The Authority of Jesus

 The Authority  of Jesus

Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God breaking into history. The kingdom of God is the rule of God, a rule of grace — guilty sinners are forgiven, broken lives are made whole, captive souls are set free. And the message of the kingdom was made visible in works of power and mercy.

The mighty works of Jesus included authority over nature, authority over demons and disease, authority over death, authority to forgive sin and bestow eternal life on all who believe in Him.

“If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe Me.  But if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I in the Father” (John 10:37,38). This is similar to what Jesus said to the disciples of John the Baptist. John knew Jesus was the Messiah but he had been arrested and was in a dungeon. And he was wondering, “If you are the Messiah, why am I in prison? Where is the kingdom of God?” 


Jesus replied, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the Gospel preached to them” (Luke 7:22). His works proclaimed His Lordship. The kingdom of God was present in Jesus and also coming someday in power and glory — now and not yet. His mighty works proclaimed the now of the kingdom.


1. Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom as He exercised Lordship over nature:

a. He calmed the storm (Matthew 8:24-27). 

Jesus and His disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee when, “There arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.” The word which we translate storm is seismos which can also be translated earthquake. In Matthew 28:2, the same word is used to describe an earthquake outside the tomb of Jesus as an angel descended to roll away the stone. Jesus used the word seismos to describe events during the last days (Matt. 24:7).

Seismos is also used in Revelation 16:18 to describe the greatest earthquake in history, occurring during the tribulation, which will rock the cities of the world. A related word is used in Matthew 27:51 to describe the moments after Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross and the veil of the temple was split as the earth shook and the rocks were split.

So this was more than just a storm. The waves may have been generated, not just by wind, but by some seismic activity beneath the floor of the Sea of Galilee. The boat was covered (literally hidden) by the waves.  The picture is of a boat that is violently tossed by wind and wave.  Meanwhile, Jesus was asleep, so great was His exhaustion and His peace.

The disciples awakened Jesus and He rebuked (admonished) the wind and the sea “and it became perfectly calm.” He subjected the laws of nature to His sovereign Lordship. Because of the enormous amount of energy generated by a storm, its turbulence diminishes gradually. Slowly, over a period of hours, the wind dies down and the water becomes smooth. But Jesus exerted immediate Lordship over the very energy that was moving the wind and water. He didn’t just still the wind and waves. He stilled the forces of nature that produced the wind and waves causing an immediate, perfect calm.

Creation responded to the voice of its Creator. Jesus not only created the molecular structure of air and water but also created the laws of physics which move and govern air and water. He who created with a mere word can surely govern His creation. 

He can also govern the storms in our lives. He is near, present — “in Him we live and move and have our being” and His presence is our peace even when the winds of circumstance are raging. In this He demonstrates His Lordship and the presence of the kingdom of God.

b. He walked on water  (Matthew 14:25)

Jesus had sent His disciples in a boat to the other side of the sea while He stayed behind to pray. But the boat was caught in a contrary wind, was battered by the waves and making no progress for hours. So the Lord came to them walking on the water. Remember, Jesus created the universe and upholds it by His continued word of power (Hebr 1:3). All of creation, the very elements of creation, are held together, consist, in Him (Col 1:17). God has established laws by which the universe functions in an orderly way. But God is also capable of overruling His laws. Creation responds to the will and purpose of its Creator. The water supported Jesus because this was His will. Jesus did not abandon His disciples in the storm — He met them by walking on the water.

He is able to meet us also when the wind of circumstance is contrary and in this He demonstrates His Lordship and the presence of His kingdom rule of grace.

c. He multiplied fish and loaves of bread  (Matthew 14:13-21)

A large crowd had followed Jesus to a secluded place and he taught them. He felt compassion for them and healed their sick. When it became evening the people were hungry but there was no place to buy food. All that was available was five loaves and two fish. Jesus took the fish and loaves “and looking up to heaven, He blessed the food.” He then gave it to His disciples who distributed it to five thousand men plus women and children.

Jesus created the fish and the bread. Notice in verse 20 that there were twelve baskets of food left over. There was more food left over after Jesus blessed it and fed the people than what they brought to Him to begin with. 

