Good News. Week 52. The Good News Of Jesus' Authority
What is authority?
Who has authority?
Does everyone with authority use it for good?
Who gives authority?
Who is your authority?
It seems like everything they are an authority on everything.
I mean you can hardly get on FB without a middle schooler telling you how to fight inflation, or shoot down a spy balloon, or how to fight climate change.
And if you aren’t an authority on the topic du jour there’s a YouTube video and a TikTok-er ready to explain to you why they are an authority and why you should agree with them.
But even in the age where everyone believes they are an authority we simultaneously have a great distrust for authority.
WE don’t just the news, we don’t politicians, we don’t trust the cops, we don’t trust elections, we don’t trust education, we don’t trust pastors and churches, we don’t just power, we don’t trust people.
We have a pandemic of distrust.
And as trust in institutions break down, they is a vacuum of authority.
We create new authorities.
We listen to new voices.
We christen new figures of authority to guide us into a new future where everyone and no one is an authority.
This is dangerous.
Because we tend to listen to the voices that resonate with our lived experience and our desired outcome.
Paul the Apostle calls the people that flock to these authorities as people with itching ears.
We gatherer around the self appointed authority that scratched the itch.
Every side does it.
Conservatives and progressives.
Traditionalists and liberals.
Sinners and saints.
Everyone one of us is looking for autonomy and authority.
We don’t want to be told what to do and we also want the person who does tells us what to do to agree with us.
That’s not bad, unless it is.
It’s not bad unless it is.
What do I mean?
It’s not bad unless our desire for autonomy sets us up against goodness and truth.
It’s not bad to seek out an authority unless that authority sets us up against goodness and truth.
It’s not bad unless that autonomy and authority sets itself up against the ultimate authority.
It’s the challenge from the start, will we believe and will we trust the ultimate authority?
Who is that ultimate authority?
I believe there is an ultimate authority.
I believe there is One who whom is the source of all life and wisdom and beauty and love and rightness and truth.
I believe creation too complex to be random.
I believe life too meaningful to be the result of an happenstance.
I believe that matter doesn’t exist without cause.
I believe truth is truth.
Natural laws are constant and consistent because they were designed that way.
Dr. Jeff Miller puts it this way, “The law of science known as the Law of Causality, or Law of Cause and Effect, says that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause (Miller, 2011). The Universe is a material effect that demands an adequate Cause, and atheism cannot provide one. The truth is, God exists. Often the atheist or skeptic, attempting to distract from and side-step the truth of this law without responding to it, retorts, “But if everything had to have a beginning, why does the same concept not apply to God? God needs a cause, too! Who caused God?”
First, notice that this statement is based on a misunderstanding of what the Law of Cause and Effect claims concerning the Universe. The law states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause. A law of science is determined through the observation of nature—not supernature. The laws of nature do not apply to non-material entities. The God of the Bible is a spiritual Being (John 4:24), and therefore is not governed by physical law. In 1934, professor of philosophy at Princeton University, W.T. Stace, wrote in A Critical History of Greek Philosophy concerning causality: “[E]verything which has a beginning has a cause” (1934, p. 6, emp. added). God, according to the Bible, had no beginning. Psalm 90:2 says concerning God, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (emp. added). The Bible describes God as a Being Who has always been and always will be—“from everlasting to everlasting.” He, therefore, had no beginning. Hebrews 3:4 again states, “every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God,” indicating that God is not constrained by the Law of Cause and Effect as are houses, but rather, is the Chief Builder—the Uncaused Causer—the Being who initially set all effects into motion.
Further, scientists and philosophers recognize that, logically, there must be an initial, uncaused Cause of the Universe.”
The y caused cause is the authority.
And that I caused cause is God.
So God is the ultimate authority.
And His authority has been challenged by the Satan since the beginning.
in Genesis 3, the serpent walks over to Eve, Adam nearby, to questions and challenges what God had spoken to them.
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “No! You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Notice the scheme of the Satan, the serpent.
First he questions “Did God really say?
See that’s always his first challenge.
He always starts by questioning God’s authority.
He wants us to question God’s authority.
To question if God really said that and if God really meant what He said.
The scheme of the Satan always begins by calling on you to answer the question, Did God Really Say?
The Satan hope to get you to disbelieve the word of the Authority.
But notice Eve’s response.
It’s the right one.
Eve gives the right response to the cunning question of the Tempter.
Yes, God really said not to eat it.
He said we would die if we indulged in the fruit of that one tree.
They wouldn’t die because it was forbidden.
It was forbidden because they would die.
They had life and they had God and they had the garden.
But the Tempter wanted them to believe that that wasn’t enough.
So notice the second part of his scheme.
“God doesn’t want you to eat because if you do you’ll be like Him and your eyes will be opened. You’ll be enlightened. You’ll know what God knows. You’ll be an equal authority”
Remember Plan A was to get Eve to disbelieve the Authority.
Plan B is to get her to distrust the Authority.
The Tempter actually backs off of his initial claim.
He backs of his initial plan to call into question God’s authority and tries a new tactic, to call into question God’s motives.
