Chapter 23

AUTHORITY OF JESUS

(Matthew 8:1-17, 23-33 and 9:1-8)

Before we begin our study concerning the authority of Jesus Christ let us pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Holy Father we come before You in the Name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Father we ask You to please bless our time in the study of Your Word. Father please open our ears, our eyes and our hearts so we can truly hear, see and receive the things that You are revealing to us. Father, for Your Holy Name's sake we ask.

Amen

INTRODUCTION

The theme for this study comes to us from the encounter Jesus had with a centurion whose servant was seriously ill. To better appreciate the significance of this meeting it is noted that a centurion of the Roman army was a person in command of one hundred men. Thus, the centurion was not an ordinary soldier but an officer in the Roman army. With this in mind let us now read what transpired between Jesus and the centurion. To do this let us go to,

Matthew 8:5-13

"[5] When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. [6] "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." [7] Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." [8] The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. [9] 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." [10] When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. [11] I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. [12] But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." [13] Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour."

Let us notice the following verses,

5-6 … The centurion came to Jesus to ask Him to heal his tormented servant. Also note that the centurion referred to Jesus as Lord.

8(a) … The centurion was so humble in Jesus' presence that he felt he was not worthy enough for Jesus to come to his house.

8(b) …The centurion recognized and believed in the authority of Jesus Christ.

10 … Upon hearing the centurion express his faith, Jesus was amazed. However, you can also detect Jesus' disappointment in the fact that the people of Israel did not possess the faith of this Roman centurion.

11-12 … Jesus proceeded to explain that because of their lack of faith in Him, many of those Israelites who saw and heard Him would not see the Kingdom of God but would be doomed to spend eternity in Hell.

Hence the significance for us to recognize, believe and have faith in Jesus Christ and His authority. To help us do this the remainder of this study is partitioned as follows:

    1. To see some examples of His authority, we will read about various incidents in the life of Jesus Christ.
    2. We will discover that Jesus Christ was no ordinary man but was and is the Son of God.
    3. In the conclusion, we will refresh our memories to see once again that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our Lord and our Savior.

Let us begin by reviewing some examples of,

THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST

As one reads the four Gospels one can not help but notice that,

JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER SICKNESS AND DISEASE

For our first example let us read about the time that Jesus healed a leper. To do this let us read from,

Matthew 8:1-3

"[1] When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. [2] A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." [3] Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."

Notice in verse 2 we read that the leper believed that Jesus had the authority to heal him. However, the leper was not sure that Jesus would be willing to do so. In this case Jesus was willing and consequently He made the leper clean.

For our second example let us read about the time when Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law from a fever. To do this let us read about this healing as it is recorded in,

Matthew 8:14-15

"[14] When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. [15] He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him."

As a side note we discover in verse 14 that it was the Apostle Peter's mother-in-law who was healed. Hence, the Apostle Peter was married.

Throughout the New Testament we find that Jesus' authority over sickness and disease is all encompassing. To see this let us read from,

Matthew 4:23-24

"[23] Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. [24] News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them."

In addition to having authority over sickness and disease, we also find from the above account that,

JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER THE DEMONS

To expand upon this a bit let us read about the time when Jesus healed two demon possessed men. A record of this healing is provided to us in,

Matthew 8:28-33

"[28] When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. [29] "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" [30] Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. [31] The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs." [32] He said to them, "Go!" So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. [33] Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men."

In this incident between Jesus and the demon possessed men we gain some insight into the absolute authority that Jesus has over the demonic world. To see this,

Let us notice the following verses,

29 … First of all we find that the demons knew and know that Jesus is the Son of God. We also find that the demons knew that there was coming a time when they will be in torment. In other words, the demons knew what was to be their destiny. It is also interesting to note that the demons must have known that this was not the time of their torment. Otherwise, the demons would not have asked Jesus if He had come ahead of time.

31 … The demons also knew and know that whatever Jesus told them they had to obey Him. In this case they asked Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs.

32 … Jesus spoke and the demons obeyed.

