By Andrew Schmitt
My son has entered the phase of his young life in which he asks, “Why?,” in response to seemingly every command I give. Oftentimes, my response is, “Because I said so.” Admittedly, there are times when I surmise that this is a lazy alternative to an otherwise fuller explanation. However, there is something being intrinsically communicated: “I am the boss, and you are not. I am in charge, and you are not. I know better than you in this situation, and you do not.” Ultimately, I am basing my response to his question on my authority as his father.
In a substantially more meaningful way, Jesus asserts his authority over his followers. For example, he commanded his eleven Apostles in Matthew 28:18-20 to make disciples because the Father had given him “all authority in heaven and on earth.” You are probably familiar with this passage and know it as the Great Commission: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV).
Interestingly, Jesus’ last command is to be our first priority, as one pastor has noted. In an age of competing philosophies, worldviews, and voices, why should Jesus be heard and obeyed supremely? Because he has been given authority over every square inch of creation as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Therefore, as a diligent soldier takes his marching orders from his commanding officer, so we are to obey Christ in every aspect of our lives. And lest you believe that you are following Christ blindly, take comfort that if Christ knows you (i.e. he has saved you from your sins), you have the blessed assurance that Jesus is always with you and will never leave you. How so? Jesus has sent his Spirit, namely the Holy Spirit, to indwell you as your Helper and Guide throughout your life (John 14:16-17).
Therefore, obey Christ’s commandments found in Scripture. If you are trusting in Jesus for salvation, this is what you signed up for. You are to daily die to yourself and your sinful desires, as you have been crucified with Christ and he now lives in and through you (Galatians 2:20). By doing what Jesus commands, you are demonstrating your love for him (John 14:15). Resist the contemporary impulse to throw off all forms of authority in your life. Realize that as a follower of Jesus, you are called to follow him with wholehearted devotion. The next time you are hesitant to obey one of Christ’s commands in Scripture, I trust you will sense him responding, “Obey me, because I said so. I have all authority, even over you.”