When we consider biblical authority and how we should use authority, do we consider it from man’s perspective or God’s perspective? The disciples came to Christ and asked Him a basic question, who would have the preeminent position – to sit at his right and left hand (Matthew 20:21-27).
Sitting at the King’s right and left hand by its very definition implies position, power and the ability to exercise authority – which in human terms implies the ability to control others. Christ’s response to the disciples was not exercise authority over others as the gentiles do, rather to use authority to teach and to serve others.
The Greek word and the context imply that authority from the gentile or man’s perspective, is “wielded” over others in an attempt to control them. But Christ clearly indicates that we should not follow that example, we should view authority from a very different perspective – that of serving others.
Each one of us, when we are called into a relationship with the Father, is given authority. But Christ has been very specific about how this type of authority it to be used. This authority is expressly provided to teach and educate in the Father’s way of life (Matthew 28:18-20).
Paul explains in Ephesians 4:11-16, various roles are provided for in the body of Christ. Everyone has a role in the body of Christ; there are no “useless” parts. But all the roles in the body are to be used to support, teach and create an environment in the church so that we all come to the fullness of the measure of stature which is Christ. Paul emphasizes in verse 16 that we all have a part to play as every part works properly which leads to the growth and building of the body of Christ in love.
Paul emphasizes the fact that we are all to use our authority to teach and build an environment where the body can be taught and built spiritually. This use of authority is very different than wielding power over others in an attempt to control them. The question for us is how will we choose to use the authority that has been entrusted to us?