Centered Part Two: Follow With Authority
I am a follower
Do you remember trying to get your way only to be blown off, dusted, or worse yet, ignored? Come on, you remember. I do; employees who won’t listen, colleagues telling me what to do with my advice and even my children ignoring me. Somebody gave you a position and a title and that was supposed to give you authority. Guess again
Jesus had Authority. “The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22). Without question He was authoritative yet, just as clearly, He was not an authoritarian— a distinction that was not lost on Him or His disciples (Mark 10:42). This distinction was not just a matter of semantics. The chasm that exists between being authoritative and an authoritarian is immense: authoritative people earn the right to exercise influence while authoritarians demand it.
Jesus authority came out of being the consummate follower. Christ made no secret of the fact that He operated under the authority of His leader, God the Father. He understood and respected the influence of the Father in His own life.
Luke chapter seven reports the story of the centurion whose servant was sick. This Roman sent a sympathetic Jewish friend with the request for Jesus to heal his highly valued helper, because he did not feel worthy of being in the Messiah’s presence. Before Jesus had the opportunity to meet him, the centurion sent another note:
“…Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it” (Luke 7:6-8).
These two men understood each other. They both understood what it was to follow and live under the authority of another. The centurion recognized the source of Jesus’ miraculous power as coming from His master, God the Father. The centurion’s faith was placed in the power of the God of the Jews, Jehovah. Jesus was functioning under the authority of this God; therefore; there could be no question that He had the right to exercise the authority granted Him by His head, God.
The people of Jesus’ day recognized the lack of authority of the teachers of the law (Mark 1:22). What they did not necessarily understand is that, unlike Jesus, the teachers of the law were attempting to obey the letter of the law while not honoring the law giver, God. This was in contrast to Jesus, who honored God the Father and obeyed the spirit of His law.
Those who do not submit to leadership lose the right to operate under the authority of leadership.
Questions for Reflection:
Share a time you or someone you know lost the right to lead, or should have.