Jesus’ view of Authority Part 2
Posted by Steven Sarff
Yesterday’s blog discussed the view that Jesus had of Authority. As the Creator by which all things exist, one might understandably think that He would not be subject to the laws He established. For example, why be in submissive to imperfect parents? If there was one child who really did know better than his parents, Jesus would have been the one. However, we know that Jesus’ life serves as an example which we are to follow. In several verses, we are encouraged to look to Jesus as an example worthy to be followed.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. (1Pe 2:21-22)
… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1Co 11:1)
So we set out to form Christ in our lives (Gal 4:19) and to be able to say with Paul:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
Of course, the submitting to Authority is only one side of the coin. Exercising Authority is the other side. We know that Jesus now has “all authority” (Mt 28:18) and while in this world as He submitted to Authority, he exercised authority too. He also commented on the way Authority is to be exercised by those in His Kingdom.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:25-28 Emphasis mine)
If there is one thing that is to be absent by those who exercise Authority it is to be this idea of “lording it over” those in your charge. Once again, Jesus serves as an example for us.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (Joh 13:12-17)
After washing the feet of the Disciples, Jesus applies the lesson. It centers around his position as Lord and his actions which were those as of a servant. They were correct to call Him Lord and Teacher. He agrees that He is. If He IS who they think He is (and He is) then what He did shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we who follow Him should also follow his example of service. The son of man did not come to be served but to serve. As Mark put it “even the Son of Man” came to serve. Wow!
Service to others from those who are leaders and in positions of Authority is one of the things that Christians are to be known for. When Leaders rule, they should not rule in a capricious and exacting manner that is in so many words “Because I am the Boss!”. Demanding from us things that they not only do not do, but are unwilling to do, does not make them good leaders. The fact that they have such Authority, does not mean that they are not themselves subject to Authority.
For example, Elders have authority in the congregation. Peter reminds them that they are not to domineer over the flock because they also have a Shepherd to whom they must answer.
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1Pe 5:1-4)
What is Jesus’ view of Authority? On one hand, He followed it. On the other hand, he didn’t use it in a domineering way.
Looks like there will be at least a part three to this blog topic. What is your favorite verse that you would use to show Jesus’ view on Authority?