Let us now read what occurred when the townspeople came to see what happened to the herd of swine and the possessed men. To do this let us read from,

Luke 8:35-37

"[35] and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. [36] Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. [37] Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left."

Let us notice the following verses,

35 … The townspeople found the one who was demon possessed completely healed and normal. Upon hearing what had happened and then seeing the results, they became afraid. In other words, they began to realize that a significant spiritual event took place.

37 … When the townspeople discovered that it was Jesus who commanded the demons and they obeyed Him, the people became terrified of being in the presence of a person who held such awesome spiritual authority. Unfortunately, they asked Jesus to leave them alone.

What about us? Have we recognized Jesus' authority and are afraid of Him? Have we turned our backs on Him or asked Him to leave us alone and do not want to deal with Him or His authority? If so, please reconsider your course of action. Please remember that when Jesus saved the demon possessed men from the evil spirits, it was also an example to teach us that He also came to save you and I from the influence of the evil one and the demonic world. To refresh our memories let us read why Jesus came to this earth as it is recorded in,

John 3:16-17

""[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

So instead of asking Jesus to leave us alone we should fall before Him, as the centurion did, and ask Him to save us, our families and those around us from our sin and from the evil one.

As we continue reading the New Testament we find that Jesus' authority does not end here with the demons for we find that,

JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER THE PHYSICAL ELEMENTS

We see this authority displayed when, on His way to the Gadarenes, Jesus calmed a severe storm. To see this let us read from,

Matthew 8:23-27

"[23] Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. [24] Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. [25] The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" [26] He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. [27] The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!""

Notice in verse 27 we read that, at this time, His disciples began to realize that Jesus was no ordinary man. However, more was to come. In addition to having authority over sickness, disease, the demons and the physical elements and the forces of the earth, we find that Jesus could even raise the dead! In other words,

JESUS HAS AUTHORITY OVER LIFE AND DEATH

To see this let us read about the time when He raised Lazarus from the dead. To see this remarkable display of Jesus' power and authority let us begin by reading from,

John 11:1-27

"[1] Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. [2] This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. [3] So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." [4] When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." [5] Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [6] Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. [7] Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." [8] "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?" [9] Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. [10] It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light." [11] After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." [12] His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." [13] Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. [14] So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, [15] and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." [16] Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." [17] On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. [18] Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, [19] and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. [20] When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. [21] "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [22] But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." [23] Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." [24] Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." [25] Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; [26] and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" [27] "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.""

Let us notice the following verses,

3 … Mary and Martha sent a messenger to Jesus to ask Him to come and heal their brother Lazarus.

4 … Jesus told the messenger and His disciples that Lazarus' illness would not end in death. He also told them the reason Lazarus became ill was so that God's glory would be made manifest.

6-7 … Jesus waited for two days before He told His disciples that He was returning to Judea to see Lazarus. The question arises as to why Jesus waited? The answer to this question is provided in,

11-14 … Here we discover that Jesus waited till Lazarus died before He went to see Him. Initially this seems to conflict with Jesus saying earlier that the illness of Lazarus would not end in death. Later we will discover why there is no conflict and why Lazarus was allowed to die and how the glory of God was revealed.

17 … By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany Lazarus was in the tomb for four days.

21-22 … Martha professed her faith in Jesus and in His power and authority.

25-26 … Jesus proclaimed to Martha and now us that He is the resurrection and the life. In other words, Jesus is telling us that if we truly believe and place our faith in Him, He will grant us eternal life. In other words: "He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.", that is if we die before the second coming of Jesus Christ, when He does come He will raise us up from the dead to live with Him in eternity. On the other hand, "whoever lives and believes in me will never die"' that is if we are living when Jesus comes again, we will not die but be transformed to live with Him in eternity.

27 … After listening to what Jesus said Martha professed her faith in who Jesus really is, that is the Christ, the Son of God.

To verify the truth of all He said and to demonstrate the fact that He is the resurrection and the life Jesus went to raise up His friend Lazarus from the dead. For us to see this, let us now read from,

John 11:28-44

"[28] And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." [29] When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. [30] Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. [31] When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. [32] When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." [33] When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [34] "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. [35] Jesus wept. [36] Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" [37] But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" [38] Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. [39] "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." [40] Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" [41] So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. [42] I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." [43] When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" [44] The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go.""

