Mark 1:22 - The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law. Learn to teach as Jesus taught… with real authority. Keep Reading…
It was often said of Jesus that he taught with something unique - authority. The crowds surrounding Jesus noticed that his teaching was different than that of the religious leaders. Their Jewish world was filled with teachers and teachings, much like our day (how many teaching videos and podcasts do you have access to?). But, when Jesus showed up, there was a distinct difference in his way and outcome of teaching.
How did the crowds pick up on the authority of Jesus in his teachings? What does it mean to teach with authority, as Jesus did? Keep reading to find the answers in God’s Word…
Teaching with authority recognizes where real authority comes from.
John 12:49-50 - I [Jesus] don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
Jesus, the Creator of the universe, was submitted to his Father. He never usurped authority or dominated people with his power. Jesus knew that his authority came directly from his Father. If the Creator of the universe had no authority apart from his Father, who are we to think that we can muster up authority on our own?
Authority in teaching comes from listening to the Father and speaking his words for a given situation. Real authority is able to flow, because it is the Father flowing out of us. The teachers that have the greatest level of authority are those who spend the most time listening to their Father.
The Father also showed Jesus how to say things. It is often in our presentation or style of communication that our teaching can get confused. It is important to wait on God (and study the life of Jesus) to get his way of teaching. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it that brings authority in teaching.
Teaching with authority brings application.
Matthew 7:24-29 - “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
Jesus was always clear in his teaching… “Don’t just listen to what I am saying - obey my teaching.” Jesus never desired people to get big heads full of information about God and his ways. He was obedience-centered. Calling people to obey Jesus is the way to teach with authority.
In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus calls us to teach the nations to obey his commands. Teaching toward obedience is our calling and commission.
Out of our teaching, there must be clear and practical ways to apply the teaching… or obey Jesus. If the path to apply the teaching is not clearly laid out, the teaching will lack authority. Teaching without specific application or steps of obedience to Jesus is simply information. And information does not bring transformation. Obedience to Jesus does.
Teaching with authority demonstrates the power of God.
Mark 1:27 - Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!”
Luke 9:1 - One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases.
Jesus most often combined speaking with healing and deliverance in his teaching method. It was the demonstration of the power of God that made people take notice of Jesus’ teaching. The distinctive of healing and demonic deliverance in Jesus’ teaching was unmistakable, and so different from the teaching practice of the Jewish leaders.
Leave room for the power of God to be made manifest in your teaching. Allow time for ministry and prayers for healing and deliverance. Imitate the apostle Paul who said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
Teaching with authority is presented in humility.
Mark 10:42-45 - So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The teacher with authority recognizes that he is under authority. He refuses to be seen and treated as the “expert.” He is very willing to serve and get his hands dirty. Authority is released in service to others. In the same way, pride will eliminate any effectiveness in teaching. Often the greatest teaching comes through one on one interactions while serving with others.
Teaching with authority is not forced.
Luke 11:16 - Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
John 2:24-25 - But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
Real authority does not need to be proven. God is the one that reveals authority. He anoints. We cannot conjure up authority, authoritative ways or an authoritative voice. If we feel a need to prove our authority, we are on a completely wrong footing.
Jesus never battled the religious leaders in order to prove his authority. He was completely secure in his Father. Jesus did not need the commendation of people for his sense of authority. The Father communicated his deep pleasure in his Son. Matthew 3:17 That was enough for Jesus. That should be enough for us.
Teaching with authority comes through walking in holiness.
Mark 12:38-40 - As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”
Teaching can be done with great fanfare and wonderful presentation. But there is nothing like a teacher who is walking closely with God in a life of holiness that brings such authority. The greatest teaching will be rendered completely ineffective when there is unholiness in the life of the teacher. God will anoint with authority where there is holiness. We cannot side-step this truth.
James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” There is a high calling toward holiness in the life of the teacher. If the teacher practices what he teaches, then authority will flow.
Teaching with authority is Jesus-centered.
Jude 1:24-25 - To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Authority flows from Jesus and is centered on Jesus. Greater faith in the person of Jesus and greater dedication to obey his commands are the most important outcomes of our teaching. Be sure to bring people back to centrality of believing Jesus, worshiping him and following him as Lord. Continually point people back to the authority of Jesus and the implications for his authority for their lives.
Authority in teaching comes from the Father. The more we listen to him for our teaching content, the more effective we will be. Follow Jesus’ model in teaching - combine speaking with time for ministry and prayers of healing and deliverance. Be sure that there is always an application point to your teaching… the application of greater obedience and submission to the authority of Jesus.
Missionary. Teacher. Worship Leader. Deeply desiring to make God's Word accessible and understandable to all. May you be transformed as God's Word fills your life.