The Authority of Jesus and Disciple-Making
I don't know if this is news to you or not, but Jesus has all authority. We aren't waiting for him to have authority. We aren't electing Christ to be King of the Universe. Christ is King. Christ is ruling. Christ has authority. Why does the authority of Christ matter?
I don't believe you can be an effective Christian or disciple maker if you lack understanding regarding Christ's authority. One can't even think rightly about discipleship apart from understanding the authority of the resurrected Christ. Before Christ gives his commission to the disciples, he qualifies the command by claiming, “μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ” or “all authority has been given.” The word ἐξουσία or authority, means “power or right” and is used by the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:21 when he likens “God’s authority to that of a potter over his clay (Romans 9:21).” Jesus commissions the disciples and sends them in his authority. This is not to say that Jesus did not have authority before, but this passage indicates the totality of Christ’s authority. The Greek word, πᾶς or all, demonstrates for us the totality of Christ’s authority. Theologian D.A. Carson states,
"all dominates vv.18-20 and ties these verses together: all authority, all nations, all things, all the days… It is not Jesus’ authority per se that becomes more absolute. Rather, the spheres in which he now exercises absolute authority are enlarged to include all heaven and earth. The Son becomes the one through whom all God’s authority is mediated. It marks a turning point in redemptive history, for Messiah’s kingdom has dawned in new power."
The implications for this cannot be overstated. The old cliché, “consider the source” finds itself at home in Christ’s authority. A messenger only has as much credibility as the one who sends him. The message of the gospel is powerless apart from the authority of Christ and Jesus sends Christians out with his sovereign authority. In other words, Christians bring good news in the name of their King. They are heralds on behalf of the Ruler of heaven and earth. This should drastically affect the way Christians engage in the delightful task of making disciples. The authority of Christ should produce confidence that the message being heralded has power and will be applied to the lives of God’s elect. Therefore, Christians have no reason to be timid or ashamed in the message of the gospel.
We are inviting orphans to become sons and daughters of the most-high King. God the Father has given Christ “complete freedom over all. This means; all freedom to impose His authority in heaven and earth, all freedom to impose his authority on every disciple and all freedom to impose his authority over every person and nation. On the basis of His authority, believers are to go and follow his instructions completely.” Whether counseling the gospel to a believer or evangelizing a non-believer, the Christian must remember that he/she comes in the authority of Christ and rest in God’s sovereign work of accomplishing his plan and purpose for the nations.
Two more passages regarding Christ’s active authority are Psalm 110:1 which states, “The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” and Ephesians 1:20-22, “…that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church…” According to the Apostle Paul in the Ephesians passage, Christ alone is the fulfillment of Psalm 110:1 and is therefore actively reigning now.
The 1689 LBCF Catechism communicates Christ’s authority in a question and answer format: “Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation? Christ’s exaltation consisteth in His rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father and in coming to judge the world at the last day.” After Christ ascended the Scripture teaches that he sat at the right hand of God the Father. According to Psalm 110:1, Christ will not stand again until all his enemies are made his footstool. This is significant in a study on the task of making disciples. The God who has declared “the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10a) is the same God who is sovereign over the means of making enemies Christ’s footstool. The question is; “how does God make enemies Christ’s footstool?” The answer to this question is none other than the body of Christ; his church.
God, through the person and work of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, is using his church to confront enemies and change their position to that of allies (Romans 5:10). God does this through faithful gospel proclamation. God the Father has the day of Christ’s return fixed (Matthew 24:36), but he will not return until this gospel work of making disciples is sovereignly complete. With this context, Christ’s commission in Matthew twenty-eight becomes even more clear: the process of faithfully making disciples has eschatological implications. Christ will not return until all of his elect are converted through the process of making disciples and this process will be successful. Understanding Christ’s authority and the sovereign design of his commissioning is a critical foundation for the disciple-maker as she/he seeks to faithfully steward and herald the gospel to those in his sphere of influence.
 William D. Mounce, ed. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 47.
 D.A. Carson, Matthew, Mark, Luke, in vol. 8 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 133.),terVarsity tPress409ounseling.ries Worldwide, 1998),ugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2013),trating the sufficiency of Scriptur
 Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Practical Word Studies in the New Testament (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1998),131.
 Solid Ground Christian Books and Reformed Baptist Publications of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, The Baptist Confession of Faith & The Baptist Catechism (Vestavia Hills and Birmingham: Solid Ground Christian Books and Reformed Baptist Publications of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, 2010), 100.