Season 5 - Week 1
“It starts with Jesus' authority”
Many people think Jesus was a great teacher. Some go further and suggest he was a prophet, bestowed with heavenly powers. Christianity, however, attributes inherent divinity to Jesus, from which flows his inimitable authority.
Verse 2 says: “Jesus has authority over all people.” The Greek word translated here as ‘people’ implies far more than just humanity. Jesus, the second person of the trinity, has authority over all creation because he created it (Colossians 1).
Integral to our understanding of eternal life is Jesus’ authority and, more importantly, his willingness to give it up (Philippians 2:6). But Jesus didn’t just give up divine privilege, he gave up his life – the very life that spoke authority over death a few chapters earlier (John 11).
Jesus’ authority to offer eternal life came through his willingness to lay down that authority.
Jesus’ final prayer in John 17 is for the unconditional love experienced within the Godhead to be shared with us forever (v26). Because Jesus stooped, we will rise in glory. We have the privilege of sharing this resurrection hope with our young people, no matter how broken their lives are.
A dear friend of mine recently died. Without the hope of eternal life, this devastating loss would be even more excruciating. In 1 Corinthians 15, we are promised that because of Jesus’ resurrection, death has lost its ultimate power.
The promise of eternal life doesn’t stop life being horribly painful. When hearts have been irrevocably broken, we don’t necessarily need answers to our wailing questions, we need someone to hold us mid-sob. John 1:14 reminds us that our God didn’t stay distant but came to meet us in the mess. Jesus wept, Jesus suffered and ultimately, Jesus died. But that’s not the end of the story. Without the resurrection, the cross would be tragic. But through it we are brought the most beautiful new life. As Revelation 21:3 promises, God himself will wipe away the tears of our young people. He will restore our brokenness.
Jesus’ promise of eternal life changes everything. It assures us that we have a God who loves us enough to go to hell and back. It also guarantees a future hope for us and our young people. As CS Lewis writes in The Last Battle: “All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth had read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
We have a compassionate God who cares deeply for our lives here on Earth. But he cares too much to leave us this way. He offers us eternal hope that what’s to come is so much greater than we could ever imagine. We’ve not even reached chapter one!
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you gloryon earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify mein your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Throughout Ruth's article are bible verses which remind us of the promises about who God is and what He has done and will do. Go back through and read them to yourself - write them all in one place if it helps.
Jesus' authority was given to him by God. His power to use it came from his willingness to let it go. His confidence in letting it go came from his secure knowledge of who God is.
Jesus’ authority to offer eternal life came through his willingness to lay down that authority."
Take some time this week to reflect on the areas in which God has given you authority. Are you willing to lay down that authority?
Singing Frozen is optional but turn your reflections from the question above into a prayer. You might find it helpful to write things down and physically let them go.