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).
The Son that is given is the one that Peter identified as the Christ, Son of the living God, who, flesh and blood could not reveal—according to Jesus. Isaiah shows that the Son that is given cannot be personified, as His name reveals being none other than the Elohim of the Old Testament? See [Revealing the Christ in Jesus].
The child born to us, known as Jesus, (the Son of Man) is the one that ordinary humans easily identified with—but without knowing the Christ in Him. While conferred with authority after baptism by John, it is only after Jesus’ resurrection that the Son of Man declares:
“….All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. God therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”(Matthew 28:18-20) (ESV).
The authority here is conferred on Jesus—the Son of Man. The one projected as the Son that is given, in Isaiah 9:6, has always had the authority. Now that all authority had been conferred on Jesus, a wise person knows that safety implies appreciating the Son of Man. One cannot listen to other voices, instead of the Son of Man.
The written word about Jesus’ activities is most important to us—having had no privilege to physically be with the Son of Man in the first century. This Son of Man promised to be with the disciples, right up to the end of the age.
When confronting Paul on his way to Damascus, the Son of the living God declares: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting”(Acts 9:5). Although we are caught up in time after more than two thousand years, Jesus’ authority has not changed.
As also being the Christ, Son of the living God, Jesus, continues to operate in this world, using those, willing to be used by Him. There is one condition enabling us to access the authority of Jesus:
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”(John 8:31-32) (ESV).
Jesus, who dwelt with us in human form, as the child born to us, is our brother, who understands all our human trials and frailties. To access the authority of Jesus, one does not necessarily have to do so via somebody else.
One of Jesus’ instructions is that among His disciples there should not be anyone regarding him/herself as better as or worse than others. Jesus lived that example, during His physical life, as He had to be identified by a kiss.
Jesus had superior knowledge, as identifiable with God. But He never elevated Himself, even as He took the position of the worst criminal, Barabbas (Luke 23:17-18). Jesus, the Son of Man, represents the principle of humility. He even demonstrated the principle of servitude, by washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:12-17).
The one to whom all authority had been given, declared that His followers were supposed to adopt the principle of humility—as though washing other people’s feet. There is no need for theological studies to realize that most of today’s Christian churches are not under the authority of Jesus.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49) (ESV).
The disciples, to whom the great commission was enunciated, were not given the authority, but instructions to be followed in the name of Jesus. Their role was to pass on the information that they received from Jesus to others.
The verbal information about Jesus—passed on to ordinary people after Jesus had left—enabled some people to repent. However, those disciples are no longer there to help those of our generation. But Jesus promised to be with Christians, up to the end of the age—but not in physical form as before.
The same Christ operates in the lives of true Christians, in the same way that He operated in the Son of Man, (Jesus), for thirty-three and a half years. True Christians, also become Sons of the living God, after baptism. But flesh and blood cannot reveal their identity, except the Father in Heaven (Matthew 16:18).
I suppose the most descriptive analysis of Jesus, as the Son of Man can be the one found in the Book of Colossians: “He is the image of the invisible God the firstborn of all creation”(Collossians 1:15 (ESV)
The one who is firstborn to all creation is Jesus, the Son of Man, by virtue of Him being the child born to us (Isaiah 9:6a). This description does not refer to the Son who is given, whose attributes cannot imply being the firstborn or being the image.
Bear in mind that humans were also created in the image of the invisible God (Genesis 1:26). Through Christ, the same invisible God dwells among true Christians, though not necessarily recognized by everyone in this world.
Those Sons of the invisible God become members of God’s Household. They are no longer strangers or foreigners, in God’s family. They are fellow citizens, treating God as their Father and Jesus (Son of Man) as their brother (Ephesians 2:19-22). See [Where is the Church that Jesus founded]
What Jesus taught and practiced, as He intermingled with people in the first century, is accurately recorded for our advantage. We are not disadvantaged at all. What is necessary is to be guided by truthfulness (John 8:31-32).
Through the Holy Spirit we can still abide by Jesus’ word—treating it as if we existed in Jesus’ time. Jesus, whose authority remains until His second-coming—is Son of Man (the Child born to us).
To the disciples, the angel declared: “…..This same Jesus, shall so come, in like manner, as you have seen Him go up to haven” (Acts 1:11). Jesus will come and rule over us, as Son of Man, having received authority from John the Baptist.
This same Jesus is the Child born to us—who is different from the Son given to us, now operating among brethren, through the Spirit of Truth (John 14:15-17). This is why Paul says a Christian’s body is God’s temple. (1 Corinthians. 6:19).
The four gospel books have sufficient details, for understanding; when desiring to apply the principles of Jesus—the Child born to us. What is necessary is being poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). This is just as John declared:
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”(John 20:30-31) (ESV).
To believe in Jesus, one does not need theological studies. But taking seriously everything that Jesus, as Son of Man, taught, as recorded in Scriptures. Jesus, the Son of Man, is the only authority that stands between God and humanity. All other ground is sinking sand. See [Believing in Jesus is different from having faith in Jesus]
Many Christian leaders assume the authority of Jesus. But the Bible is clear in that Jesus never handed over His authority to anyone. His disciples were expected to project His authority to new converts. However, most Christians are not aware that another authority—representing confusion—projects itself in disguise of representing Christ:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds”(2 Corinthians 11:13-15) (ESV).
Being under deception implies deliberately ignoring the word of Jesus, to follow someone professing to be representing Christ. But a prudent person simply asks the question: How did Jesus hand over authority on that leader—if what he says does not conform to Jesus’ teachings?
Bear in mind that true Christians are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All this represents processes necessary to access God’s authority. In other words, a Christian cannot access God’s authority, without following Jesus (the child born to us).
As Son of Man, Jesus guides the convert towards access to the Holy Spirit that links us to the Father. The purpose of Jesus, the Son of Man, is to project an ideal Man, whose source is from God. Father means source, from where we all originated (Genesis 1:26).
The choice is with the individual, whether to take Jesus as the Supreme authority, or to go with the majority, according to the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things (Mark 4:19).
Authority requires obedience. One cannot be under authority, unless sustained by obedience, within the culture of that authority. This is why Jesus revealed that a person has to renounce everything to follow Him. (Luke 14:25-33).
The bad feelings, by those, supposedly, deceived by the former vice President, Joyce Mujuru, is insignificant. This is when compared with the outer darkness that will be experienced by those rejected at marriage supper (Matthew 22:13-14).
Jesus, whose activities are captured in the behavior of the child born to us (Jesus), represents the ultimate authority? You may also find the material on the following links worth reading, to fully grasp my perspective See [The enemies of change are the proud people]
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99