Jesus: The Highest Authority in Heaven and Earth

Jesus said "All authority has been given to be in heaven and earth". What could this mean? We have here some of the Bible verses which give some insight into the amazing claim. It concerns His Kingship over all creation, given to Him by God the Father. His authority over heaven and earth is His right as creator and redeemer. We are all answerable to Jesus and ultimately will encounter Him as Judge when He will exercise His authority according to the promises and warnings He gave us when He was on earth.

During Jesus' ministry his speech and teaching displayed an authority which is evident by the reactions of His listeners and the accounts of His witnesses. He spoke and taught with authority. Truth which could not be challenged and flowed out of God-inspired writings of the Old Testament. But not only was his authority evident in his teaching, it was also apparent in his complete command over disease, deformity, demon possession and even death. He spoke on God's authority and claimed he was able to forgive sin on God's behalf. Jesus spoke much about the Kingdom of God, a realm under His Kingship of perfect righteousness, love and justice holiness. As sinful human beings we have no citizenship of that Kingdom but we are still subject to His authority. Jesus came so that those who repent and believe in Him would have a place in His Kingdom with Him as our beloved King.

The Authority of Jesus and His Kingdom

Jesus claimed authority to forgive or pass judgement on sins - which only God can do, since God is the one that sin offends. He claimed his authority was given to him by his Father and extends to heaven and earth - the entire universe with its physical and spiritual realms. Whether we recognise Jesus as who he claimed to be or not, the Bible tells us that Jesus is in authority over us.

Jesus taught that he was establishing his Kingdom. His call from the start of his ministry was to "repent for the Kingdom of Heaven (or God) is at hand." His Kingdom is open to all who believe in him and through repentance and faith, turn to him as their "King." The sign above Jesus on the cross was "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS." That was the charge brought against him. In reality he is King of his Heavenly Kingdom and Jews and Gentiles may enter in or remain outside. If we enter in, Jesus becomes our King; if we remain outside, we do not escape his authority but face him as our judge.

The following verses help to understand what the Bible is saying about the authority of Jesus and his Kingdom.

1. His Authority perceived by his listeners:

He was teaching them on the Sabbath day, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority.
Luke 4:31,32

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.
Matthew 7:28,29

But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Matthew 9:8

'Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I am not worthy for you to come under my roof.'
Luke 7:6

2. His Authority was beyond the understanding of the Chief Priests:

The chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, 'By what authority do you do these things? Who gave you this authority?'
Matthew 21:23

3. His Authority was over Disease:

A leper came to him, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, 'If you want to, you can make me clean.' Being moved with compassion, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, 'I want to. Be made clean.'
Mark 1:40,41

4. His Authority was over Disability:

When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man's eyes with the mud, and said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' So he went away, washed, and came back.
John 9:6,7

5. His Authority was over Demons:

Amazement came on all, and they spoke together, one with another, saying, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'
Luke 4:36

They were all amazed, so that they questioned amongst themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!'
Mark 1:27

6. His Authority was over Death:

When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.
John 11:43,44

7. His Authority was Given by the Father:

Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you; even as you gave him authority over all flesh, so he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
John 17:2

8. He was able to delegate His Authority over sickness to the Disciples:

He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness.
Matthew 10:1

9. His Authority Extends to Forgiveness and Judgement:

Seeing their faith, he said to him, 'Man, your sins are forgiven you.'
Luke 5:20

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.
Matthew 9:6

He (God the Father) also gave him (Jesus) authority to execute judgement, because he is a son of man.
John 5:27

He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory.
Matthew 12:20

10. His Authority Is Universal:

Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.'
Matthew 28:18

11. His Kingdom is of God:

Jesus answered, 'My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn't be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.'
John 18:36

12. His Kingdom will be universally recognised:

He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:16

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9,10