If the Tempter cannot get you to disbelieve God’s authority he will attempt to get you to distrust God’s character.
He will attempt to get you to distrust God’s goodness and God’s love and God’s truth and God’s righteousness and God’s holiness and God’s power and God’s words.
If he can’t get to you disbelieve God he will work to get you to distrust God.
That’s the lesson of the serpent.
He doesn’t only have one tactic.
But he also doesn’t have the final say.
Because he doesn’t have ultimate authority.
God promised that the Tempter, the Serpent would be crushed, defeated by the offspring of Eve.
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.* He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
This is called the protoevangelion.
It’s the first promise of deliverance from the death of the garden.
The seed of the woman wound have the power and authority to defeat the tempter.
And as we continue thru the scripture we see promises and prophecies of the Serpent Crusher that is to come.
Isaiah, Daniel, Moses, types and shadows, prophets and priests, rituals and festivals, all point to a Serpent-crusher.
A virgin will conceive, Isaiah said.
A sin-bearer will be raised up as in Moses day.
Over and over again we see this motif, this promise.
The Ancient of Days, this man who comes and is given authority to rule is prophesied by Daniel.
The New Testament alludes to Genesis 3:15 in several places. Romans 16:20 speaks of victory over Satan with the image of crushing underfoot, as one might do to a snake. Galatians 4:4 refers to Jesus being “born of woman,” reminding us that the phrase in Genesis refers to the seed (offspring) of the woman. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Jesus destroying – through his own death – Satan. Some think that the blow against the heel in Genesis 3:15 actually would be lethal, since snakes were often poisonous. In that case, Genesis would not be talking about a lethal vs. non-lethal blow, but both would be mortal wounds. In Jesus’ case, however, it was exactly his death that led to redemption. Finally, Revelation 12:9 and 17 allude to the war of Satan against “the woman” and “the rest of her offspring” – a clear reference back to Genesis 3:15 which ties the first and last books of the Bible together. Jesus may be the ultimate seed of the woman, but his followers are also in battle against Satan against which they will be victorious (compare Romans 16:20 above).
And then after thousand of years Jesus appears.
More than appears, Jesus is born.
and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Mary gave birth to Jesus.
The daughter of Eve gave birth to the Son of God.
And this Jesus is perfect encapsulation of the Godhead in bodily form.
John calls him the Word made flesh, the Creator.
Jesus even told Caesar that he had no authority. The Jesus death was a willing laying down of His life as a covering for our sins.
Paul calls him the exact imprint of God And the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.
Jesus calls himself the Son of Man and uses Daniel imagery about himself as the King of heaven, the Ancient of Days, the one who rides on clouds.
These are just some of the claims by followers of Jesus that testify to Jesus authority.
But even Jesus made claims about his authority.
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Jesus claimed to be the Ultimate Authority.
He has been given a name above every name, that everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow their knee to.
He’s is the WORD made flesh.
The word is authoritative because it’s the revelation of Jesus.
Jesus is the authority.
But hear me this morning, the Satan, the tempter is still at work in the world to using the tactics of the Garden to decieve.
Plan A - Did God really say?
Plan B - Is God really good?
Did God really say love you enemies?
Did God really say blessed are the poor?
Did God really say to avoid drunkenness?
Did God really say not to gossip?
Does God really have my best interests at heart?
Does God really care about my feelings?
Is God really trustworthy?
Is God really good?
The Tempter wants us to doubt God’s truthfulness and God’s trustworthiness.
The Tempter wants us to doubt God’s authority and God’s character.
If we will doubt either one of those we will reach out wantonly towards branches of the tree and snatch the forbidden fruit and place it to our lips and bite.
And once we bite, once we’ve tasted rebellion our shame causes us to run and hide.
But God in his goodness, truthfulness, and trustworthiness, is calling out for us so that He can restore us.
Listen, Jesus is God proving His truthfulness and His trustworthiness.
Jesus is Authorized to rescue, redeem, and restore you.
I want us to look together at Luke’s Gospel.
This morning Luke is going to testify to the authority of Jesus.
Jesus authority is challenged.
But Jesus doesn’t back down.
45 He went into the temple and began to throw out those who were selling, 46 and he said, “It is written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!” 47 Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to kill him, 48 but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard.
Jesus challenged their authority.
He questioned their vain religion.
He called them out for their hypocrisy and injustice and idolatry.
And of course they hated him for it.
He had the authority the wanted.
One day as he was teaching the people in the temple and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the scribes, with the elders, came 2 and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” 3 He answered them, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, 4 was the baptism of John from heaven or of human origin?” 5 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know its origin. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Here’s something we learn about those who would question Jesus authority, they don’t want to give a clear answer about who they believe Jesus is.
John calls these people antichrists.
18 Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. By this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well. 24 What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
They deny the authority of Jesus.
They deny the deity of Jesus.
They deny the power of Jesus.
They deny the truth of Jesus.
They deny the eternality of Jesus.
The deny the mission of Jesus.
They deny the work of Jesus.
