Does this ever happen to you? Reading the bible, your eyes run across the same idea again and again? In silence, that idea bubbles to the surface of your thoughts over and over? It comes up in conversation repeatedly? Maybe God’s trying to tell us something? Well, the idea that keeps coming up in my life recently is “authority.” In a nutshell…
In The Beginning:
In the Garden of Eden God gave authority to mankind. God created us, He said, in part to exercise His authority over the earth and its creatures.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (GENESIS 1:26-28)
After the Fall of creation, God cursed the earth, mankind and womankind and the serpent. God said…
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” (GENESIS 3:15)
It’s been theorized that the “head” of the serpent is his authority and it has long been accepted that Jesus is the “offspring” that later comes to crush it.
Satan certainly has some type of authority over the earth and everything on it after Adam and Eve leave the garden. He is called the “prince of the air,” the “prince of the earth” and the “ruler of of the world” throughout scripture. The apostle Paul goes the farthest with this concept by calling Satan the “god of this world.”
Satan rubs this fact in Jesus’ face when tempting Christ in the desert. Satan shows Jesus the kingdoms of this world and says to Him…
6…”I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” (LUKE 4:6-7)
There is some debate about how much we should trust the “liar” in this passage but Satan often speaks in half truths. The half about him being in some sort of ruling position on earth seems to be backed up thoroughly by his many titles of authority in scripture.
Jesus exercised God’s authority over Satan’s minions of sin, injustice, sickness, and seclusion. He cared for the poor, gave sight to the blind and in the process reunited outcasts (due to illness) with the religious community. Jesus said His kingdom, His rule, had begun to arrive on earth. And that, He said, was bad news for the “prince” and “ruler” of this world.
“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. And I , if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (JOHN 12:31-32)
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. (JOHN 12:43)
“I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here” (JOHN 14:30-31)
8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 JOHN 3:8)
Jesus’ Death And Resurrection:
When Christ died and was resurrected He exercised God’s authority over sin, death (hell) and over those who confess that He is Lord. (Which is a statement about His authority!) The bible says…
13For [The Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (COLOSSIANS 1:13)
14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (HEBREWS 2:14-15)
15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (COLOSSIANS 2:15)
Believers are now able to carry out the original orders given to God’s children in the Garden: rule over creation. The serpent has been condemned but not driven out completely. The battle continues over the hearts, minds, bodies and environment of humankind. But now God’s Spirit provides power to God’s people who, as servants of God, are exercising God’s authority over the “dominion of darkness.” Not by their might or authority but by God’s. And if God is for us who can be against us? Not even the gates of hell can keep us out!
So go…with Christ’s presence and authority…
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (MATTHEW 28:18-20)
So if God through Jesus could exercise authority over sin, sickness, poverty, and seclusion, then you and I can boldly ask God to exercise His authority through Christ in us and through us. We can, with great confidence, go on the offensive against the former prince of this world, knowing that he has been wounded by the resurrection and will ultimately be defeated in the end by the very Power that is in us today – power that is greater than “he who is in the world.”
So lately, to worship God for who He is and to increase my own courage, I’ve been praying these verses back to God. I’ll sit for a while and tell Him why I believe He has authority over this situation or that. And then, once I’m convinced myself (!), I ask Him to exercise His authority – to overthrow cancer with healing, defeat conflict between people with peace, to stomp doubt with belief, to crush shame with forgiveness. And I ask Him what role He wants me to play in overthrowing darkness in each situation.
And I promise not to act like I’m in charge.
Studying God’s authority lately has changed my perspective. How about yours?