Jesus is also able to bless and multiply whatever good gift we place in His hands and in this He demonstrates His Lordship and the presence of His kingdom rule of grace.

2. Jesus demonstrated Lordship, kingdom authority over demons:

a. The deliverance of two demon possessed men (Matt. 8:28-34  Mark 5:1-20  Lk. 8:26-37)

Jesus and His disciples encountered two men who were so violently demon possessed that they lived outside the community, among the tombs (Mark and Luke mention only the man who spoke). The demons instantly recognized Jesus as the Son of God and recognized His authority over them, crying out, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt. 8:29). Jesus spoke one word of command, “Go,” and the demons immediately departed.

We see this throughout the ministry of Jesus. Men and women whose lives had been invaded by Satan to the extent that they no longer had control over their choices or will, whose lives were ruled by demonic impulses — Jesus set them free. Demons recognized His identity and His authority and without exception, obeyed His command.

And so in our day, demons recognize the authority of Jesus and through our prayers and our witness, our Lord is able to exercise Lordship over strongholds of darkness and demonic presence. He is able to deliver addicted, oppressed, broken and bound personalities.

3. Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom as exercised authority over disease.  

a. Jesus showed Himself willing to heal a leper (Matthew 8:2-7) 

Notice the accessibility of Jesus, “And a leper came to Him.” Lepers were considered unclean and were prohibited from social contact except with other lepers. Yet people were drawn to Jesus and He invited all, including those afflicted with leprosy.

Notice the willingness of Jesus. The leper bowed down before Jesus and said, “‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched Him saying, ‘I am willing, be cleansed.’”

Notice also the love of Jesus — He touched the leper. In that society, one did not touch lepers.  Jesus could have simply spoken a word of healing but He touched the man.  Whatever distance there was between the leper and Jesus, Jesus bridged the distance. 

The love of Jesus for people cannot abide distance. He is always crossing the canyon, the divide. He seeks us, He reaches out to us, crossing the divide between time and eternity to touch our lives and He always either makes us whole or gives us grace to press on toward that day when we will be perfectly whole in glory.

4. Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom as He exercised Lordship over death:

a. He raised the ruler's daughter (Matthew 9:18-26)

A synagogue official came to Jesus and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her and she will live,” (9:18). Jesus entered the man’s house and He took her by the hand. In Luke (8:54) and especially in Mark’s gospel we read what He said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up,” (Mark 5:41). The word little girl, talitha is related to the Hebrew word for lamb.  It’s as if Jesus said, “Little lamb, arise.” And she rose up from the sleep of death.

So in our lives, Jesus is able to raise into resurrection that dream, that hope, that vision which seemed dead but Jesus speaks life, touches with hands of life, and the vision lives. He is the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist (Rom. 4:17).

b. He raised Lazarus (John 11:1-44)

When Jesus was informed of the illness of His close friend Lazarus, He waited two days before journeying to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. By that time, His friend was dead. Jesus intended to teach an object lesson on His absolute authority over death. In a short time He would be arrested and crucified. He knew His followers would be devastated but He wanted to plant this hope in their hearts, that death cannot triumph over the Lord of life.

Jesus said to Mary and Martha and to us, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die (John 11:25,26). He then stood outside the tomb of a man who had been dead for four days and cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. Lazarus emerged from the tomb, still bound in his grave clothes.

Jesus exercised Lordship over death. As a follower of Jesus, Creator and Sustainer of all life, our present experience and our ultimate end is resurrection and eternal life. It is the promise of Jesus.

He says to all who follow Him, Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24).

In our union with Christ, we are already experiencing eternal life — we have been brought into union with His death (Rom. 6:4); and with His resurrection and ascension, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us … made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-6).

5. Jesus demonstrates Lordship as He forgives sin and gives eternal life to all who believe in Him. 

What is it that has separated humanity from God and brought about the condition known as death? It is sin. God warned Adam that on the day he sinned, the reality of death would enter creation. But Jesus has the authority to forgive sin as He did with the paralyzed man in (Luke 5:17-26); as He did with the woman thrown down at His feet in John 8; as He did with the woman who, rescued from a life of self destructive immorality, fell at the feet of Jesus, anointing His feet with her tears and an alabaster vial of perfume, drying His feet with her hair (Luke 7:37,28). So it was that sinners fell at His feet as the rule of grace burst into their lives.

