John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
Authority is intrinsic to no one but God. God has assigned authority in various ways, but in every case, we are accountable to Him for how we exercise that authority. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, the statement that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is certainly true. It never struck me before this morning that what was true for Jesus is true for everyone who is in Christ. We get tied in knots about those who are in authority over us, forgetting that we can go over their heads to the ultimate authority! That’s not to say that God wants to get us out of every difficulty, because even Jesus endured scourging and crucifixion, but it is to say that we aren’t to focus on the temporal authority, but on God. Paul is clear that temporal authorities are to be obeyed in principle (Romans 13:1-7), but it is also clear from Acts 4:19 and 5:29 that obedience to God trumps obedience to human authorities. However, in such cases we must be prepared to deal with the consequences, as were the apostles in Acts. We come back to the first statement that authority is intrinsic to no one but God. We need to submit faithfully and gladly to Him and so allow His authority to be exercised through us, for His purposes and His glory.
I have long had a struggle with the authority God has placed in me, and this is another step in understanding that. I am not to draw back from exercising authority, but I must recognize that I am but one link in a chain of authority that God intends for our blessing. I am to recognize that He is the source of all true authority, and so see through the false authorities exercised by demons, that are rooted in sin and rebellion against God. I am to use God’s authority to rescue people from such false authority, opening people’s eyes to God’s truth that will set them free.
Father, You enable impressive words to flow from my fingers, but the test is in how I follow through. As You know better than I do, I have no strength or wisdom in myself to get this right. Help me depend on You actively at every turn, every step, so that Your power, authority, and love may be exercised through me indeed, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!