In year 2014 President Mugabe expelled his vice President, Joyce MuJuru, on reason of side-stepping the President’s authority. Several other members of that political party—presumed as aligned with the expelled vice President, were also sacked from the party. This typifies what will happen when Jesus comes.
Though previously identified as members of the same party, the expelled ZANU PF members were found not linking with the one in authority—the President. This calls for prudence in our Christian standing—otherwise we may be viewed as out of touch with the one in authority (Matthew 22:1-14).
In this universe, there are only two authorities. One is lawful and the other is unlawful. These are represented in order and confusion, respectively. The authority representing order comes from God—who created all things. And the authority of confusion is attributed to Satan—the architect of disorder and distortions. See [When did creation take place?].
As custodians of God’s laws, the Jews recognized the importance of authority. They were aware of Satan’s schemes in causing confusion—as characterized in demonic forces. At one point, the Chief priests and the scribes sought to challenge Jesus’ authority:
“…By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things” (Mark 11:28-33) (ESV).
However, their question did not have any merit. Those Scribes had failed to appreciate the authority of their own religion, in the first place. They thought they were good at interpreting laws, but unable to apply those laws.
They appreciated the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, having been the son of one of their priests, Zachariah. There had not been any question on John having been a prophet—who represented God’s authority.
Jesus simply asked them of their opinion concerning John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17). Though being the Son of God, Jesus had to be baptized by John. It was Jesus’ human capacity that necessitated the acquisition of authority from John the Baptist:
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11) (ESV).
Jesus is among those born of women. As the only prophet at that time, John the Baptist had authority—according to the pattern of the Old Covenant. It was John the Baptist who introduced Jesus—as authority of the New Covenant according to standing traditions (John 1:29).
John the Baptist preached repentance, in preparation for the restoration of God’s Kingdom. The prophet Malachi had actually prophesied the eventual emergence of John the Baptist who came in the spirit of Elijah. In Matthew 11:10 Jesus indicated that John the Baptist was the one written about in the Book of Malachi:
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me……. (Malachi 3:1) (ESV).
God’s authority in dealing with God’s people had previously been kindled from one prophet to the other. John was the last prophet in that order. As far as the law and the prophets are concerned, their effects in projecting God’s authority among God’s people ended with John the Baptist:
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it” (Luke 16:16) (ESV).
The ‘forcing’ aspect that Jesus infers, here, is due to inability to appreciate the significance of authority. This is why Jesus says He is the way, the truth and the life. People want to access God’s Kingdom without following proper channels!
Those who asked Jesus the question of authority, ought to have been familiar with Scriptures. While God’s authority had been vested on John, the one greater than John had taken over:
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:13-15) (ESV).
Clearly, the only reason for Jesus to come to be baptized by John, was submission to authority. John attempted refusing to baptize Jesus; rightly so, as he knew the background of Jesus. But Jesus corrected him, as aware that the authority had been vested in John. Jesus had power, but He did not have authority.
This is like a National pastor coming as a visitor to a local church. The senior pastor does not just impose himself, directing people on what to do in that congregation. He sits as an ordinary member, first, until introduced by a local pastor, who, at that point, would be in charge of that congregation.
The baptism of Jesus was confirmed by something spectacular—in that the voice from heaven came, like a dove, resting on Jesus, stating: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) (ESV).
At the transfiguration, the same voice came from Heaven: “…….This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5)
The second incident is punctuated with the phrase, “listen to him.” At that point the three disciples, had observed Jesus, flanked by Moses and Elijah. These two represented the Law and the Prophets, respectively. But the one who was to be listened to was God’s beloved Son, Jesus.
The significance of this is that among the three, Jesus was one to be listened to. In short, these verses show that God’s authority, in dealing with humanity, had been transferred, from all the prophets, onto Jesus. From then on, no other human authority, would be necessary.
However, ordinary human beings, could not figure out who Jesus was, as that is still the case, even today. They acknowledged the marvelous works performed by Jesus, but they could not appreciate who Jesus, really, was:
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in haven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20) (ESV)
The three points of significance to be noted are: 1) Who do people say the son of man is? 2) Flesh and blood cannot reveal the Son of the living God. 3) Jesus strictly charged the disciples not to tell anyone.
On point number 1, everyone saw an ordinary human being in Jesus—signifying a reality that Jesus was born of a woman. Even Jesus acknowledged Himself as being the Son of Man, which is different from Peter’s revelation.
Point number 2, shows that the Son of the living God cannot be observed or understood by ordinary people, without God’s revelation.
Point number 3, discloses that it would have been inappropriate to reveal Jesus’ status of being the Christ, before the accomplishment of His mission.
While Jesus said flesh and blood cannot reveal the Christ, I suppose the confusion arises from the inability to comprehend what is written in the book of Isaiah:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) (ESV)
The child that is born to us is as human as we are, and is the cause of those unable to see what was revealed to Simon Peter. In Isaiah 9:6 it appears as if we have two personalities, one represented by the child that is born to us (Son of Man). And the other represented in the son that is given (Christ).