Daily Devotional: Friday, March 25 - With Authority

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” — Matthew 7:28-29

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Authority is power based on the right to command. Those in positions of authority have the right to command those who are under their authority. Countless are the positions of authority in the world. Anyone in charge of anything is in authority. Most notable are those in governing positions, from presidents, prime ministers, members of legislatures and parliaments, down to local assemblies.

Outside of governing, there are others with authority. This includes school teachers and administrators, a foreman over a group of workers, coaches and team captains, and any managerial position in countless businesses like retail management, where I have spent most of life. The list goes on and on.

For all who hold positions of authority, do we realize that we do not have any real authority at all? Authority is power based on the right to command, and none of us have that right. The right to command belongs to God alone.

Paul, writing to the Romans, said the following: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1). Again, those of us who are in authority, do we realize that we have been placed there by God?

When Jesus completed His teaching to the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, those who heard Jesus’ words were astonished. It was described as teaching with real authority. The people in the crowd often heard the teaching of the scribes, but the scribes referred to tradition and quoted noteworthy rabbis. They presented nothing as coming from their own authority. Theologian A.B. Bruce is explained it simply: “The scribes spoke by authority, while Jesus spoke with authority.”

As Christians, we have the authority to claim and preach the Word of God as truth — authority given to us by the One with the authority to do so, God the Father. Jesus spoke with authority, as He is God the Son. He summed up His message on the mountain with an example of two builders. If one will obey the words Jesus spoke, he will be like a wise builder who built his house on a firm foundation. However, the one who does not obey Jesus’ teaching will be like a foolish builder who builds his house on sand.

Needless to say, one will stand and one will not. These are words from the One who spoke with authority.

— Loring Schultz

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