Every king has authority. King Jesus has authority in His teaching, authority over nature, authority over sickness and disease, authority over death and authority over demons and the kingdom of Satan.
I. Jesus’ Authority in Teaching
After finishing the greatest sermon in history, the Sermon on the Mount, “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority.” (Matt 7:28-29, cf Mk 1:22, Luke 4:32) Throughout the sermon, He said, “You have heard that it was said…but I say to you…” When Jesus spoke, there were no ifs, ands or buts about it- what He said was absolute, and He never back tracked on what He said, never apologized for it, but spoke it full force. He declared, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6) and boldly asserted, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” (John 7:16-17) Jesus thus declared His teaching was straight from God, and challenged everyone- follow My teaching, and you will be following God; reject my teaching and you’re rejecting God.
II. Jesus’ Authority Over Nature
Consider the following amazing feats Jesus did showing His authority over nature:
1. Jesus turned water into wine (Jn 2:1-12)
2. Jesus fed 5000 and later 4000 (Jn 6:1-14, Matt 14:23-31, 15:32-39, Mk 8:1-9, Lu 9:10-17)
3. Jesus walked on water (Mt 14:22-33, Mk 6:45-52, Jn 6:15-21)
4. Jesus commanded fish, and they obeyed (Matt 17:24-27, Luke 5:1-11, Jn 21:6)
5. Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it withered (Mt 21:10-12, Mk 11:12-26, Lu 13:6-9, 19:45-48)
6. Jesus rebuked a storm that threatened to capsize the boat in the Sea of Galilee, and it stopped. “The disciples in amazement said, ‘Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him.” (Lu 8:24-25, Mk 4:35-41, Mt 8:23-27)
III. Jesus’ Authority Over Disease and Sickness
1. Jesus healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Matt 8:14-17, Mk 1:29-34, Lu 4:38-41)
2. Jesus healed a man with a withered hand (Matt 12:9-14, Mk 3:1-6, Lu 6:6-11)
3. Jesus healed the paralytics (Jn 5:1-15, Mk 2:3-12, 4:24, Matt 9:1-8)
4. Jesus healed epileptics (Matt 4:24)
5. Jesus healed the blind (Matt 9:27-31, 16:5-12, Mk 8:24-26, 10:46-52, Lu 18:35-43, Jn 9:1-41)
6. Jesus healed the mute and deaf (Mt 9:32-33, Mk 3:11)
7. Jesus healed a women bent over 18 years (Lu 13:10-17)
8. Jesus healed lepers (Matt 8:1-04, Mk 1:40-45, Lu 5:12-15, 17:12-19)
9. Jesus healed the multitudes (Matt 12:15-21, 14:34-36, 15:29-31, Mk 3:7-12, 6:53-55, 7:31-37, Lu 6:17-19)
One of the main points of recording all of all of Jesus’ healings was His authority. When four friends brought a paralytic to Jesus, “Jesus saw their faith…and said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” (Mark 2:5) Now the scribes were reasoning in their hearts that Jesus was speaking blasphemies, for “who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mk 2:7) Jesus said to them “…That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’- He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house’” (Mk 2:10-11, Lu 5:21-26) and the paralytic was healed.
Likewise, a centurion had a servant who was dear to him and was on his deathbed. “He sent elders of the Jews to Him pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.” (Luke 7:3) While Jesus was on his way there, “The centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should come under my roof…But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes…When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd…’I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Luke 7:7-10) And the centurion’s servant was made well. The call to all of us reading these healing accounts is to recognize Jesus’ authority and place our faith in Him, the only appropriate response.
IV. Jesus’ Authority Over the Kingdom of Darkness
Matthew summarized Jesus’ daily ministry as follows, “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people…they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon possessed, epileptics and paralytics; and He healed them.” (Matt 4:23-24, cf 14:36, 15:29-31, Mk 3:7-11, 6:53-56, 7:31-37, Lu 6:17-19). Thus demon possession is spoken of in the same list as other physical sicknesses and infirmities. We are reminded that at the fall the curse of sin entered the world and man gave up his God-given authority. God commanded Adam to “fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion [authority] over the fish of the sea, over the bids of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” (Gen 1:28) but Adam exchanged the truth of God for the lie (Rom 1:25, 5:12-14). Satan said, “You will not surely die.” (Gen 3:4) for this act of rebellion, rather, “In the day that you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” (Gen 3:5) Man sold the title deed of authority over to Satan and darkness and death filled the world. Satan and his demons ruled the hearts of the ungodly, and some were even possessed by demons. Then when the King of kings came into the world, “the people who have walked in the darkness have seen a great light.” (Isa 9:2)
Here are some of the examples of authority Jesus displayed over the kingdom of darkness:
1. Jesus cast out seven demons from Mary Magdalene and she became a faithful disciple (Luke 8:2)
2. Jesus cast out a legion of demons from two men. One was described in detail as naked, cutting himself, screaming out and not able to be bound by the townspeople- he lived among the tombs. Upon casting out the demons, the man was clothed and in his right mind, and Jesus commissioned him to “Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you” and he did just that! (Mk 5:19)
3. Jesus cast a demon out of a person in a synagogue and “they were all amazed…’What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” (Lu 4:31-40)
4. Jesus cast out a demon from a Gentile (non-Jewish) woman’s son, giving a wonderful hint of the expansion of the kingdom of God through every tribe, tongue and people. Jesus praised her for her persistent faith in Him as Lord. She would not be refused as a Gentile, but zealously sought help from the only One who could set her son free (Matt 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30).
