Jesus Elevates His Authority Above All Other Authority


When Jesus spoke, He did not speak as other men. Jesus intended that every word He uttered–be interpreted as the words of the Living God. It is clear from the narrative of the four gospels that the disciples of Jesus understood that He was claiming equality with God. Jesus described His authority in teaching the true intent of God’s law, as coming from God Himself. Jesus clearly described Himself as the Author of all the words and laws of God. This assertion is in close alignment with the Hebrew prophets who described the Messiah as coming to earth with the very authority of God Himself.

The Messiah shall be a “witness to the people” of what God is truly like: a “Commander (King).”

Isaiah 55:4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people.

The Messiah identified in the previous verse of Isaiah 55:3 (Prophecy 272), who is given the sure mercies of David; a resurrection from the dead, is further defined here in verse 4 as a Witness, a Leader, and a Commander.

Witness, Hebrew: ed
One who bring testimony, facts, or evidence.[1]

Leader, Hebrew: nagiyd
One who occupies the front lines of the battle, the captain, chief; governor, noble, prince, chief ruler.[2]

Commander, Hebrew: unesaweh
One who sets things in order, referring to the Messiah as the chief governor, the King of kings and Lord of lords, having complete oversight and responsibility over all things on earth and over all of His people.[3]

One of the purposes of the Messiah in coming to earth was to bear witness of God’s true character and nature. Up until the time when Jesus arrived, man’s view of God was greatly distorted. Even amongst the scribes and the Pharisees—the very men whom God had entrusted the teaching and distribution of His word, they failed to know or understand the prophecies of the Messiah. The certainty of their ignorance is observed by Jesus statement that they did not recognize the time of their visitation by the Messiah.[4]

Jesus was constantly in opposition with the Pharisees, who believed that the laws of God were external. If a person did not kill or commit adultery, he was considered righteous and was regarded as fulfilling the requirements of the law. Jesus expounded and restored the true purpose and intent of God’s law—in context with the thoughts and intents of the heart, which were just as important as the actions of the body.

The Pharisees would often quote a greater, well respected Rabbi in making certain points of the law. Jesus did not quote any man. In this way, He was indicating that His authority was greater than all of their traditions, or the teaching of the greatest Rabbis.

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

This method of teaching often confounded the people of Israel because of the authority with which Jesus spoke.

Matthew 7:28-29 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There were two types of teachers of the law in Israel during the time that Jesus taught the people. The Torah teachers, who were only permitted to teach previously accepted interpretations of God’s law—by respected Rabbi’s. The second; s’mikhah, those who had developed such great knowledge and proficiency in the law of God that they were permitted to teach new interpretations of the law. When the leaders of Israel listened to Jesus teach, His authority and knowledge of the law was unmistakable. As a result of Jesus interpretations of the law, the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus where He received His authority to teach these new expositions of the law.

Matthew 21:23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?

All that the leaders of Israel knew about Jesus was that He was the son of the carpenter—Joseph and Mary from Nazareth. In their opinion, Jesus did not have the authority to make such interpretations of the laws of God.

John 6:41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

We should not miss the subtlety of this verse from John 6:41 as their is an implied derision in this statement. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” It was well known amongst the leaders of Israel that Mary was already pregnant with Jesus when she married Joseph. The Pharisees considered Jesus the illegitimate son of an adulterous woman. In their minds, God would never give wisdom in the law of God to a man who came from such a scurrilous background.

In fact, through the Hebrew prophets, God described the Messiah as One who would possess great knowledge in the correct purpose of God’s law.

Prophecy 192: Jesus’ interpretation of the Laws of God, in opposition to the “Traditions of the Elders”

Prophecy 208: Jesus reveals the true intent of God’s law.

Jesus informs the leaders of Israel that their understanding of the law was not correct. In saying this, He was elevating His authority above all other authority. Only God has the right to make law and the ability to correctly interpret those laws. This is a seldom noticed section of scripture that really speaks to the identity of Jesus. By stating “but I say to you,” He is claiming that He is God, the maker of all laws.

Attributes of God: Truth, Mercy, Resurrection.

One of the attributes of God is the certainty of His truth. He cannot lie, it is impossible. Jesus said that He is the truth. When He stood before Pilate, Jesus declared that His purpose in coming into the world was to bear witness of the truth.[5] Everyone who loves the truth listens to Jesus.

Another attribute of God as revealed in the Old Testament is that—He is very merciful, extremely patient, and long-suffering. When Jesus stood before sinners who were caught in the very acts of sin, Jesus always showed compassion, mercy, and forgiveness when the guilty repented.[6]

The God of the Old Testament is spoken of as One endowed with power to raise the dead. When Jesus was confronted with death, He simply spoke and the dead returned to life.[7]

The Authority of God

All of the qualities that we would expect from God, these were the works that Jesus performed as the Messiah. It was common during the time when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, that when a teacher of the law wanted to show himself as wise regarding the interpretation of the laws of God, he would quote a well-known teacher of the law as his authority. When Jesus spoke, He said: I say to you… Jesus was claiming that what He said was the highest authority. These men understood clearly that Jesus was claiming the authority of God Himself, as the author of all the laws of God.

Jesus came to be a faithful witness of what God is truly like

One day, Phillip, who was known for bringing people to the Lord, asked Jesus, Lord show us the Father. Jesus was amazed that Phillip could ask such a question. It must have been overwhelmingly clear, by that time—exactly who Jesus was. The Lord removed all doubts about His identity when He answered, He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:8-9). In John Chapter 10, Jesus makes a special point of clarifying who He is. When questioned by the Pharisees, Jesus told them:

John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.”

Jesus was not simply stating that He was one with the Father, in the way that we are one with the Lord in unity. Jesus was saying emphatically that He and the Father were One and the Same. Jesus uses the Greek neuter pronoun “hen,” signifying a unity of nature or equality.[8]

Whatever the Father is, Jesus is. Whatever the Father has done, Jesus will do. Whatever God has promised, Jesus will bring it to completion.

It was the purpose of the Messiah to reveal to the world who God is and His plan for the salvation of all people. Isaiah’s prophecy allows the reader to identify the true Messiah by how closely His words and actions line up with the words and actions of Yahweh, from the Old Testament.

Upon His return to earth with His church at the end of the seven year Tribulation, Jesus will fulfill the remaining two parts of this 273rd prophecy, as the Leader and Commander of the entire world.

[1] Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #5707
[2] Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #5057, Dake’s Study Bible, notes and commentary on Isaiah 55:4
[3] Ibid., Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #6680
[4] Luke 19:42-44 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.
[5] John 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
[6] Matthew 9:27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Matthew 12:7 But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Matthew 15:22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
Matthew 17:15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
Matthew 20:30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
Matthew 20:31 Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
[7] John 11:38-44 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
[8] “I and the Father” preserves the separate individuality of the two Persons in the Godhead; the neuter pronoun “one” (hen) asserts unity of nature or equality. Source: The Expositors Bible Commentary on Jon 10:30.

Categories: Jesus is God, Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus: Author of the Law, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, The Authority of God

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