Authority is simply the fruit of a person’s life.

by Derrel Emmerson

“They arrived again in Jerusalem and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you authority to do this?’ Jesus replied, ‘I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism – was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!” Mark 11:27-30

The synagogue and temple leaders came to Jesus to challenge his authority. They admitted that he demonstrated the fruit of godliness by the miracles he had performed. Yet, they still questioned him. So, Jesus posed a question to them. He asked them by what authority John the baptism baptized.

To the modern reader this dialogue seems to lack something. Why would Jesus ask them about John’s baptism? The answer is in the verses following our quote. They were afraid of the people because their authority depended upon the opinions of the people and not upon their appointment by God. If leaders had said John’s baptism was of heaven then they knew Jesus would ask them why they had not believed in him. If they had said John’s baptism was from men they would go against the mainstream of thought regarding John. These leaders lacked authority themselves. Their only grips on the truth were based on informal polls of what was popular.

There is an authority that is above what men say. There is an authority that is above offices men hold. That authority is simply the fruit of a person’s life. God’s anointed servants bless and bring the healing touch. The test of John’s authority was his character. The test of Jesus’ authority was the same and the fruit of his ministry. Our authority comes in speaking is what God says as true, our characters and living so that we make a difference for the good. These things demonstrate we have authority from God.

It is one thing to be considered an expert because you have written a book or have a title. It is another to be an authority because you have the life to prove it.

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