5. When the disciples of Jesus could not cast out a demon that possessed a man’s son who had epilepsy, Jesus rebuked them saying, “If you have faith as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:14-21, Mk 9:17-29, Lu 9:37-43). And he cast the demon out.
6. When John the Baptist was in prison and struggling with doubts about Jesus his relative, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Lu 7:20, Matt 11:3) Jesus pointed John to His works, “that very hour He cured many infirmities, afflictions and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.” (Lu 7:21-23, Mt 12:24, 9:32-33, Lu 11:15-23)
7. Upon casting out a demon from a mute man, some religious leaders accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. This gave Jesus opportunity to speak of the two kingdoms. This is the key to understanding all of Jesus’ miracles over nature, sicknesses, infirmities and demons, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation…if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? …But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overtakes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his plunder. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with me scatters…” (Luke 11:14-23)
There are two kingdoms- the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God:
Jesus challenged those around Him: how could He be of Satan’s kingdom when all the work He was doing healing, casting out demons and setting people free was destroying Satan’s work? Jesus is the King of the kingdom of God, the stronger man who has the authority as King to bind Satan the strong man and set the captives free. There is no middle ground- have faith in Jesus and find refuge in His kingdom, or you are of Satan’s kingdom. Immediately after saying these things, Jesus spoke to those gathered contrasting the results of His ministry with the ministry of the scribes and Pharisees and all other religions that all belong to the kingdom of darkness and do not have power to bind the strong man, the devil, and set captives free: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of the man is worse than the first.” (Lu 11:24-26). Religion and philosophies without the new birth, without the stronger man King Jesus coming in and establishing our hearts as His throne, the kingdom of God in us, attempt to morally sweep the house clean, but ultimately leave a person in worse shape and in greater bondage to the devil. Man needs the new birth, the King of kings reigning in our hearts, to deliver us once for all from the captivity of the strong man, the prince of the power of the air who holds the whole world captive in his grip. Jesus bound the strong man through His death on the cross for our sin, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2:15)
V. Jesus’ Authority Over Death
Death is the ultimate enemy to be vanquished. “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins… we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead!” (1 Cor 15:17-20). The scriptures record Jesus raising four people from the dead:
1. The widow’s only son was raised right in his coffin, providing hope to a desperate, hopeless woman. (Mark 7:11-16)
2. Jairus’ twelve year old daughter was raised (Matt 9:18-26, Mk 5:21-43, Lu 8:40-56)
3. Lazarus was raised after being in the tomb five days. Jesus said beforehand to Lazarus’ sister, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40)
4. Finally, Jesus raised Himself from the dead!
“Through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:14-15) “Death is swallowed up in victory…the sting of death is sin…but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:54-57). “He was raised for our justification.” (Rom 4:25) God raised Jesus “From the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one that is to come. And He put all things under His feet” (Eph 1:20-22, cf. Col 2:9-10, 1:15-18, 1 Pet 3:22, 4:11, Jude 25, Rev 12:10, 19:15)
Implications of Jesus Christ’s Authority over nature, sickness, disease, demons and death:
1. There’s no trial, temptation, sickness or torment from Satan’s kingdom that Jesus Christ does not have authority over! We take refuge in our Savior and we are safe. Satan and his kingdom, so fierce in this physical world, have no authority over us except that which God permits- and what God permits is for our ultimate benefit. In light of these things, we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come….shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:37-39). Let our lips overflow in ceaseless praise and thanks to our Savior! Let us trust Him fully as children trusting their loving Father, relying not on our own understanding.
2. What a dreadful thing it is for someone who has not yet taken refuge in the Savior! Knowing our own deliverance, with passion we go to a world enslaved to the devil and his kingdom, tottering on imminent judgment, and we invite and persuade lost souls to flee the world and take refuge in the Savior.