In the end of last year, we were learning on what it means to be a “Carrier of God’s glory” and what is required of every believer. The three previous articles covered two aspects of God’s glory: presence and power. In this article, I will finalize the discussion by looking at the third aspect of God’s glory which is authority.
When you see authority, you know it. In Genesis 1, we see demonstration of God’s authority as He spoke the universe into being: “let there be light” and there was light; “let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water” and it was so; “let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let the dry ground appear” and it was so; “let the land produce vegetation” and it was so; “let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night” and it was so; “let the water teem with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky” and they were created; “let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds” and they were produced; “let us make man in our image, in our likeness” and he was created.
Authority is the legal ground to exercise power. Christ’s death on the Cross resulted to among other things, legal restoration of mankind to his/her position of rulership. When Adam and Eve committed sin at the Garden of Eden, they lost the legal ground to fulfill their mandate as prescribed in Genesis 1:28: to be fruitful, multiply, subdue and rule. The written code and its regulations (the Old Testament law) stood against mankind, for he was subject to the penalty of sin that required death. Thank God for the Cross! At the Cross, Jesus cancelled the written code that stood opposed to us, and He nailed it to the cross which resulted to a permanent nullification of its claim against man.
Colossians 2:13-15 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Those who choose to accept the work of the Cross by repentance and to welcome Jesus to be Lord over their lives are made sons of the Most High God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-15). They are spiritually delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15). They are made citizens of a heavenly kingdom (Philippians 3:20).
During His earthly ministry, Jesus exhibited authority because He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15); He was in right standing with the Father (John 5:19-21). It is worth noting that there are numerous accounts in the Gospels that demonstrate Jesus’ authority. For example, when Jesus was confronted by Satan with temptations after conclusion of his forty day fast in Matthew chapter 4, He did not call for a prayer meeting. He countered Satan’s deceptive lies by proclaiming God’s Word, which was a demonstration of authority over Satan’s schemes. After delivering His sermons to the crowds in Matthew 5-7, the crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teachings because He spoke in authority (Matthew 7:28-29).
Jesus coming from the mountainside in Matthew 8:1 met a leprous man who asked Him for healing. Jesus’ said, “Be clean” and the man was immediately cured. On entering Capernaum in Matthew 8:5, Jesus met a centurion whose servant was unwell. The centurion beseeched Jesus to speak a word and when Jesus did, the Bible records that “his servant was healed at that very hour.”
In another incidence, Jesus was visiting Peter’s house and many who were demon-possessed were brought to him (Matthew 8:16). The Bible records that Jesus “drove out spirits with a word and healed all the sick”. At another time, Jesus was sleeping in a boat in which His disciples were also on board. Tossed by a life-threatening, furious storm, Jesus awoke and rebuked the winds and the waves. The Bible records that following the rebuke, the lake “was completely calm” (Matthew 8:23-27).
At the region of Gadarenes, Jesus met two violent, demon-possessed men (Matthew 8:28-34). The demons recognized Jesus just like in the incidence in Acts 19:11-17 where the demons acknowledged to knowing Paul. Spiritually, those in right standing with God are no secret; you cannot fake righteousness. Rather than Jesus playing it safe to avoid trouble arising from any form of provocation, He spoke to the demons and said “Go”. The Bible records that the demons “came out and went into pigs”.
In another time of ministry, a paralytic man on a mat was brought to Jesus. When Jesus spoke the words, “Get up, take your mat and go home,” the man immediately got up and went home (Matthew 9:1-8). Time does not allow for me to cite all the examples in the Gospel of Matthew that demonstrate Jesus’ authority. One common lesson we draw from almost all the incidences is that Jesus did not passively wait for God to do a miracle. After investing His time in prayer, He stepped out in faith to speak forth what He desired to see manifest. Consequently, His life was characterized by not only what He said but also what He did.
Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
The great news is that Jesus delegated His authority to His disciples when He commissioned them in Matthew 28:18-20: “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, Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”. Jesus said that “all authority in heaven and on earth” was given to Him. Not some authority, but all authority! Jesus has sent us forth with ALL authority.
