Matthew 7:28-29 NIV
“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
Matthew wrote these words as he remembered the Sermon on the Mount, taught by Jesus to a crowd of people on a mountainside near the Sea of Galilee. Notice that Matthew did not say the people were amazed at the humor of Jesus, the exegesis of Scripture or how Jesus was dressed. They were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority.
No one has ever confused my teaching skills to those of Jesus, but I am wondering if the same authority Jesus taught with is available, in some measure, to the rest of us. It is clear in Scripture that all of us who follow Jesus have been given spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12) and there are times when each of us is given power from the Holy Spirit to use these gifts (Acts 1:8). But how do we get this authority that Jesus obviously had?
Recently, I watched a young lady minister whom I have known for several years. She has always had recognizable spiritual gifts, and she has, for years, ministered with the power of the Holy Spirit. When I saw her this time, though, she had authority. Her words had weight. She spoke and the words seemed to carry more punch and connected not only to the minds of those who were listening, but to their hearts.
I believe this authority is given to those whose hearts have been radically changed. We cannot give away what we do not have and we have only as much authority as we are under. When we really surrender our hearts to God, and submit to His authority in heaven and on earth, we are given authority. I believe a lot of people want this authority, but few are willing to pay the price.
I have a position and title as Senior Pastor of New Life Church. I have spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit has given me the power to use them, but I am asking God for a changed and submitted heart so my words have more authority. Not to impress people or build a spiritual reputation, but so I can be more effective in the assignment He has given me. I suspect this journey will be painful at times, but I believe it is worth the risk. I sense as I write this that many of you who read this are about to take the same journey. Let it begin today.