“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”Matthew 28:18
Aside from Christ’s claim to deity, the above declaration is possibly the most remarkable that He ever made because He is claiming absolute authority over everything in the realm of creation without limitation or restriction. There is absolutely nothing that is beyond or above His sovereign rule.
The authority of Christ is the foundation and source of the church’s authority to carry out the Great Commission among the nations. For this reason, it is imperative that the missionary grasps both the extent of Christ’s authority and its far-reaching implications for the missionary endeavor.
The Extent of Christ’s Authority
There is simply no way to overestimate the limitless nature of Christ’s present authority. Regardless of the abundance of terms employed and the emphasis given, the extension of His reign cannot be exaggerated. The Apostle Paul writes:
“God seated Him at His right hand in the heaven places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet.”1
The absolute sovereignty of Christ over heaven and earth is not only confirmed by the New Testament, but also by the Old Testament prophesies which predicted His coming. More than five hundred years before the incarnation, the prophet Daniel spoke of a “Son of Man” who would receive unimpeded dominion over all the nations and peoples of the earth:
“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”2
A wonderful illustration of this text is found in the life of Joseph, who was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, and unjustly confined to prison for a crime that he did not commit. Then, at the time appointed by God, he was brought before the most powerful ruler in the world and exalted to his right hand:
“Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’”3
This exaltation of Joseph over all the land of Egypt was only a small type or shadow of the exaltation of Christ over the entire universe. As Joseph was taken from prison and exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh, so Christ was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God. As Joseph was given authority over all of Egypt, so Christ was given authority over all creation so that without His permission no one will raise hand or foot in all the cosmos!
Paul serves as the HeartCry Coordinator in Western Europe. He is currently overseeing our missionaries in Italy, Spain, and France. He is also the founder and director of the HeartCry Missionary Society. Paul lives in Radford, Virginia with his wife Charo and their four children: Ian, Evan, Rowan, and Bronwyn.More By Paul David Washer