The disciples of Jesus are to execute their mandate of making and training disciples, by exercising the delegated authority of the Anointed One, who is seated far above all rule, authority, power, dominion and title in this present age and in the age to come (Ephesians 1:21).
I grew up during the popular Faustin Munishi’s (Swahili gospel musician) days in the 90s. He had an interesting song that described how believers who understand their authority in Christ Jesus live a victorious life.
Wale walio asi, wakimbia ovyo, hakuna afukuzae, wao wenyewe. Wakipatwa nalo jangwa hata liwe ndogo, hao hutimua mbio ati wamelogwa. Wenye haki ni wajasiri, wameokoka, wanaye Yesu, wana imani ya Mungu Baba. Wachawi wote hawababaishi, mapepo yote hayatetemeshi, shetani naye hawatishi tishi.
English translation of song lyrics: Those that have sinned run when there is no reason to run; when no one chases after them. When faced with little trouble, they flee and claim that they are bewitched. The righteous are bold; they are saved; they have Jesus; they have faith in God the Father. Witches, demons and the devil do not bring anxiety or fear to the righteous.
One of the conditions of a believer exercising their authority is that they be in right standing with God. Secondly, they must have faith in God and not allow their hearts to be plagued with unbelief. Thirdly, they must be wholly submitted to say and do the bidding of the Spirit.
1 Peter 3:18-22 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. …. saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Ephesians 2:4-6 But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
Mark 11:20-24 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
John 14:12-14 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
James 1:6-8 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does.
John 15:7-8 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Our right standing in God is in the finished work of the Cross, for Jesus became unrighteousness so that you and I might become the righteousness of God. This is purely a work of grace, the justification of those who were condemned to eternal death. Having believed, the grace of God continues to work in a believer’s life both to will and to do for the Lord’s pleasure. The believer must surrender to God’s sanctifying grace, and choose to follow the narrow path that leads to life. He must daily take up their cross and follow Jesus. This is a life of faith, for the righteous live by faith.
Faith is not passive; faith takes action. Faith urges us to speak forth that which we desire to see manifest in the physical realm. Faith urges us to take action when human logic says we shouldn’t. Faith sees what the natural eyes cannot see. Faith aligns a believer’s heart to the heart of God. Without faith, there cannot be demonstration of authority.
Faith is not doing what you wish to do, at whatever time you wish it done, without regard to God’s will. Faith is saying/ doing what Jesus Christ is saying/ doing, fully persuaded of His faithfulness. For a believer’s faith in God (not in human resources, talents and abilities) to bear fruit, the believer needs to be in total submission to God. As a branch grafted to the vine, he/she must abide in God (John 15:1-5). The follower of Jesus must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide on the what and how of ministry.
The demonstration of authority by believers is not confined to the four walls of the church. On the contrary, authority is what should characterize a believer’s daily life.
At the Cross, Jesus gained the victory for every disciple to be able to exercise their authority in Christ, for the building up of the Body and the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth. As Jesus was about to give up His Spirit at the Cross, He said “it is finished”. The perfect sacrifice had been offered for every person to be reconciled to God, and consequently walk in power and authority.
Unfortunately, the Church today is caught up in calling and waiting on God to do that which they are supposed to be doing on earth. This revelation causes me to tremble at the thought that many of us on the Day of Judgement will be accused of abdicating our responsibilities while on earth. I am guilty, and may God help you and I to live in the revelation of His Word. Spiritually, God already healed our diseases and liberated those in bondage through Jesus’ death at the Cross. It is for the disciples of Christ to exercise their authority in physically effecting healing to the sick and liberty to the bound.
Psalms 115:16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord but the earth he has given to man.
Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Jesus has won the victory! What hinders you from living in the full victory availed through the Cross? Will you partner with Jesus to fully live in the victory of the Cross? Jesus wants us to shake off all sin and weight that so easily besets us, and hinders us from effectively executing our responsibilities as Christ’s Ambassadors on earth (Hebrews 12:1-2). He wants us to get rid of unbelief which is sin, and shake off the weight of religion.
I look forward to the testimonies that will arise from us obeying this word. Feel free to share your testimony/ prayer through in**@re**************.com.