If you are working under someone with authority, what would you say of him? Would you say he has the power to do anything – to help you or withhold help from you? Would you say he has the power to make you an important person in his company, if he is pleased with you? Would you say he is able to better your livelihood by giving you more benefits and increasing your pay? Authority in general signifies the power to rule, cause and accomplish. Some have it, because they are called for it; some acquire it in dubious ways. In any case, it gives a person something more than what others have. He is feared, praised and sought after. Men desire to get acquainted with him for whatever reason. They try to please him in all manners possible. Now, this is corresponding to that which we hear and see on this earth. God has placed authority among men for a reason. It is so that they know the One who has the overwhelming power to act. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth’” (Matt. 28:18).
The authority which God has from the beginning has been given to our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called Him for it, because He is able for it. He fulfilled the Father’s will to obtain it. If you imagine your boss to having full power to affect your life and lead your forward, imagine the kind of life you have when the Lord of heaven and earth is over you. Even your earthly superiors are under Him. In fact, it is true to say that your earthly superiors are under His control to do whatever He wishes. Christians often read the above Scripture and hear it, but I wonder, by the lives they lead, if they have truly grasped the essence of it. There is nothing that equals it. Can we even begin to measure the authority Christ has in heaven and on earth? We are such small beings, as said by wise men, like a worm or maggot created by God to become that which He wants us to be.
Look at the trees, the animals, the oceans and rivers, the stars and all the other created things before us. We see them every day, and yet, they exist without our concern. They listen to the Lord’s voice. We feel the wind, but it appears by the command of Jesus; even so, the rain and the sun. Our waking up and lying down is by His authority. Why am I saying all this? That if we are able to please Him in all manners, we receive His glory; that if we fear Him, praise and seek Him, we will be without want. When it comes to Jesus Christ, the most significant thing we must grasp is the “all authority” He possesses. Then, nothing is farfetched to us. Do you need a job? He will provide you. Do you need helps, provisions and wisdom to overcome someone or something? He will give them to you without measure. Remember, it is with His “all authority” that we were saved. That we were saved from all our sins is the beginning to understanding His authority. When Jesus said to the paralytic that his sins were forgiven after seeing him being carried to Him by faith, the scribes calling it blasphemy said none can forgive sins, but God. Then, to prove He has authority to forgive sins He said to the paralytic to pick up his pallet and walk. He not only showed them He is God, but also that all things are possible to Him. And so, what is it that He cannot do for us when we obey His will? Wherever we go, He is there; if we trust Him to do the best for us, we will always be successful.
Sometimes we wonder why certain things are happening in our lives. We feel they ought not to happen, because we are the children of the Most High and have not sinned against Him. They happen, since the One who has all authority allows them. When we walk closely with Him, we come to realize it. He does it for our benefit and not for our failure. For after we passed the bitterness, we see the greatness He sought to bestow on us. But if we become anxious and opt for our own ways to overcome the bitterness, we cause Him sorrow. For while He intended to bring us glory we have denied Him. The grief we cause Him will be like that which Israel caused to Moses. “And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand” (Acts 7:25). This is to understand that which we bring to Christ when we do not accept His working nature toward us. We force Him to stand afar from us. He intended to deliver us from something bitter or to train us for something better, and we will not know it as long as we force Him to stay away from us. This delays the glory which we are to obtain; sometimes the delay will be longer than we can bear. We come to feel the delay by the pain caused.
Jesus wants us to understand that through His work toward us God is granting us deliverance for greater things. For this reason, the disciples also gladly accepted the bitterness they faced and then received much more glory. They faced matters in life that they as the disciples of the One who has all authority are not expected face. But He let them face them to bestow on them more abundant honor. Similarly, He uses His authority to make us stand on a higher ground. What is the outcome? “Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all” (2 Cor. 9:13). That we stand on a higher ground is proof of the ministry of Christ toward us. Many others will glorify God for two important reasons. First, it is our obedience to our agreement of the gospel of Christ; then the liberality of our contribution to them. The latter will have abundant returns through Christ only when the former is accomplished. In these two the gospel bears fruit.
What does this conclude? “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). We are those who practice righteousness by the two important reasons that others find in us to glorify God. Thereby, we become obvious as the children of God. The indwelling factor in this is that we have no opportunity to sin. And though we have opportunity to sin, we choose not to sin so that because of us others should continue to glorify God. All this we do, since we acknowledge the authority Christ possesses. By our relationship with Him we accepted Him into our lives to lead us and honor us in whatever manner He pleases. We have the confidence that we shall not fail no matter what. He controls all things related to us, because we entrusted to Him to control us from the day we were saved until the day we join Him in eternity.
Therefore, we shall not be part of what will and is taking place. “And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him” (Rev. 6:4). Our peace remains. For it is of God and with God. No matter what terrible things happen around us, we shall remain secure, strong and confident. Furthermore, we realize the greatness of Christ’s work toward us. It is that work which pulled us away from sin and from its consequences. At that time we will not restrain ourselves from bowing down before Him to thank Him. That there is a command for peace to be taken from the earth is also by the authority of Christ. To emphasize the importance of Christ’s work toward us and from what terrible times we have been saved the writer of the book of Hebrews deliberately said, “Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary” (Heb. 9:1).
There is a reason God laid out the first covenant in which there were the outer and the inner tabernacle, the lampstand, the table and the sacred bread, the golden altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, priests, sacrifices, etc. It is because He knew that all authority will be given to Christ to execute judgment and fulfill His wishes. It was given to them so that they have peace with God. Now, this was regarding one nation, Israel. But when Christ came as the high priest of God, He came so that all who believe in Him and obey Him live under His authority. This means there is an unassailable fortress remaining for us and into which no enemy has access. Jesus performs great things for those who are in Him. So, Paul in the Spirit said, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died” (2 Cor. 5:14).