These are antichrists.
They deny the authority of Jesus.
They refuse to give an answer.
The hem and hah around the question.
If we say this. If we say that.
They look for ways to avoid the question of who Jesus is.
Listen to me Church, Jesus is the firstborn of all Creation, the Seed of the Woman, the Son of God and the Son of Man, the Head of the Church, the Creator and Sustainer of Everyone and Everything, the Lamb of God, the Beginning and the End, The Messiah, The Ancient of Days, the Rose of Sharon, the Good Shepherd, The Word Made Flesh, the Fulness of the Godhead in Bodily Form, The Sinless Sacrifice, The Mediator of the New and Better Covenant, The Savior of the World, The King of Kings and the LORD of Lords, and the Soon Coming Christ.
He’s is the Ultimate Authority.
What will you do with this Jesus?
What Will You Do With Jesus?
What Will You Do With Jesus?
The they refused to answer the question of Authority.
So Jesus tells them a parable.
9 Now he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers so that they might give him some fruit from the vineyard. But the farmers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent yet another servant, but they beat that one too, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third, but they wounded this one too and threw him out. 13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my beloved son. Perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 “But when the tenant farmers saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those farmers and give the vineyard to others.” But when they heard this they said, “That must never happen!” 17 But he looked at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.” 19 Then the scribes and the chief priests looked for a way to get their hands on him that very hour, because they knew he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.
Let’s unpack the parable.
The Owner is Creator-God.
The vineyard is Israel.
The farmers of the children of Israel.
The servants are the prophets of Israel.
The Son is the Son of God.
The meaning - You have rejected every prophet. You have continued in your sin. You claimed to be the ultimate authority. You rejected and plotted to kill God’s Son. You have challenged His authority. You will be judged.
What that mean for us?
Do not reject the Son.
The vineyard is good and pleasing.
It’s a garden.
Submit to the Authority of the owner.
Don’t be an antichrist.
But listen, the scribes , the chief priests, the religious knew he was calling them out for their hypocrisy and rejection.
And it just made them ever more angry.
Who Is Your Authority?
Who Is Your Authority?
So they plotted to trap Jesus and cause folks to question His authority.
20 They watched closely and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, so that they could catch him in what he said, to hand him over to the governor’s rule and authority. 21 They questioned him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, and you don’t show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 23 But detecting their craftiness, he said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” “Caesar’s,” they said. 25 “Well then,” he told them, “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 They were not able to catch him in what he said in public, and being amazed at his answer, they became silent. 27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up and questioned him:
They tried to trap Him with political allegiance.
But he flipped the question and reminded them that political allegiance is temporary.
They’ve been created as image bearers of Creator-God.
They should give Caesar what is his, but give God all of themselves.
Then they tried another trap.
27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up and questioned him: 28 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother has a wife, and dies childless, his brother should take the wife and produce offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife and died without children. 30 Also the second 31 and the third took her. In the same way, all seven died and left no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her.” 34 Jesus told them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 For they can no longer die, because they are like angels and are children of God, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 Moses even indicated in the passage about the burning bush that the dead are raised, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 He is not the God of the dead but of the living, because all are living to him.” 39 Some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
The Sadducee’s didn’t even believe in the resurrection of the dead.
That’s why they were always sad, you see.
They thought they’d outwitted Jesus.
And Jesus takes their entrapment and declares that resurrection of the dead is taught in the Torah by Moses.
They tried to trap Him with religious minutia.
And Jesus flips the script and declares himself to be the Messiah, the Promised One, the Ultimate Authority.
41 Then he said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is the son of David? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms: The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand 43 until I make your enemies your footstool.’ 44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How, then, can the Messiah be his son?”
Jesus is saying good theology understand the eternality of the Messiah.
You’re looking for an earthy king.
But the son of David rules on an everlasting throne.
He’s saying youre rejecting me because you do not understand the scripture.
Good theology moves past political allegiance and religious minutia and goes straight to the heart of it all…
What will you believe about Jesus.
He is both truth and trustworthy.
And then Jesus warns us.
Watch Out For The Frauds. Follow The Faithful
Watch Out For The Frauds. Follow The Faithful
45 While all the people were listening, he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes and who love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher judgment.”
He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
Here’s what Jesus says
It’s not the outward appearance that demonstrates and reveals righteousness, its the obedience from the heart.
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
The scribes used their position to claim authority.
Jesus left his position to demonstrate his authority.
Don’t converse with the Tempter.
He never speaks truth.
Don’t listen to false authorities, they only want power.
Listen to Jesus.
He welcomes us into His Kingdom.
He send us into the world with His authority.
He makes us Kings and Priests.
Only Jesus has the Authority to Restore Us to Our Created Purpose of Garden Rulers and Divine Image-Bearers Fulfilling The Great Commission and the Creation Mandate to Rule and Cultivate the Land, Expanding the Kingdom Against the Gates of Hell and Making Disciples in all the World.
Don’t live beneath your created purpose.
Submit to the Authority of Jesus.
All hail King Jesus!