March 24 I Saturday
“They were amazed at his teaching, because His words had authority.” —Luke 4:32
Imagine that while you were driving, you saw the distant silhouette of someone step out well into the road ahead of you. Your first thought might be, “What is this person doing?” As you come closer, you notice the uniform and see this person wave you over to the side of the road. Now his actions make sense. This person is a police officer.
There is nothing about police officers as human beings that gives them the power to physically stop our cars. But we pull over for police officers because their position before the law gives them the authority to pull us over, and failure to do so would result in harsh consequences.
In the opening verse, we are told that people were amazed by Jesus’s teaching because He spoke with authority. The Greek word for “authority” used here is exousia, referring to the authority someone has because of the position they hold over someone or something. This tells us there was something about Jesus’s position before God that made Him speak in ways that compelled people to listen.
In the Old Testament, three positions that held authority in Jewish society were the offices of priest, prophet and king. The priests were responsible for teaching the people the Law and for carrying out sacrifices on Israel’s behalf to keep in good standing before God. Prophets were the mouthpieces of God, reminding the Israelites of their covenant with Him and warning them of judgment to come if they continued in disobedience. The kings were the highest authority in the nation next to God Himself, and it was their responsibility to rule His people in accordance with His instructions. The members holding these offices were still subject to the Law, but they received special authority over the people to administer the Law.
Jesus is priest, prophet and king all in one. His ministry involved teaching the Law, speaking God’s words, healing the sick, establishing His heavenly kingdom on earth and being the final sacrifice for our sin. Yet, unlike police officers, Christ’s authority is derived less from His position than His identity. He is the divine Son of God made flesh, and because of His work on the cross, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him by the Father. The incarnation did nothing to lessen Christ’s authority, but reinforces it. Because of who He is and the offices He fulfilled on earth, we now have a high priest in heaven with supreme authority and illimitable power to work the impossible in our lives. All it takes is a humbled, repentant heart and a little faith that brings Christ in.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come with a humbled, repentant heart and ask forgiveness for my sins. Grant me the discipline to submit to Your authority as Lord over every aspect of my life. Thank You, God.