“Jesus … taught them as someone authorised to do so.”
— Matthew 7:29 (USC)
AUTHORITY is something that Jesus had as divinely appropriated. But it’s also something he had to learn as a human being.
We aren’t told in the Bible how Jesus was discipled or who his Rabbi was, but we can be assured that the humanity of Jesus meant he had to learn almost everything — even how to assume authority.
And this applies to us, too. We have to learn how to assume authority. But this is a chicken-or-the-egg scenario.
Jesus teaches us that holding a presence for authority is about having a call to duty — the infusion of a burden for responsibility — that is accepted. We cannot do anything with authority if we don’t believe in it in our deepest being. It’s not something we can do.
So believing we are placed and fitted to do something as burdensome as to teach God’s Word and will is something only God can grace us with, in his time. God will sift us out if we are not ready.
When we are ready, however, the opportunities he will give us will surprise us. And, if we have an anointing for authority as a seal over our lives, pride won’t rob us away. We won’t be won to enthusiasms for ‘achievement’ — our service for God will leave us feeling emotively neutral, perhaps with a quiet thankfulness for his faithfulness that he gave us what we have needed to do his work; that we weren’t left alone.
Jesus models this in his own life. It took him thirty years. He was an adult for at least half that time. God was building into him all through his formative years — only a few from his last. But that’s all the time the Father needed in order to accomplish what he had for Jesus to do. And God can achieve much through us in a short time. Time is not the only relevance.
Jesus was ready when he began his teaching ministry. We must always ask, are we ready? If we aren’t, we are fools to proceed. We should only open those doors the Spirit is opening. Let us be patient. Let us keep coming back to the eternal nature of this type of work. Let us consider ministry a kind of sacrament. All its work is sacred.
We can do nothing substantive without the Spirit’s authority over our lives.
We can do nothing without anointing,
In the Kingdom of the Lord,
Only where the Spirit is outpoured,
Is God’s authority there appointing.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. Consider over your life, what God has appointed you to do — for all have authority over some things. What of these things do you thank him for? What of these things are you still resentful for? What can be done for the latter?
2. Impatience is something we all must wrestle with — almost all. What is your present impatience? Or, what have you been impatient for, yet are no longer? What is God saying to you in all this?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.