Authority, an interesting word, often misused and misunderstood. The internet definitions include: 1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues; the right to control, command, or determine. 2. a power or right delegated or given; authorization. 3. a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency. 4. Usu., authorities. persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law; government. 5. an accepted source of information, advice, or substantiation. 6. a quotation or citation from such a source. 7. an expert on a subject. 8. persuasive force; conviction. 9. a statute, court rule, or judicial decision that establishes a rule or principle of law; ruling. 10. the right to respect or acceptance of one’s word, command, thought, etc.; commanding influence.
The basic understanding is either of power or conviction, so when the gospels relate that many felt that Jesus spoke as one with ‘authority’, we can interpret that as being one who either had power or spoke from experience. Though in Luke 4:5-6 Satan (in some translations) in using the word ‘authority’ was speaking about domains, realms or spheres of power, and was truthfully speaking of his right to that ‘authority’. So how did Satan get that authority, and how come Jesus then exercises authority?
Genesis 1:26-28 tells the story of God forming His image as Adam, giving him the power over that which the Father had created, but that dominion was related to Adam ‘subduing’ his earth, or his sphere of influence if you will. Adam was commissioned to name the animals, that is, to exercise his authority over creation. He exercised his author-ship over them. We then see in Genesis chapter 3 the following story, using my interpretation.
In the centre of the garden is the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. In our daily lives we exercise the knowledge of what is good or bad to make decisions or judgments. This could then let us interpret the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ as the ‘tree of judgment’. The question then is, “Why do we find a place of judgment in the middle of Eden?” What we also find in the centre of Eden, at the ‘tree of judgment’, is Satan. Why? Satan, or Lucifer if you will, led a rebellion in heaven against God that included 1/3rd of the angels. Satan was cast out of heaven and down to Earth. As God’s image on Earth, Adam was tasked with the judgment of Satan! But Satan, being in the form of the most cunning of creatures (salesman, lawyer?😊), changed the charge against him to a charge against God.
Adam saw that the fruit was good, and ate of it. In other words, he swallowed the lie of Satan that humanity was not the perfect image of God, and believed the false accusation of Satan against God. Adam chose Satan as the authority rather than himself. The fruit of judgment is the consequences of your decision: in this case it was death. Thus, through the bad judgment Adam made, death entered the world, and in doing so, Satan usurped Adam’s authority and dominion. This is why when Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he was able to state his rightful power over the kingdoms of the earth.
It is interesting to note that the first temptation of Jesus in the wilderness by Satan was about food, for this is the temptation at which Adam fell. Jesus went on to counter Satan’s attempts by using God’s authority in the form of “it is written”. For the next 3½ years Jesus continued to counter the attacks of Satan and man. During this time, Jesus used His divine authority and power, and his divine experiences to prove his claims until He went to the cross. Here we again find a ‘tree of judgment’. As humanity, Jesus dies as the ‘fruit’ of judgment Adam made. Three days later, Jesus is raised, having subdued his ‘earth’, even unto death (Rev 12:11). The declaration God made back in Genesis 1:26-28 is now fulfilled – in Jesus, humanity has subdued its earth and has received dominion (John 16:33b, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”). Satan has finally been judged as guilty and his usurped power stripped from him and restored to humanity. Thus in Matthew 28:18 Jesus can claim that all authority has been given to Him and through Him to us.
“In Jesus name” is not a magical formula for us to tack onto the end of our prayer requests, but rather a reminder that He gave us the power and authority to act as true co-rulers of The Kingdom! To exercise that authority, we do not need to beg or grovel for approval, but knowing ‘our earth’, or sphere of authority, we need to merely declare our decree. Our ‘earth’ can include another person when they give us their authority, as in “may I pray for you?”. If we need to make requests beyond our own sphere of authority, then we need to make our supplications to the Father, the higher authority.