18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Matthew 28:18History and Context:
For History and context on the book of Matthew you can refer to my post on September 27th; Seek First.
This verse comes directly before Jesus gives His disciples the Great Commission which we discussed here. Before Jesus sent His disciples out with a commission to make disciples, He made a declaration of the authority that was given to Him. This declaration is important because He was declaring not only His authority but the authority in which He was sending the disciples. He sent His disciples out in this same authority to spread the Gospel.
The church of today seems to be losing this authority that once was so evident. In the book of Acts it was always “what I do have I give you” (Acts 3:6) but in today’s society it often seems to be ‘what I’ve learned I’ll teach you’. We have preachers without conviction and teachers without love, then these leaders produce disciples that are the same. There were times where the church grew with little or no effort from the people, but now we have people working twice as hard and a decreasing church as a reward. What’s the difference between today’s church and the book of Acts? What do we need to change to get back to the place we should be? Where is this place that we should be? If you’ve asked yourself these questions then keep reading, but be sure that your ready to make a change. In James 4:8 God promises that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us, that means He looks to us to make the first step. That step is rarely easy to make but in the end it’s more rewarding than we could ever imagine! In this case the step is a decision. We need to decide what our goal is, and how much we are willing to pay to fulfill this goal. Every Christian, at some point in life, is presented with a decision between a radical life with God, filled with sacrifice and reward, or a comfortable life with a simple goal of making it to heaven. If our goal is simply to get out of hell and get into heaven then we will never live in the authority of the early church, but if we decide to sacrifice our own desires and our own comforts then “with God all things are possible”! The Bible makes it clear that we are “saved by grace through faith” and “not by works lest any man should boast” but there should be something else that drives us to do what we do. We need more Christians in today’s church that like Jeremiah have God’s Word “in [their] heart like a burning fire shut up in [their] bones”! (Jeremiah 20:9)
Lord, help me to understand and walk in the authority that you have given me. Help me to live in the power of the Holy Spirit that enables me to be your witness. I love you Lord and I want to live for you completely! In Jesus' name, Amen!