Monday, 9 October 2017

By what authority?

Everyone's a writer. Or thinks they are. In this day and age there is no shortage of words, of opinion, be that written, spoken, blogged or vlogged. Get a cool graphic for your logo, build a Facebook, Insta or YouTube 'community', collect the likes and shares and you're away, the validation lending you an air of authority. Your community follows you. You speak a lot of truth. Perhaps they look up to you. Perhaps you're relatable because your self-deprecating humour makes them look and feel better about their own often-found-wanting lives. But then you say something that divides your community and now no-one quite knows what to believe. Perhaps your latest overshare shocks or disappoints. They don't instantly read your latest post, and the number of hits isn't what it used to be. From viral to sterile. Wait! I've got more to say! I'm still relevant. Aren't I?

The truth is, the Truth is, our words are merely a morass of mumbling, sliding about, drifting even, unless they're anchored to the Truth, a truth so timeless that even the least stroke of the letters that comprises these words of Truth never gets rubbed out. Every dotted i and crossed t remains. We can all have an opinion, sure, but our opinion reflects our worldview, and unless our worldview is rooted firmly in the unchanging, our opinion can have no lasting authority, and our community, our followers, desert us.

When Jesus taught people, "They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority." (Luke 4:32) Jesus, fully God, taught with timeless authority by very virtue of his being God, and this was evident to his listeners. Matthew puts it like this: "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law." (Matt 7:28‭-‬29) What's the difference between Jesus and the teachers of the law? Both taught using ancient holy texts, what Christians refer to as the Old Testament, but Jesus had himself and the Kingdom of God at the centre of his teaching. The Truth then, is Jesus. He does not change, and his words do not fail. We, therefore, cannot speak or write with authority unless it's derived from him. Our words will pass away.

Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matt. 28:18)

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