Have you ever really thought about the word “authority?”
When Jesus finished his great “Sermon on the Mount” (found in Matthew 5-7), which includes such oft-quoted passages as the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer and the story of the wise man who built his house on the rock, “the crowds were astonished at [Jesus’s] teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29 ESV)
Jesus’s teaching had power. Jesus wasn’t just quoting somebody else. Jesus wasn’t just repeating other people’s rules. Jesus had authority to tell people what to do.
Like when other people’s children come over to my house, they have to follow my rules. Jesus, as the Almighty Creator-God, has total authority to tell us, His Creation, how we ought to live.
Then, in Matthew 28:18 (ESV), after Jesus has been resurrected and is about to ascend to heaven, we again find the word “authority.” Jesus told His followers, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
What an encouragement that is to me! Jesus has total authority over heaven and earth. Whether you or I recognize it or not, whether we submit to Him or not, God is in charge over heaven and earth. Jesus has complete authority over our lives.
In Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV), we are told to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and 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.”
I love this passage. Really, I love all of Hebrews 12. (I give you permission to stop right now and go read all of Hebrews 12, then come right back!)
Looking at various translations of Hebrews 12:2, KJV and NKJV translates “founder and perfecter” as “author and finisher of our faith,” and NASB translates it “author and perfector of faith.”
In English I see a connection between Jesus having all authority in heaven and earth, and Jesus being the author and finisher of faith.
Jesus wrote our faith and Jesus finished our faith. He is our perfect example. He is both the main character and He is the author. All things were made through Him and for Him.
Because Jesus has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth, so we must obey His commands and walk in His ways. And because He is the author and the finisher of our faith, we can place our complete trust in Him, looking towards Him as we run with endurance this race that He has set before us.
How does Jesus having all authority encourage you?
How does Jesus being the author and perfector of faith strengthen you to run with endurance the race God has set before you?
What is God calling you to do — or not do — today?