back, and delegated it yo us. AUTHORITY given is the Greek word dunamis; where we get the English word “dynamite” from. Our prayer life should be based on our AUTHORITY. We don’t need to BEG in prayer, but what has been delegated to us by JESUS, using our believer’s authority.

  4. Well said, Karen. 🙂 I’ve been reading the gospels for the last few months, and have recently begun John. It’s been such a warm experience to walk, once again, through Jesus’ ministry, and time on earth. Makes me love Him even more. So thankful that He loves me, and that all authority belongs to Him…for He is trustworthy. Thanks for sharing. ((blessings))

  5. This is an excellent message. Thanks Karen for challenging me to reevaluate the true purpose of Christ. Your reminder of Christ as the ultimate authority reenforces me to get to know Him better. It’s easy for me to overlook my salvation rests upon His authority. GBY your family and friends. Peace be with you my friend.

  6. Another “Wow!” I think of Jesus taking the time to make a good whip and then wreaking havoc on the money changers. He wasn’t pitching a fit, He was displaying His authority! And I love what you said about how we should respond to His authority with humility and submission. His will is going to be accomplished whether we obey or not. I think it’s awesome that He invites us to be a part of it!

    You are exactly right. His authority is sobering, awesome and yet comforting.

    We talk a lot about good leadership in the church today and it IS important, but Jesus is looking for good FOLLOWERS.

  7. WOW! What a fascinating post, Karen. I must admit at times I’m guilty of searching Scriptures primarily for what they do for me. What an interesting book as well. This one’s going to motivate me to rethink my own reading of the Bible and my focus. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. I think we’re all guilty of looking at God’s word with a ‘me-centered’ perspective. It takes discipline to pull back and give God His rightful place at the center and evaluate ourselves in light of who He is! Thanks Steve!

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