"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
CHRISTS AUTHORITYWAS IT FROM GOD OR FROM JOHN THE BAPTIST?
By Wayne Camp
I recently received a letter from a brother who asked me a question that I had never been asked before about something I had never heard before. He asked something to this effect, "Do you believe that Jesus received his authority from God or from John the Baptist?" He went on to say that he had read where someone (The article bore no authors name.) had written that Jesus received his authority from John the Baptist. Needless to say, I was a bit nonplussed that anyone would suggest that the Lord Jesus Christ received his authority from a mere man, albeit a great man.
I now am in possession of that article. It is titled Why A Baptist Church. After reading it I realized that whoever the unnamed author was, he was possibly trying to establish the idea that authority in the Lords work is passed horizontally from men to men and from church to church, rather than authority being passed vertically from God to man. Here is the portion the brother who wrote was questioning:
A Baptist Church is the:
IV. ONLY ONE WITH GOSPEL AUTHORITY: Matt. 28:1 8-20.
Again we must go back to John's Baptism. He was given authority from heaven, whereby he gave over that authority to the Lord Jesus. Jesus said, "All power, (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth." John 3:35, "The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand."
Therefore, only one church institution can have gospel authority. Hence, only one has perpetual authority; that is, authority to carry out the Great Commission: This does not mean that all believers outside true church membership do not have the right or responsibility of speaking forth the gospel. But, they do not have the authority to perpetuate the Great Commission.
A Baptist Church is the:
V. ONLY ONE WITH SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY: Matt. 28:18-20
Since John was the only man to receive authority from heaven to baptize we can safely conclude that there was only one source of authority and one recipient of itsingular source, singular authority. In other words, anyone having scriptural authority to baptize had to receive it from John. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John," John 1:6.
The only one to receive scriptural authority from John was the Lord Jesus Himself. We have no record of John giving that authority to anyone else.
Let us first focus on this portion of the article. "Again we must go back to John's Baptism. He was given authority from heaven, whereby he gave over that authority to the Lord Jesus. Jesus said, All power, (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. John 3:35, The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand."
I affirm that John the Baptist received his authority to do all the work he did directly from God. The argument to prove that Christ received his authority from John the Baptist is made on the first verse where Jesus declared that he had been given all authority in heaven and in earth. This argument that this authority came from John the Baptist is contradicted by the second verse the author used. John the Baptist clearly declares in that verse that it was the Father who had given all things (that would include authority) into the hands of his Son.
Consider these words also, "Since John was the only man to receive authority from heaven to baptize we can safely conclude that there was only one source of authority and one recipient of itsingular source, singular authority. In other words, anyone having scriptural authority to baptize had to receive it from John. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John, John 1:6."
The only one to receive scriptural authority from John was the Lord Jesus Himself. We have no record of John giving that authority to anyone else."
The unnamed author says, "We have no record of John giving that authority to anyone else." Actually, we have no record of John giving that authority to anyone, not even to Christ. The record the author gave above proved, rather, that Jesus received his authority from the Father, not John the Baptist. In fact, John the Baptist affirmed that Jesus received his authority from the Father, not from him. Some of Johns disciples heard that Jesus was baptizing beyond Jordan and many were coming to him for baptism. John 3:26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
The very first words of Johns response were, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). Obviously, John entertained no notion that it was he who had given Christ his authority. In fact, he affirms that the authority being exercised by Jesus in making and baptizing disciples came directly from heaven. He also asserted that Jesus was above all. John 3:31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. One who is "above all" could not receive authority from an underling. Authority is always passed downward; never upward. It would be like a President looking to a fileing clerk in his office for authority to govern. John further confirms, in the latter part of his response to his jealous disciples, that Christs authority was from God. John 3:34-35 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Jesus never claimed to receive authority from anyone but God the Father. As God himself he possessed all authority. But as man, he received all authority from God the Father. Jesus confirmed that the source of his authority was the Father. His words are very similar to those of John the Baptist cited above. Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
God himself declared that it was he who would give authority to Christ. Psalm 89:27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
Daniel is in perfect harmony with John the Baptist, Jesus, and God the Father when he writes, Daniel 7:14 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.
That God, not John the Baptist, was the source of Christs authority is obvious from his declaration in the fifth chapter of John. John 5:21-30 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
There are several things in this passage that obviously show God to be the source of Christs authority, not John the Baptist.
First, Jesus was sent by the Father, not by John. The unnamed author in his article used the fact that John the Baptist was sent by God as evidence for his assertion that John was the singular and only source from which Christ could receive authority. But, Jesus repeatedly claimed in his teaching that he was sent from God which clearly and obviously affirms that he came from the Father with the "all authority" he declared he had. In fact, the exact expression "sent me" appears in the first four books of the New Testament 39 times and in 38 of those cases Jesus is declaring that the Father sent him into the world. The other time John the Baptist uses the expression stating that he was sent by God. Since being sent by God implies God-given authority, Christ certainly had authority from God to do all that he did, including baptizing disciples. He was not sent by John; John gave him no authority. All things were delivered into his hands by the Father.
The passage shows that God had given him authority and power to quicken whom he would (V-21, 25, 26). This includes quickening the dead in sin and also calling the physically dead from their state of death. The Father had given him the authority to judge all men (v-22).
John the Apostle affirms again what John the Baptist had said as recorded in the third chapter of John. He writes, John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God . . . .
In his great mediatorial prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John Jesus again affirms that what he did and was able to do and had the authority to do was given him from God, not from John the Baptist. John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
The God-given authority of Christ was also declared by Moses many years before Christ came into the world in his incarnate state. Deuteronomy 18:18-19 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
When Jesus came into the world he not only came as a prophet and priest; he came as king. This is obvious from Scripture. Matthew 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. John 12:13-15 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. 14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
Solomon tells us "Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? (Ecclesiastes 8:4). Jesus came a king and his word was authoritative. When he rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, he was King. The idea that one of his subjects, John the Baptist, could give King Jesus authority is foreign to the whole analogy of power. Authority must always be delegated downward; it is never delegated upward. John the Baptist declared, "There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose" (Mark 1:7) The idea that one so lowly could give authority to one so much mightier than he is inconceivable in the light of these words of John the Baptist. I suspect that John the Baptist would have been aghast had one of his disciples suggested that he could, would, and did give Jesus Christ his authority.
This authority of Christ, as declared by Moses, was also declared by the Apostle Peter. Acts 3:22-23 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. This passage literally radiates forth the authority of Christ. But, Dear Reader, I assure you by the authority of the word of God that the authority of Christ came directly from God; it was not delegated upward to him from John the Baptist.
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Last updated on Saturday, July 30, 2011