Authority of Jesus

Notes from Forest Willis

Introduction to the concept of Authority

  1. What does the word authority mean to you? Do you have good or bad feelings with that word.?
  2. What is Authority (def) Merriam Webster; “power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior”. There is a certain force to using that word, it makes you pay attention, may even be intimidating (no one authority has me). Authority denotes rule, control, and influence. In setting up the world God’s plan was that some persons would have authority over others in order to prevent chaos. (Socialism doesn’t work in its truest form since no one would have authority over another).
  3. Is Authority the same as leadership? Similar, but you can be a leader without having power. A charismatic leader may be able to get others to do what they say but they have no real power other than what the followers choose to give them.
  4. Dunamis-Greek word meaning power. Exousia means the authority to do something. Jesus was given both power and authority.
  5.  The word authority is used 102 times in the New Testament. There are numerous prophecies regarding the authority of Jesus in the Old Testament.

Preparation for Authority

  1. Jesus as a Youth (Temple preparation)

Preparation and training is a pre-requisite for being able to execute authority correctly.





Luke 2:46-51

6”After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers”

B. Would Jesus have been as respected if was younger? As it was he was too young to be taught some of the spiritual issues of the Hebrew culture (minimum age of 40).

Commissioning of an Officer (from higher command)

(Talk about the military commissioning process and giving authority).

(Centurion) Luke 7:1-10 New International Version (NIV)

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.” Speak about authority and being in command from the military standpoint)

The Commissioning of Jesus with Authority (plaque, shoulder boards, badge)

21 When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As He was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven saying “You are My beloved Son. I take delight in You!” (Luke 3” 21-23) (Jesus’ commissioning”

Conveyance of Authority;

a. John 3:2

This man (Nicodemus)came to Him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one could perform these signs You do unless God were with him.”

b. Jesus always used commanding, declarative words. “I will”. “You must” . Prophets who had authority would usually say something like  “Thus saith the Lord”.  As a stranger he told Peter to take the boat out one more time after a night of unsuccessful fishing.  The he called Peter, Andrew. James and John to follow him, without knowing anything about him (possibly they had heard stories).

Questioning Christs Authority:

“23 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?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”


Recognition of Authority

Jesus was asked questions but he was not under obligation to answer them.  He had no obligation to answer since he had the authority of God.

Matthew 7:28-29 (Sermon on the Mount; scribes would have to read from scrolls and retell what they had been told or memorized. He didn’t have to use quotation or footnotes, or quote another famous Rabbi- he had authority.)


28 When Jesus had finished this sermon,[a] the crowds were astonished at His teaching, 29 because He was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.


Authority over the Devil and authority of teaching:


Mark 1:22-28

“22 They were astonished at His teaching because, unlike the scribes, He was teaching them as one having authority.

23 Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out,[a] 24 “What do You have to do with us,[b] Jesus—Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

25 But Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet,[c] and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit convulsed him, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him.

27 Then they were all amazed, so they began to argue with one another, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority![d] He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 News about Him then spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.


Authority to lay down his life.


John 10:18

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (Not the same as suicide. Authority to for his own resurrection, authority to give his own life, and authority raise it from the dead).


Mark 1:22 (Capernaum early in his ministry)

“22 They were astonished at His teaching because, unlike the scribes, He was teaching them as one having authority.

Jesus Claims His Authority

Matthew 28:18

“8 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth”

Luke 10:22

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Jesus didn’t ask permission. He didn’t ask about how to cleanse the temple. He just used his authority to go in and clean the place out.

Judgment John 5:26-27

26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

Authority over Sickness

(Early in his ministry he healed the paralytic lying on a mat)

Matthew 9:7-8

And he got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were awestruck[a][b] and gave glory to God who had given such authority to men.

(Mk. 2:10). “That you may know that the Son of man possesses authority on earth to forgive sins (he said to the sick of palsy), I say to you, Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house”

Authority Over Death

John 10:17-18

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Authority over Nature

(Mt. 8:23; Mk. 4:35; Lk. 8:22).

(David Jeremiah)When the Lord was in a boat with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee, a storm “came down” upon that body of water (695 feet below sea level—an environment facilitating violent weather). The waves were crashing over the vessel, covering it, and it began to be filled with water. The disciples, though experienced fishermen, were terrified. They awoke the Lord, who was asleep in the stern, and cried out for his help.

Christ “rebuked” (TOOK AUTHORITY, emphasis mine)both the wind and the sea, and immediately the wind ceased, and there was a “great calm” upon the water The verbal forms denote an instant state of being. A. T. Robertson noted that ordinarily a sudden drop in wind does not create an immediate calm of the water (I.69).”

Fig Tree

When entering Jerusalem a few days before his death, Christ and his disciples came to a fig tree at the roadside. It was leafed out, but had no fruit; this was strange since fig trees bore the fruit first, then came the leaves.

The Lord saw this as an opportunity to rebuke the Hebrew populous. Spiritually speaking, the corrupt nation feigned the appearance of productivity but was barren—even on the verge of murdering the Messiah. Christ thus spoke to the tree saying, “Be without fruit forever more.” Instantly the tree withered away, beginning from the roots (Mk. 11:12-14).


Nonetheless, to avoid causing others to stumble, he instructed the apostle to cast a hook into the Sea of Galilee; the first fish caught would have a coin in its mouth sufficient for the tax covering both Christ and Peter. The Lord brought a specially prepared creature to the apostle’s hook.

Authority Over Demons

The New Testament clearly indicates that demons were under the ultimate control of the Savior.

(Demoniac in the hills) Demons tormented a man who lived in the country of the Gerasenes. When Christ expelled the evil spirits from the unfortunate man, the demons asked the Lord’s permission to enter a herd of swine nearby. Even they acknowledged the Messiah’s authority (Mk. 5:6-7).(MTT *:28-34, Luke 8:26-39.

Authority over Angels

“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity” (Mt. 13:41).

Jesus Conveys authority to Others

(Right =Authority)

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [a]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”



Ability to give Eternal Life.   Jesus is praying and thanking God.


John 17.2 ” For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.”

Passing it On: The Commissioning of the Apostles

The commissioning of the Twelve Apostles is an episode in the ministry of Jesus that appears in all three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 10:1–4, Mark 3:13–19 and Luke 6:12–16. It relates the initial selection of the Twelve Apostles among the disciples of Jesus.[1][2]

Mark 3:13-15 13Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15and to have authority to drive out demons.

The Great Commission (For the rest of us)

Matthew 28:18-20     

18              Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of[a] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember,[b] I am with you always,[c] to the end of the age.

Ron Graham “The authority of Jesus Christ is given to him by the Father. It was always given, never borrowed, never withdrawn. The Son is entrusted with authority equal to his Father. He keeps that trust by exercising his authority always in deference to his Father. It was ever so; and so it shall ever be.”

In closing, the important thing to take away is that Christ had the authority that God entrusted to him when he needed it.  He commissioned his Apostles and finally us.  We have the same authority of Christ, we now have to learn how to exercise that authority in the realm of God’s kingdom and as subjects to his authority.

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