Let us notice the following verses,

32 … As Martha did earlier, Lazarus' second sister, Mary, professed her faith in Jesus and in His authority.

37 … Notice that many of the Jewish people that came to mourn for Lazarus still did not have the faith of Mary and Martha.

39-44 … To demonstrate the truth that He is the resurrection and the life and to reveal God's glory Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Also notice the truth of all that Jesus said earlier to Mary and Martha's messenger, that is Lazarus' illness did not end in death.

In addition to all the above acts of power and authority, the Bible also records for us that,

JESUS HAS THE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SIN

To see this, let us read the account where He forgave the paralytic of his sins in,

Matthew 9:1-8

"[1] Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. [2] Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." [3] At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!" [4] Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? [5] Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? [6] But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." [7] And the man got up and went home. [8] When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men."

As one reflects upon all the above acts of power and authority one comes to the realization that Jesus Christ was clearly sent by God and is someone very, very special. Was He a great prophet as some said? (or) Is Jesus Christ much greater? As we read the New Testament we find that Jesus Christ is indeed much greater than a prophet. In fact we discover that,

JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD

Previously, we read that the demons acknowledged Him to be the Son of God (Matthew 8:29)! Were they right? Did they understand correctly? To find out, let us read about the time when Jesus asked His disciples this very same question … namely, "Who am I?" We find it in,

Matthew 16:13-15

"[13] When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" [14] They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." [15] "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?""

Let us notice the following verses,

13 … Jesus asked His disciples who the people think He is.

14 … The disciples responded and told Jesus the various beliefs the people had.

15 … Jesus now made the question more personal and asked them, " Who do you say I am?" So it is with us. We too must come to grips with this question. As it was with His disciples, Jesus is not only concerned about what others think of Him but is very concerned about what you and I think and believe on who He is.

Let us now continue reading this conversation between Jesus and His disciples and learn what Peter's response was to Jesus' question. To do this let us go to,

Matthew 16:16-17

"[16] Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." [17] Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

Let us notice the following verses,

16 … Simon Peter recognized who Jesus Christ really is … "The Son of the living God."

17 … Jesus now told Peter that he did not learn this from man but from God the Father.

In other words, what Jesus told Peter and is now telling us, is that it is God the Father who reveals Jesus Christ to us. The saving knowledge of Jesus Christ does not come from the wisdom of man or his intellect but from God Himself. It is a miraculous gift from God! If you have not recognized who Jesus is, please stop reading for a moment or two and ask God the Father, as we continue to read His Word, to give you this same revelation.

In addition to the Apostle Peter, we find that John the Baptist also bore witness to Jesus’ true identity. To read what he said, let us go to,

John 1:29-34

"[29] The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! [30] This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' [31] I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." [32] Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. [33] I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' [34] I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.""

Finally and most important of all, we find that God the Father, Himself, bore witness to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. To read what God the Father said about Him, let us first read what He said after Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River. To do this let us read from,

Matthew 3:13-17

"[13] Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. [14] But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" [15] Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. [16] As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. [17] And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.""

Let us notice the following verse,

17 … God the Father proclaimed Jesus to be His Son.

This was not the only time God the Father bore witness to Jesus Christ. He also bore witness to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. This is recorded for us in,

Mark 9:2-8

"[2] After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. [3] His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. [4] And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. [5] Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." [6] (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) [7] Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" [8] Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus."

Let us notice the following verses,

3 … He became dazzling white. In other words Jesus’ true nature was revealed.

7 … God the Father bore witness to Peter, James and John that Jesus is His Son.

Thus, we see that Jesus is indeed no ordinary man and is much greater than a prophet. In fact, as we saw above, He is the one and only Son of God!

CONCLUSION

What is the point? What is the message of this study? The point or message of this study is best given by the Apostle John as recorded in,

John 20:30-31

"[30] Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. [31] But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

Shall We Pray?

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