08 February 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 7:28-29 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law. (Matthew 7:28–29 NLT)
Authority is a real thing! The crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teaching, because he taught with real authority. The Jewish priests had authority through Moses’ law and Jewish tradition, but their authority was diluted and polluted. They had to manage “Temple, Inc.”, they had to make payroll, they had to keep the various denominations of Judaism from tearing each other up and down, and they had to keep the Roman oppressors off their backs. They were caught up in religious politics, and concerned about their careers and power positions.
Today there are a lot of people who have authority that’s just as diluted and polluted as the Temple priests. Politicians have delegated authority to represent and govern the citizens, but they are often obligated to special interest groups, to their party line, to their power base, to lobbyists, to corporate finance, as well as a big dose of ego and personal interest. What comes through often doesn’t have the ring of true character and integrity-based authority.
Jesus had real authority because he was doing exactly what the Father had commissioned him to do, nothing more, nothing less. He had no obligation to the religious establishment, because he wasn’t looking for a priest job! He wasn’t driven by any need to please the people in power, because they had nothing he wanted! He was moved by the Father’s will and his unconditional love for others. While the religious leaders were into wielding power to control others, Jesus was into using the power of love to heal and liberate others.
Christ has given us authority to love, serve, heal, comfort the weak, confront the strong, free the captives, and proclaim that God’s Kingdom is a present alternative to the broad road that leads to destruction. To exercise real authority we must decide God’s will and purpose is our call and our mission!
Father, We place ourselves under the authority of your love so that we may exercise real authority over our own selfish desires and over the evil in our world. May we represent you well! For your Kingdom’s Sake!