Unique Qualities of Christ: His Authority

Only One Ever

The things which qualified Jesus to be the promised Messiah are those qualities that no other man could possibly have. We will continue our look at these unique qualities by examining Jesus’ authority.

A New Kind of Teaching

On the surface Jesus’ teaching seems to be like others who were sent to instruct God’s people, such as the prophets and other inspired men. However, when looking more closely at the teaching of Jesus there is an important difference. Jesus spoke as “one having authority” (Mat. 7:29, NASU) which differed from the other teachers of His day.

This idea of authority is key to understanding Who Jesus was while He walked this earth. While He never spoke of His own authority, but only that which the Father gave Him to speak (John 8:28), that authority was greater than anything the Jews had previously seen. The closest authority within their experience was that of Moses whose role was as law-giver. Moses himself foretold of Jesus when he spoke of a prophet like himself who would one day come (Deu. 18:15).

Preparation for Something Better

The importance of this new authority can be seen in what Jesus was teaching the people. In the Sermon on the Mount, for example, Jesus makes references to statements from the Law of Moses and then takes those statements further. An example would be the command not to murder (Mat. 5:21; cf. Exo. 20:13). Jesus takes this command further by teaching about our motivations, not merely our actions. This new teaching was very concerned with the condition of the heart as much as the condition of our deeds.

The reason for such teaching is simple. Jesus was preparing the people of Israel for the church that was to come, and for the New Covenant that would go with it. When Jesus sat down to teach, He was not just imparting some generic wisdom or a guide for living. When Jesus sat down to teach He was giving a glimpse into an entirely new spiritual perspective. If one fails to see the purpose behind such authority, they will not see the power behind the authority either.

Understanding the Message

Understanding Jesus’ unique authority as a teacher is key to understanding the new message of good news, hope, and eternal life He brought into the world. Only One who spoke with true authority could have the very Words of life (John 6:68).

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