Because Jesus is the Creator, Sustainer and Upholder of all life, because life originates in Him and proceeds from Him and to Him, because He has the authority to forgive the sin that separates us from God, the sin which creates death and because He is the Author of life and conqueror of death, He has the authority to bestow eternal life on all whom the Father gives to Him (John 17:1,2). Whoever believes in Him has eternal life (Jn. 3:16, 5:24). Eternal life is Christ’s gift (Jn. 6:27). When God shares eternal life with the redeemed, it is the life that is “in His Son,” (I John 5:11).

What is eternal life? It is to share the life of God. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life, (I John 5:11,12). When we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus through repentance and faith, we are brought into union with His life.

What greater miracle could Jesus perform than giving eternal life to spiritually dead sinners?Jesus informed Nicodemus, a devout Jew, that he needed to be spiritually regenerated, needed to be born a second time. This is the truth of the human condition. But the promise of the Lord is this, Everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40).

Jesus began His ministry proclaiming, Time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News. Then He showed what His kingdom of grace looks like as He exercised Lordship over creation, demons, disease, guilt and death.

We may not always understand the Lord’s answer to our prayers. We may at times feel that there has been no demonstration of kingdom signs and wonders. We may feel at times like John the Baptist — “Lord, where is your kingdom? Why am I in this circumstance?”

But we have seen signs and wonders. Our rebirth from spiritually dead sinners to eternally alive saints, our translation out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, the gift of the forgiveness of our sins, reconciliation to God, the gift of eternal life and the promise of resurrection— all this happened when we placed our faith in Christ and this was the greatest of all signs and wonders.

In addition to what the Lord has done in us there are mighty works of mercy and grace which He has released through our prayers, our gifts of time and talent and treasure. God is present, His kingdom is breaking into history and as we open our lives to His mercy and power, we experience miracles of grace pouring out through us into other lives.

When in Jesus’ name we feed the hungry, comfort the widow, provide for the orphan, pray for the sick, visit the prisoner, lovingly pray for those who are bound by demonic addictions and oppressions and slaveries, when we share the Gospel and spiritually blind eyes open to the truth, spiritually dead souls are awakened to faith and forgiving grace and the gift of eternal life, we are showing forth the presence of the kingdom of God and sharing in signs and wonders.

As we go forth sharing the Good News that the kingdom of God is at hand, remember who this Christ is whom we proclaim: For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created by (through) Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (in Him all things endure or consist) (Colossians 1:16,17). 

All things hold together in the glorified Christ — from the smallest subatomic particles of matter to the enormous spinning constellations of stars, the structure of the universe is held together by the continuing exertion of His power. And He is moving all of history, time and existence toward the fulfilling of His kingdom purpose. All who come to this Christ in humble repentance and faith will experience the miracle of new life, eternal life. Truly, the kingdom of God is at hand and all may enter through the door of Christ, the door of grace.

This is the gospel, the good news which we have experienced in Christ. Empowered with the very life of Jesus flowing through us, endowed with His authority, assured of His resurrection life already resident in us, we carry this gospel to every tribe and tongue and nation.

I pray the Lord’s blessing over your ministry, your life, your family. But remember, God will bless only what He can fill with His presence. Seek His presence and you will have His blessing.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Walking in the Way is not about following a doctrinal roadmap. It is following a Person. The pursuit of truth is not merely the pursuit of wisdom and certainly not the pursuit of information. It is the pursuit of a Person who is truth and wisdom.

The core of the Christian life is relationship with a Person who is the uncreated origin of all life, from Whom all life flows. In Him is life. He is the life and joined in union with Him through our new birth, we live the life, we know the truth, we walk the way.

Study Questions

1. In what way was your rebirth from a spiritually dead sinner to an eternally alive saint a demonstration of the presence of the Kingdom of God?

2. Jesus has the authority to forgive sin and bestow eternal life. How does this influence the way you pray for yourself and for others?