Monday, March 25, 2013

Authority Questioned

This is Passion Week, the week ending with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians we take a little bit of extra time to examine the scriptures and reflect on the significance of each step that Jesus took closer to the cross. But the cross was not the end, as it was only the beginning.

That is one of the most unfortunate things about Christians, we fall asleep too close to where we get into bed. It is a sure way to fall out of bed. Too many people receive salvation and leave it at that. They come to the cross, repent of their sins, claim Jesus as King but don't go any further. They fail to understand that the cross is the open door to a great adventure that lay beyond it.

Past the cross is the empty grave, the resurrection, the receiving of the Holy Spirit, the power to live an incredible life as a servant of Jesus in this place. Jesus has given us the right and privilege to serve him in his authority. That authority will be questioned at every turn, by the world and by Christians who have not gone beyond the cross. But do you know that the religious leaders at that time also questioned Jesus about his authority? Yes, days before the cross the enemy was trying to plant doubt in Jesus' mind with "Who do you think you are?"

Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)

But Jesus refused to answer them for the simple reason that he knew they would not accept his answer. He told them he would answer their question if they would tell him where John the Baptist got his authority. These "leaders" were more interested in controlling the people than they were in the facts that lay before them. You will find the same thing.

Jesus has given you the authority to operate supernaturally but there are those who do not want the Church to look weird. They are more interested in acceptability, fitting in, and the relevance of the Church to the community. They want to feed the hungry, care for the sick, run food banks and community kitchens. These are great projects but we are called to more than this. We are here to preach the good news, cast out demons, cast out illness, bring healing to mind, body and soul. We are here to fight for people on whatever level the Spirit directs us. We are instruments for the manifestation of the Spirit of God, lightening rods for God to reveal himself to man.

The greatest opposition to the authority of Jesus is not from the world but from those who only know the cross. But you can't let that worry you. You don't have time to be defending yourself to such people. Our time is running out here and there is a lot left to do. Jesus did not waste time on such people and neither should we. Leave them be in their limited thinking and understanding as they handcuff God and move on with the work you have been given to do in Jesus' authority.

Jesus gave us the cross. Amen! He gave us the empty grave. Amen! And he left so that he could send to us the Holy Spirit, to enable us to live the example he left for us. Jesus lived those three years in ministry to set an example for those who would follow. He set an example of how to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was odd and stood out from everything else around him. He stood out. Let me repeat it again:He stood out! He became a target but he pressed on. When we serve him in the power of the Spirit, in his authority, we stand out, we are odd and we may become a target. But we press on, determined to end our time here in faithful service to our King.

Do not let anyone discourage you from becoming what Jesus wants you to be.

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