Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Big Spiritual Shfts (7) Jesus

God sent Jesus to earth when everything on earth was ready. The prophets had announced the Messiah and described his ministry. People like Anna and Simeon were praying for Messiah, which gave God authority to implement his plan to send his son to earth. This was risky, because the devil would not give up his authority on earth without a fight. If he got he had been given a chance, he would have killed Jesus, and removed the son of God from the earth. The wise men nearly set the cat among the pigeons when they went to Herod to find the king, instead of following the star to Bethlehem.

Jesus entire ministry was a struggle over authority. Before starting on his ministry, Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and nights. Towards the end of the fast, he was tempted by the devil. The final temptation offered Jesus authority over the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:6-7). Jesus rejected this authority, because he knew that accepting it would place him under the devil’s authority, which would compromise his own authority.

When Jesus began his ministry, the crowds were drawn to him, because they were amazed because by his authority

He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matt 7:29).
When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man (Matt 9:8).
Jesus claimed authority to forgive sins, and healed the sick to prove his authority.
I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins (Matt 9:6).
The centurion in Capernaum recognised Jesus authority, because he knew about authority as a Roman official. He said,
Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me (Matt 8:8-9).
Before Jesus sent out disciples, he gave them authority.
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority (Matt 10:1).
They needed authority, because it was central to what Jesus was doing on earth.

The ordinary people recognised Jesus authority, but he was quickly caught up in a conflict with the religious and political authorities who controlled Israel. They challenged Jesus and demanded that he prove his authority by giving a sign.
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this" (John 2:18)?
Jesus did enough signs to choke them, but they continued to challenge his authority.
Jesus entered the temple courts, and while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked “And who gave you this authority” (Matt 21:23)?
When he refused to respond, they tried to get him into trouble with the Roman authorities by asking trick questions about taxes.
They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor (Luke 20:20).
Jesus responded to the religious authorities by questioning their authority.
The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that.. the one who rules like the one who serves (Luke 22:24-25).
Jesus arrest produced an argument about authority between Herod and Pilate.
When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time (Luke 23:7).
Herod refused to exercise authority in the case. Pilate was Rome’s representative in Jerusalem. He had authority to act on behalf of the emperor, and the immense military power of the empire stood behind. He claimed authority to crucify Jesus.
Do you not know that I have authority to release you, and I have authority to crucify you (John 19:10)?
Jesus responded by challenging the legitimacy of Pilate’s authority.
You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above (John 19:11).
Jesus reminded Pilate that he could not touch him, unless God allowed it.

Jesus was God’s ultimate solution to the authority problem. His death, resurrection and ascension radically changed the "authority situation” on earth. His victory on the cross took back the authority on the earth that Satan had stolen. The basis for his authority was human sin. Jesus death on the cross paid the penalty for human sin. This eliminated the basis of the devil’s authority. The cross defeated Satan and took back his authority on earth.
God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col 1:13).
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he declared that his death and resurrection had changed the authority situation on earth.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matt 28:18).
Jesus claimed that he had won every struggle of the ages. A dramatic change in authority on earth had taken place.

Jesus did not get busy with his authority. He could not keep authority over earth that had been given to him, because he was going back to the spiritual realms from where he had come, so he gave authority back to the humans living on the earth. He did not delegate it to empires, nation states or local kings. He did not give authority to democracies. He did not give it to bishops or pastors. Jesus gave his authority to the ordinary people living on earth.

There were two different responses to Jesus gift of authority.
  1. Those who accepted the gospel received authority over their own lives and were set free to serve God. Jesus earned all the sovereignty over the earth. He did not keep it for himself, but handed it over to the saints, those who believe and receive the Holy Spirit. Daniel explained what Jesus did with his regained authority.

    Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High (Dan 7:27).

  2. Those who rejected the gospel received the authority that Jesus offered, but the immediately lost it again, by continuing to sin, which passed back to the devil by default. Some lost their authority by submitting to political powers, who were came under the dominance of evil. Jesus gave that authority back to all the people who had lost it. Unfortnately most people did not retain it, but were tricked into believing that the devil still ruled the world. The devil now only has authority on earth, where he can trick humans into surrendering their authority to him.

Jesus blew out the ugly barrier that had been created by human sin. This restored authority to humans who trusted in him, which gave God much greater scope to work on earth.
Christians gained authority over their lives and their institutions. God gained authority to work in their lives and their institutions through the presence of the Holy Spirit.


Haydn McCormick said...

As always Ron. You posts are as educational and hopeful as you books.
I was wondering again although I think you have already told me, By what authority do you preach/teach about these things? I think I remember you saying that you where an ordained minister in some denomination. Is this important do you think? I know that amongst denominational church circles people are not recognized as qualified or ordained unless that have submitted to the instruction of some bible college or other. Can we really do this stuff with out these world mimicking re-education mills with their nice certificates of approval?

Blessed Economist said...

I do have a few certificates. I have a Master degree in economics. I was ordained by the Presbyterian Church of NZ, although my certificate has been lodged for thirty years. However I do not see these certificates as the source of my authority and do not really use them. I think it is important to be spiritually three.

Of course, I might get greater recognition if I did, but I prefer to let readers decide whether my stuff is true or not.