top of page

Authority: The Exercise of Power

Text: Matthew 5:17-20


Power is an individual’s ability to control others, while

authority is the exercise of that power that is based

on the presumed legitimacy from those who consent

Jesus taught with authority

His teaching was often perceived as a threat to “ those in positions of power:

Secular Authorities – Sanhedrin and Rome

Religious Authorities – Pharisees and Scribes

Footnotes: Matt. 7:28-29 “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” Mark 1:27 “They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him”

Luke 4:32 “and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.”

Jesus taught the primacy of allegiance to God

Regarding the secular authority -

He preached submission and respect

Regarding the religious authority -

He preached holiness that exceeded the behavior of the Religious Authorities


Matt. 22:19-21 “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.”

And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them,

“Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him,

“Caesar’s.” Then He “said to them, “Then render to Caesar

the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Romans 13:1-2 “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the

ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive

condemnation upon themselves.”

Jesus taught obedience to God’s commands

The commands of God are immutable

The commands of God are not to be debated, amended or ignored. They are to be obeyed.

The Ten Commandments

The Greatest Commandments



Matt. 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth

Pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from

the Law until all is accomplished.”

Ex 20: 3-17 (the Ten Commandments summarized)

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not

make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in

heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water

under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them;

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Honor your

father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall

not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not

bear false witness. You shall not covet."

Matt 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law

or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,

not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law

until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the

least of these commandments, and teaches others to do

the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;

but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called

great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus taught the proper Measure of Obedience

Your righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees and scribes

We are to be holy as He is holy

We are to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect



Matt. 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness

surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not

enter the kingdom of heaven.”

1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed

to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but

like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in

all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy,

for I am holy.”

Matt. 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly

Father is perfect.

God’s Benevolent Authority

God’s character demands perfect obedience and righteousness.

God knows that we are incapable of meeting this


God’s justice was satisfied in the death of Jesus.

God’s mercy is offered by the forgiveness of sin.

God’s grace is given to us in salvation through

the work of Jesus.

God’s Spirit indwells us and empowers us to

meet God’s standards


Single post: Blog_Single_Post_Widget
bottom of page