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Power or Authority?

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, Matthew 28:19.

We are once again confronted with a verse that modern translators can't leave alone. Accordingly, the English Standard version renders that; And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. The New International Version and the New American Standard Version follow suit. They switch out "power" for "authority". I have heard many fundamentalists correct the King James Bible Text when they come across those two words.

Even the New King James Bible which purported to eliminate the "thees" and "thous" of the bible but basically leave the rest of it alone, swaps out authority for power in Matthew 28:19. In doing so they attempt to emasculate our Saviour. Power and authority are not interchangeable. If I give you the keys to my car for safe keeping, I am giving you the power to take my car, but not necessarily the authority. If I tell a 14 year old at church, "here hold my car keys for a moment", he does have the power to move my car, but in no way should he interpret that for the authority to take the car for a spin around the block.

From 1942 until 1945, President Quezon of the Philippines was the lawful authority in Manila. Nevertheless, the Japanese held the power. When Jesus Christ told his disciples that all power had been given unto him, he was telling them that he was not impotent. He has the power to implement the next two verses; Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen, Matthew 28:19,20.

If all Jesus had was the authority to implement Matthew 28:19,20, I think that I should have despaired many times in my ministry. He has the power. Therefore I call out to him daily to transform my people, open doors, search hearts and to continue his miracles among those who have been entrusted to my care. I have worked in office settings wherein a new boss came in and asserted authority. After a while, his general impotence to affect change and to truly hold the reins of power became a joke.

The devil never stops trying to project such a vision of Jesus Christ into the hearts and minds of those who would seek to follow Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is not answering a pastor's prayer, or if a missionary feels abandoned, it is not because Jesus Christ is powerless. He has all power. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me, Psalm 13:1,2.

Never mistake the gap in time between our call to God and his answering of our prayers as a lack of power on the part of Jesus Christ. Great power requires great wisdom. What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?Romans 9:22-24. When I surrendered to serve the Lord, I did not do it on the condition that he obey my time tables. I have known God to suffer the vessels of wrath because he intended to save them, and I have known him to suffer them because their eventual destruction made his power clear to all.

All power is given unto Jesus Christ. Serve him. Trust your King James Bible to get it right.

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