THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST
by Kevin Rutherford
Perhaps the most famous sermon
preached by our Lord is the one we sometimes refer to as “The Sermon on the
Mount.” This sermon can be found in
Matthew chapters five through seven. In
The Sermon on the
Jesus Christ cleansed the temple twice. After He had done it the second time, the chief priests, scribes, and elders questioned Him. They asked, “...by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority (Luke 20:2)?” Jesus would not answer those Jewish leaders, but the answer is found in the Bible. God, the Father has given Jesus all authority (Matthew 28:18). The only One excepted from the authority of Jesus Christ is the One who gave Him His authority (I Corinthians ).
With this great authority from the Father Jesus Christ revealed His last will and testament to mankind (Hebrews -17). The New Testament is the document which was produced by the authority of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4). Jesus Christ gave mankind His authoritative word through the inspired men of the first century (John ; ). Any message which conflicts with His authoritative word cannot be from God. Therefore such messages must be completely rejected (1 Corinthians ; Galatians 1:6-9).
Who is this Jesus to whom God the Father has given so much authority? Jesus is a part of God. He is God the Son and He is the Creator (John 1:1-3; ; , 58). This explains His authority. Certainly the Creator has authority over His creation. Jesus Christ has an authority that is higher than any earthly authority (Acts ; Philippians 2:9-11). Therefore, His authority must be respected and not rejected.
Jesus Christ has authority over the church. He is the head of the church (Ephesians , 23; Colossians ). The church must follow the leadership of Jesus Christ. How does the church do this? The church does so by following the authoritative revelation from Christ, which is the Word of God (2 Timothy , 17). How presumptuous and arrogant of Roman Catholic officials and men such as Joseph Smith to assume they can add their will to the will of Christ. What arrogance! What blasphemy! Do they not respect the authority of Jesus Christ?
What about people today? Do they respect the authority of Christ? Can people honestly say that they do when they do not read and study the standard of authority He has given to us (2 Timothy )? Can they really claim that they respect the authority of Jesus Christ when they do not do what He says (Luke )?
What about those who reject Jesus’ clear teaching on the subject of divorce (Matthew 19:9)? What about those who reject Jesus clear teaching concerning the manner of music in the church (Ephesians )? What is to become of those who reject the New Testament teaching about the exclusive and unique nature of the church (Matthew , 19; Ephesians , 23; 4:4)? Such people are challenging the very authority of Jesus Christ.
Let us consider for a moment what God the Father thinks of those who would challenge the authority of anyone He has given authority to. Think about Moses. God had given Moses the authority to lead the Jews. When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram challenged his authority the ground swallowed them up and killed them. When Miriam challenged that authority she was struck with leprosy. How much sorer will the punishment be for those who challenge the authority of Jesus Christ (Hebrews ).
Jesus has authority over your life whether you recognize it or not. Because He has authority over your life He is going to be your judge someday (Acts , 31). The standard of judgment will be the words which He has revealed to mankind (John ). Are you ready to be judged by the Son of God? We do not know when that day is coming so we must be prepared at all times (Matthew 24:36).