oblivious to all else

ו Waw

May your unfailing love come to me, LORD,
your salvation, according to your promise;
then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 119:41-48

God’s word is authoritative, and grants authority to God’s people, to God’s servants. Every one of God’s people have weaknesses and not one doesn’t have this or that struggle. But God’s word can lift each one of us above and beyond that. We come to realize that it’s the most important word on earth and beyond. So that we not only fear nothing else, but witness to it by telling others, and especially how we live, the change that word brings. In and through Jesus.

we speak, act, and live from Jesus’s authority

They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Mark 11:27-33

There is no question that Jesus acted, spoke, and lived with a sense of unusual authority. It was in marked contrast to the religious leaders of his day who lived strictly according to the tradition of the elders. Jesus’s authority was from God, specifically from the Father by the Spirit. It seems to have been derived due to his humanity, yet at the same time Jesus seems to have had authority in himself.

Trinitarian authority seems to be in the union the Persons of God have with each other. The Father may be the fountainhead so to speak, but in the Trinity itself, such authority is shared.

But when it comes to the Incarnation, God becoming flesh, Jesus lived in utter dependence on God. He prayed to God, even appealed to him in the Garden of Gethsemane. This all seems to be related to the Incarnation, to the humanity God took on. Jesus said he could have called on the Father, and could have received a legion of angels, but that God’s will had to be fulfilled.

In Christ, we now live with the same sense of authority. This impacts our actions, words, and very lives. We do so in the weakness of this present state. Sometimes we can be quite bold, but often whatever boldness we might have is tempered by our weakness. But make no mistake, we act, speak, and live from the authority of God in and through Jesus.

This certainly doesn’t make us infallible by any means. Strictly speaking only God is right, and only God knows. And it’s not about us individually as much as it is about us together, the church, and what God gives the church. But this does extend out to us in our individual lives. We speak from God insofar as we’re actually doing so, and that speaking is tied to God’s word in Christ, the gospel, and for the purpose of making disciples. Jesus explicitly said that since all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him, that we’re to make disciples (Matthew 28). I take it by extension from the apostles, that we’re included in that, at least the church at large.

And so we live in the authority of God in and through Christ.

continuing in prayer for others

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

I can’t help but think of the story in scripture of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands, so his staff could be raised during Israel’s battle with the Amalekites. As long as Moses’ staff of authority from God was raised, Israel prevailed. But when he tired and lowered the staff, Israel was being beaten back. And so Aaron and Hur came to his support.

I think of the spiritual battles we face. Especially for the people who need ongoing prayer. And don’t we all? Prayer is not easy. One might say, as we hear from one Christian tradition that the Christian life is naturally supernatural. Good point. But prayer can seem like sheer effort on our part at times. We get so easily distracted from it. Why? Surely in part because there’s an enemy who would want us to keep our hands down, rather than up to God in prayer. What Moses was doing was not exactly prayer, but taking the authority which was his to take– from as well as in and through God. But most certainly prayer in a true sense involves taking the same kind of authority of God into a situation, that God’s mercy and love may be made known. And that God’s will may be done. I especially think of the difference this can make in the lives of loved ones, as well as those who serve in God’s work. And really for everyone.

Of course we can’t pray on our own, even if at times it seems like we are doing just that. We’re to pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. So we look to God for his help in this.

Too often I can get discouraged over something happening (or not happening), or more precisely over someone’s life. I can fail to pray for them for days, sadly enough, maybe even turning into weeks and beyond that. I need to wake up and work at praying for them again regularly. Perhaps using a notebook or some way of reminding myself. Indeed I need the same kind of prayer myself. It is hard in a way to pray for one’s self very well. Paul requested prayer for himself, and specifically for his ministry in the Lord. Reading the psalms will help us learn to pray well for ourselves. We need to be in prayer and on the lookout for others. We can do nothing ourselves to change anything. God must do the work. He may use us in that work in some way. Our task first and foremost is to be in prayer. In all our weakness. And however dark and chaotic it may seem. And to continue in that prayer. Yes, that surely can make all the difference in the world.