©February 8, 2013 Revive Israel Ministries
Authority, Discipleship, and the Great Commission
By Asher Intrater
In Matthew's version of the "Great Commission," there is a profound connection between authority and discipleship. Notice the word authority in verse 18 and disciples in verse 19. Yeshua has authority, therefore we make disciples. Discipleship is a response to Yeshua's authority.
The gospel message is an offer of forgiveness and an invitation to eternal life. Yet it is also a declaration of authority. There is no salvation without lordship. The most basic profession of salvation is a profession of lordship. (Romans 10:9 – Whoever confesses with his mouth that Yeshua is Lord… will be saved.) The confession that Yeshua is Lord is essentially a commitment to submit to His authority.
A salvation prayer should include the phrase, "I submit to Yeshua's authority and commit myself to obey Him." [Yesterday our evangelist friend, Rachel, brought an Israeli man (40) to our daily prayer meeting for the first time. He heard me teach on this subject, and asked to receive salvation, thank God.]
Yeshua has all authority. The gospel declares that authority. Whoever submits to Him is saved and becomes one of His disciples. To be a disciple is to learn how to walk in submission to His authority.
Yeshua has two kinds of authority. The first is direct, spiritual authority. We have to obey Him directly, as led by the Holy Spirit in our conscience (Romans 2:15, 8:16, 9:1). His word and His holiness are above any man's opinions. Scriptures define for us His absolute standards of right and wrong.
The second kind of authority is delegated, through other human beings. Direct authority takes precedence over delegated authority, yet we have to respect this second kind of authority as well. The problem is that Yeshua is perfect, while human beings in positions of delegated authority are imperfect and sinful. How can we submit to authority of human beings who are often wrong, or even evil? The process of learning correct attitudes toward authority is a central part of discipleship.
Most human beings have had bad experiences with authority. Many have been hurt and abused by those in authority. Others get offended at any expression of authority. Often people rebel when they should submit, and act selfishly when they do have authority. We need much wisdom from God to sort through all this mess!
Authority must be limited to a sphere or realm with clearly defined boundaries (Luke 23:7, II Corinthians 10:13). A father has authority in his own family, not in someone else's. A prime minister has authority in his nation, not in another. A kingdom is the realm of authority of a king. It is the "dominion" of a king. It is his king-dominion. All delegated human authority is limited. Only Yeshua's dominion is unlimited. He has "all" authority in both heaven and earth.
May God heal our hearts from every abuse and bring us to repentance for every rebellion! A balanced and wholesome attitude toward authority is the mark of a true disciple.
Set your calendars for Thursday, February 21, for the traditional "Ta'anit Ester" (Esther fast). In Israel, several congregations and prayer houses will be joining together to fast and intercede for Israel, the Church and the Nations, according to the themes in the book of Esther. We invite you, in churches and synagogues wherever you live, to join us on that day for 12 continuous hours (6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Israeli time) of prayer, praise and prophecy. Details of prayer topics will follow.
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