Teaching with Authority

In John 7, John the Apostle writes about how Jesus secretly went up to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Booths (a very happy feast in Jewish tradition, which is actually still practiced today). The Jews looked for Him but did not find Him, because He traveled there privately. In the middle of the feast, John records, Jesus walked up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews were amazed at how He taught, and asked each other how Jesus learned what He spoke of, if He was never taught. Jesus answered them:

“My teaching is not Mine, but his who sent Me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on My own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood” (John 7:16-18 ESV).

While this is undoubtedly telling about the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, it is also encouraging to us as believers. Jesus had the Holy Spirit – the same One we have – and spoke confidently and authoritatively. Some of His teachings were new to the ears of the Jews, but biblical scholars since the time of Jesus have keenly noticed that many of the truths Jesus spoke were not actually new; they could be found all throughout the Old Testament. For example, the Sabbath being made for man, and not man for the Sabbath – Exodus 23:12 talks about how the Sabbath should be observed so that all may refresh themselves.

Since we as believers also have this same Holy Spirit who lives in us, just as He dwelled within Jesus during His time on Earth, we too have the ability to preach truths we may not have even learned. This is called illumination, where an idea is clarified for a Christian as they speak or live in step with the Spirit.

The test for these ideas is always twofold: firstly, it must be realized and told from the position of the Christian seeking the glory of God and not himself; and secondly, it must coincide with the rest of Scripture. 

What I am not saying is that Christians have the same teaching authority as the Son of God Himself, but I am saying that Christians have access to the same source of authority. The Holy Spirit as an intercessor who dwells within us and who enlightens us to ideas or situations or spiritual concepts is amazing, and should not be viewed lightly.

I myself have been in multiple situations where I have been speaking with someone with the earnest desire for them to know God as He is, and words and ideas leave my mouth that teach even myself about who God is. In those situations, both parties go away encouraged – the hearer for hearing the truth, and the speaker for being used to speak the truth.

Therefore, seek to do God’s will. Endeavor to bring glory to God. Listen to the Holy Spirit to test others who speak. And know that the power of God lives in you, and God wants to use you to accomplish His glorious plan.



4 Replies to “Teaching with Authority”

  1. Chris,

    Thank you for this post and the thought that you put into it!
    It definitely encouraged me and helped me put in perspective the lives that we live in Christ. So often we leave the power and authority that we can have through Christ unused or simply unnoticed. The thought that we have the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct our every step is a beautiful thought, and one that allows confidence to come when we do speak to others. I appreciated the personal story that you included at the end as well. It encouraged me and gave me confidence to continue to minister to others understanding that I do so in the power of Christ. Thanks again for this great post!


  2. Awesome blog Chris. If I learned one thing from your blog, it is to take advantage of the spirit. Usually, taking advantage of something has a negative connotation to it. However, I think there are many people out there that have, or claim to have the Holy Spirit inside of them, that have never taken advantage of that power that comes with that. Although we don’t have the same authority as Jesus, like you said, we do have the same source of authority. We need to always remember that as we go through our lives. We are powerless, but we are empowered through Christ who lives in us.

  3. Chris,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your post. You did a good job of applying the subject matter to the everyday lives of followers of Christ. You were concise and clear in the point that you were making, and I feel like what you are talking about is something that often times gets over looked. The role of the Spirit in the lives of believers should not be taken lightly, and you did a good job of explaining one specific aspect of that part of the Christian life. Your last paragraph I found particularly challenging and inspiring. It is a simple call, but nevertheless one that is a good way to live your life. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Marissa Fast

  4. Chris,
    Recently, I have been thinking some of the same thoughts as far as having the access to the authority. It is crazy how often I do not trust the Holy Spirit’s power in my own life. I understand that I have the authority of God living in me, but sometimes I would rather be comfortable than to share whatever it is that is needed in any specific moment. Thank you for adding encouragement into this area of my faith. I will continue to pray that I would trust the power that has been given to us more and also I will be more quick to practice it.

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