By What Authority?

Several years ago I attended an event at a local high school. As I drove into the parking lot, a bumper sticker on a student’s car caught my eye. I’ve never forgotten it. It was only two words. But they say a lot.


Authority has become a four letter word to this generation. School officials, law enforcement officers, and religious leaders don’t occupy positions of respect that they once enjoyed. Of course, some has abused their authority and brought shame upon themselves and the office they hold.

But there is one person who holds a position of authority who deserves our respect, honor and absolute obedience. Jesus Christ. However, He, too, is questioned, disrespected and ignored. But this is nothing new.

During the final week of Jesus’ life after he entered Jerusalem, he was approached in the temple by the Chief Priests, the scribe, and the elders and questioned. “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority to do these things?” (Mk. 11:27-29).

Their question was insincere. For most of His ministry, the religious leaders had been trying to trap Jesus with some hypothetical question. Or find in Him some inconsistency. Or even discredit Him because of his parentage, hometown, or lack of educational credentials.

In this encounter, Jesus turns the tables on them. He tells them that he will answer the question if they will answer one question. “The baptism of John–was it from heaven or from men?”

Read more:


Christ is the focus

Christ-the focus

Bethel Church Believes a Different Gospel

Vince Gill – “Tell Me One More Time About Jesus”

Lessons From the Radical Leadership of Jesus

Lessons From the Radical Leadership of Jesus

Leading people in the name of Jesus is complex, demanding great wisdom and discernment. I have dedicated my adult life to the study of leadership. I have written books on leadership, read innumerable books on the topic, and attended more than my share of leadership conferences.

But for the last 18 months, I have been meditating on the leadership of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. It has shaken me. The Holy Spirit has challenged me to honestly look at the Western church model of leadership that lives in me more than I care to admit (i.e., bigger, better, more, faster), and invited me to drink more deeply of Jesus’ life and leadership.

I have summarized my learnings into five lessons for your reflection and prayer:

  1. Jesus rejected the powerful ministries presented by Satan—the sensational, the spectacular and the speedy. Jesus chose the low road of suffering and the cross. He did not storm Israel by messianic force. He refused to flaunt his power or knowledge to “show people” who is the Lord. Instead he knocked quietly at Israel’s door—little by little. In fact, Jesus deplored religion that did show business, preferring to do his work quietly, inconspicuously and in a measured fashion—unlike the false Messiahs of his day. He often withdrew or commanded people to silence, seeking to be hidden and not looking to be well-known. Lord, grant me grace to reject the temptations of going fast and big.
  2. Jesus purposefully chose a path of humility. Jesus chose to be born in a manger and to live in obscurity in Nazareth (i.e., no-wheresville). His first miracle was a miracle of humility as he joined us in the human race in the deep waters of repentance at the hand of John the Baptist. In fact, the center of his ministry took place in the backwoods of Galilee (“the sticks”) and not strategically in Jerusalem. Lord, help me choose humility today.


The Son IS!

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Colossians 1:15-18

How can you read these few verses and not just fall into one of those “Wow!” moments?  Even if you only read the first sentence: Wow!

It is ‘content rich’ to say the least.  Consider the first sentence, The Son of God, Jesus the Christ, is the image of the invisible God; let that sink in…  People sometimes ask how they can know God, and the answer is to look at Jesus Christ; He was here, on this earth as a man.  He is a historical figure, who left behind a written record of what He thought, said and did.  He was a Teacher, so His teachings are there for all to see.  He was the image of God, and He spoke directly to us, so if we want to know what God is like, learn what Jesus was like… and you will have it! Jesus, the Son, is also the firstborn of all creation− don’t skip that phrase!  You and I are part of the Creation of which Jesus is the firstborn… yes, that means you and I are meant to have a relationship with Him, after all that is why He came to the earth in the first place.  Oh, my, reflect on that for a while…

This is exciting!

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What Are The Roles Of The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit?

Verses like John 14:28, where Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I,” have led to confusion in the church. The Bible seems to clearly teach that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equally divine. They all possess the same attributes of deity. Then how can Jesus say the Father is greater than him?

The early church developed the doctrine of functional subordinationto clarify the roles of the three members of the Trinity. Theologian Norman Geisler explains this doctrine in Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation:

All members of the Trinity are equal in essence, but they do not have the same roles. It is a heresy (called subordinationism) to affirm that there is an ontological subordination of one member of the Trinity to another, since they are identical in essence . . . ; nonetheless, it is clear that there is a functional subordination; that is, not only does each member have a different function or role, but some functions are also subordinate to others.

The Function of the Father

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