'Now, when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God,'The question', as a good friend of mine once said, 'is that of authority!' Who has it and who doesn't?
who had given such power to men.'
who had given such power to men.'
Where does Authority come from? If you're a believer in God as the Creator & Sustainer of all, you must acknowledge that, ultimately, authority belongs to Him, and He delegates it to whomever He will! Jesus told His disciples that 'all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth' ( Matthew 28:18 ). He earlier told His disciples, 'you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel' ( Matthew 19:28a ) If He gave His disciples in the first century this kind of power & authority, would it not follow that He has given us, in the 21st century, that same kind of power & authority?
Jesus also told His disciples, 'if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, but if you retain [ them ], they are retained' ( John 20:23 ), again, to those in the first century! We are told to forgive our brother ( or sister ) when he ( or she ) sins against us. Through the Power within us, we have the Authority to forgive sins, as well as the Authority to do many other things!
In this present day & age, there are many who would try to either wrest our God-given Authority from us, or deny that we have it in the first place! Don't believe them or let them; we are the ones with the Real Authority, any authority that anyone but you exercises over your own things is what you have granted to them! You've heard it said, 'use it or lose it!' True, to a great extent; because we have not exercised our God-given Authority, 'they' have taken it upon themselves to 'exercise' it for us, and it usually isn't very pretty, or to our liking!
We have the power to forgive sins, this much is clear, sins against ourselves ( I say this with some trepidation ), and sins against God! 'We have the Authority to forgive sin, even against God?!, most would no doubt protest: 'isn't that a Roman Catholic doctrine?' 'How could we presume to have the Authority to forgive sins against God?', you might ask; Jesus told Peter, one of the 'pillars' of His Church in the first century, 'whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven' ( Matthew 16:19 ). Now, understand that this was said of His first-century Church, and the Marriage of Heaven & Earth has since occurred, but even now, we, the Body of Christ, His Church & His Temple have this Authority!
Since we have this Authority, over what else do we possess this Power? We most certainly have the freedom to do what we will with what God has given us, but is that the extent of our Power & Authority? Since Jesus promised those first-century disciples that they would judge their own brothers & sisters, are we not called to do the same? Many Christians like to take Matthew 7:1 ( 'Judge not, lest you be judged' ) out of context and say that we should never judge another, but that is not what Jesus was saying. He was speaking directly to those ( Pharisees ) who were condemning others for sins that they themselves were committing! We are to judge, and because of the Spirit within us, we judge righteously!
We are the judges of the earth, and those to whom we delegate that Authority, whether we mean to or not & whether we like it or not, will exercise that Authority as 'they' see fit! If we don't like it, all we have to do is resume that authority, with righteous indignation, and begin to exercise it once more, first, within the realm of our own person, then our own family, then eventually into every sphere of our influence!
This is, after all, 'Our Father's World'!
Charles Haddon Shank