When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the people shouted, “Hosanna!” (John 12:13). This was a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning, “Save now.” They were looking for the King of the Jews to free them from Roman occupation. Yet Jesus rode on a donkey. Donkeys were traditionally ridden by kings in times of peace. It would be a horse in times of war.
Nevertheless, the Pharisees didn’t like that the people were praising Him. They rightfully perceived Jesus as a threat to their authority. They weren’t the first who wanted to get rid of Him. When Jesus was born, Herod tried to kill Him! The King of the Jews, even as a baby, threatened Herod’s authority. Satan was behind both Herod and the Pharisees, and ultimately fears the complete and utter loss of his temporal authority on this earth.
All lesser authorities are threatened when Jesus comes onto the scene. He holds the highest authority, and is in fact authority itself! He is the AUTHOR, the creator, and the WORD. There’s no appealing to a higher court! He threatens the reign of rulers, whether they be men, women, or principalities and powers. And because He died and rose again, His people are as much a threat. Jesus is alive, and we are united with Him. If the Almighty is in us, He is working to destroy the devil’s works (1John 3:8).
Behind all conflicts between people and nations lies the issue of who has the authority. There are battles for authority in both the earthly and heavenly realms. Whose authority do you submit to? Who has the ultimate authority in your life? Your leaders? Yourself? Your peers? The devil?
“Well I certainly don’t worship the devil!” You may not be involved with the occult, but you could all the same be yielding to his authority. Interestingly, the main principle of Satanism is not “to do evil,” but “to live for yourself.” When you follow the world’s ways that are contrary to God’s ways, you are yielding to satan’s authority.
Satan’s authority is short-lived. There is a time stamp on it. The Lord has given notice. Jesus will indeed come on a white horse and subdue the kingdoms of this world. Praise God that He first came in peace on a donkey! We, His enemies, deserved His warring wrath, and yet He came in peace.
He has conquered the devil’s authority in every born-again believer. He overrides the power of sin and redeems our sorrowful experiences. He has the authority to work all things for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28).
It may seem at this time that the authority of corrupt nations is overwhelming, but “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing: He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect” (Psalm 33:10). It’s all just for a season, before Authority Himself comes and establishes His kingdom in which there will be no corruption or injustice. The work has already begun in His people. Are you submitting to His say, or are you submitting to what the world or your circumstances say? It may look one way right now, but it’s not the final word. Jesus is the Word. What higher authority is there than authority itself? And even so, we learn that Jesus not only is authority, but He had authority, gained authority, and will culminate authority.
Jesus always had authority
When God spoke in creation, things happened. All things were made by His Word (John 1:3). They said of Jesus, “no one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46; ESV).
He had authority in teaching, “For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29). There was nothing more to say after he taught.
I once taught a philosophy class. If you’ve ever studied philosophy, you’ve encountered all kinds of teaching. None of it ever holds authority. The field of philosophical thought is one big argument. Everyone refuting what the last ones said. Someone else proposes their theory of life and how to live, it’s tried, and fails. Another philosopher comes along and offers his ideas. Someone else refutes them, and so on! That’s the study of philosophy in a nutshell.
But there’s no refuting what Jesus taught, and it all stands to this day. He even taught as having higher authority than the law itself: “You have heard it said…but I say unto you…” (see Matthew 5). The law is always authoritative. Jesus spoke as above it.
He had authority over sickness. Sickness claims authority when it forces you to submit to the pains. It acts powerfully, but Jesus always overruled it. When Jesus offered to come and heal a centurion’s servant, the centurion (a man of authority) felt unworthy to have Jesus enter his home. The centurion knew Jesus had authority, and invited Him to just speak and the servant would be healed (see Luke 7:2-10). Are you suffering today? It may seem like the doctor is the highest authority, but Jesus is higher. It may seem there’s no arguing with the pain, but Jesus bore it for you already (Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:17). It’s His Word that heals (Psalm 107:20).
Jesus had authority over demons. He met a demon-possessed man from the Gadarenes (Mark 5). This poor man was under the authority of an evil spirit that was not one but many! “My name is Legion,” he said. That’s a lot of demons. According to scholars, a Roman legion consisted of more than 6,000 soldiers. Here was a multitude of evil spirits, and they even challenged Jesus through the man: “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?” (Mark 5:7). But they had to do with Jesus! They had to submit when He cast them out.
Before that, the demon-possessed man would cry out and cut himself with stones in fits of insanity. He gave us a visible picture of what we were spiritually before being born again. Though appearing sane, we were not in our right minds: “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live…” (Ecclesiastes 9:3). Yet Jesus cast out the madness, freeing us from its wicked authority.
Jesus had authority to give authority. He gave power to the disciples. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you” (Lk.10:19; ASV). He gave authority to the church to bind and loose things in heaven and earth (Matt.16:17-18). What philosophy or tradition can confer power like that?
He had the authority to give eternal life (John 17:2), and He had the authority to execute judgment (John 5:27). What a blessing it was that the King came riding in on a donkey! While we were enemies, deserving judgment, He came offering undeserved peace! Jesus had all the authority to do His will, and yet He never forced it on anyone. There’s a lesson for leaders. True authority does not impose itself, nor does it feel threatened. The greatest leaders are the ones who serve and win the hearts of their people.
Jesus even gained authority
Even though He was authority and had authority, He even gained more through His death and resurrection! How can that be? There’s much that’s not easily understood. Yet we know that it has something to do with a legality and order in the spiritual realm. Jesus had to die to overcome death: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). He went through and established His authority in a totally just way and overcame the devil in perfect order. This is in contrast to how the devil gained authority through trickery and deceit.
In dying, Jesus destroyed the authority behind death. What shouts greater authority than death? Death speaks and says, “it’s over.” Jesus overrides it and says, “it’s not over now.” That authority has been revoked! Death is no longer the end, but is now a transition.
Not only was authority gained through His dying, but also through His resurrection and ascension. “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). He completed what was necessary to expand His kingdom throughout all nations. He then conferred His disciples as ambassadors to carry it out.
The book of Daniel reveals what was gained. There’s a prophetic vision that is sometimes taught as His return to earth, but it shows Him coming not to earth but to the Ancient of Days, which represents the Father. I believe this vision shows Jesus ascending upon the clouds (as in Acts) and appearing as the One who has finished the work:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).
The highest authority received an even higher spread of authority! Now His salvation could spread to all people, nations and languages. His dominion would never come to an end. When Jesus comes and establishes the kingdom on earth, nothing will ever assume authority over it! He does not have to worry about another election, or an assassin’s bullet. The buck stops here, once and for all!
Behold your King
Jesus established His authority by riding in on a donkey. He will culminate all authority when He eventually rides in on a white horse. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns… And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-12, 15-16).
Praise God that we have been offered peace and have been reconciled. At the end, there will be no offer of peace to the satanic order we are presently living in. He will obliterate the authority that the world now yields. Yet we see that there are some kings and lords under Him. Who are they? It will be the people of God, who are a royal nation and who shall judge angels! All because Jesus first came in peace.
The angels declared peace on earth when He was born. The donkey symbolized peace when He entered Jerusalem. And after having waged war on the devil’s kingdom, peace will be our experience throughout eternity!
It will not be a dull peace. Don’t believe for a minute that anything will be dull and boring. He is called the King of Glory!
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. (Psalms 24:7-10)
Have you lifted the gates and doors and let Him in? Do it while He comes in peace! The gates, or heads, represent the mind. The doors, the heart. Open both to Jesus and let the King of glory ride in and take charge in your life. Bow to His authority. He has the authority to make you like Him, and your eternity one of unspeakable joy.