Jesus' Approach to Authority

by Terry W. Benton

Here was Jesus' approach to authority:

  1. The Son can do nothing of Himself (positive authority must allow the action).
  2. But what He sees the Father do (Divine precedent or example). The Father shows Him all things that He Himself does (John 5:19-20).

Thus, Jesus placed a lot of emphasis upon example and the authority of example. Jesus extended that mentality to His disciples. They, too, were to learn from the example of the Master (John 13:15). So, in commanding them to follow His example, there is authority in commands and examples.

If we want to do the will of God, we learn from God's statements, commands, and examples. We can do nothing of ourselves, if we would follow Jesus' example. What does that mean? It means that we do not assume we have authority unless God forbids something, but that we don't have authority unless God permits something. If we see a command or example allowing it, then we are free to act by that authority. "Do all in the name of the Lord" in whatever you do (Colossians 3:17). That means that we are like Jesus in remembering we can do nothing of ourselves. We don't have inherent authority within us. We get our authority from God's commands, examples, and all that these necessarily imply. That was Jesus' approach to authority, and we are to follow His example.