The authority to give eternal life
John 17:1-3 MKJV Jesus spoke these words and lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, Father,
the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that Your Son also may glorify You, (2) even as You
have given Him authority over all flesh so that He should give eternal life to all You have given
Him. (3) And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ
whom You have sent.
What would you do with unlimited power - with “authority over all flesh” ? Would you crush
some enemies, live the high life - or use your authority to give people eternal life even if it
entailed your own self-sacrifice?
Let’s commence with the phrase “even as you have given Him authority over all flesh”.
Authority is always given - that is it is bestowed as a gift. Even if someone works very hard to
please their superior they cannot demand a higher post, it still has to be awarded to them. There
are many cases of people working hard for years to gain a certain high post such as a Prime
Minister or Cabinet Minister only for it to be awarded to someone else. Even Pilate’s authority
was “given from above”. Thus for Jesus His authority was a gift from the Father.
The first clear instance of the Father’s gift of authority to Jesus is the healing of the paralytic:
Matthew 9:5-8 MKJV For which is easier? To say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise
and walk! (6) But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive
sins, then He said to the paralytic, Arise, take up your bed and go to your house. (7) And he
arose and departed to his house. (8) But when the crowds saw, they marveled and glorified
God, who had given such authority to men.
Later on Jesus claims the Father has given Him authority to have life in Himself, and for
judgment: John 5:26-27 MKJV For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has given to the Son
to have life within Himself, (27) and has given Him authority to execute judgment also,
because He is the Son of Man.
Finally Jesus says the Father has given Him total universal spiritual and temporal authority and
that this immense authority would back the missionary efforts of the apostles (and all who carry
out the Great Commission) “until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 MKJV And Jesus
came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. (19)
Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And,
behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.
Now Jesus also gave authority to others - His disciples:
Luke 9:1-2 MKJV And He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and
authority over all demons and to cure diseases. (2) And He sent them to proclaim the kingdom
of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 10:19 MKJV Behold, I give to you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over
all the authority of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Matthew 10:1 MKJV And when He had called to Him His twelve disciples, He gave them
authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of
Mark 6:7 MKJV And He called the Twelve and began to send them out by two and two. And He
gave them authority over unclean spirits,
And to all believers He gives a basic authority to enter into the courts of Heaven as children of
God. John 1:12 MKJV But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the
children of God, to those who believe on His name,
Thus eternal life and the right to become children of God is a gift of Jesus that He gives by the
exercise of His authority over “all flesh”.
Spiritual authority is spiritually transmitted and seems to have been greatly increased by the
Pentecost event. So much so that Jesus told His disciples:
Acts 1:4-8 MKJV And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from
Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me. For John truly
baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now. .. But
you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me
both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
How then are spiritual authority and the salvation of Christians connected? The spiritual
authority enables us to break the powers that Satan uses to blind people, harden their hearts
and thus prevent them from believing in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:2-4 MKJV (2) But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking
in craftiness, nor adulterating the Word of God, but by the revelation of the truth commending
ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (3) But also if our gospel is hidden, it
is hidden to those being lost, (4) in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving ones, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (who is the image of God)
should not dawn on them.
In an imaginary face off between Jesus and the Devil 26 years ago - Christ might say “John is
mine, I have bought him with my blood and chosen him for salvation before the foundation of
the world, now hands off him, for I will draw him to Myself.” Yet my salvation was not that “easy”
there were a dozen people at least praying for me, so Jesus’ authority to save and human
intercession worked together to deliver me from darkness into the light.
We need to use our delegated spiritual authority to stand in the gap for others so that they might
come to know Jesus and thus inherit the gift of eternal life: “And this is life eternal, that they
might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Let’s sum up:
1. Jesus has been given authority over all flesh. (John 17:2, Matthew 28:18)
2. This includes authority to forgive sins and heal the sick (Matthew 9:5-8), and to give life and
execute judgment (John 5:26,27).
3. It also includes the authority to give eternal life to those who believe and to grant them status
in Heaven as children of God. (John 1:12; 5:26,27; 17:1-3)
4. Jesus delegates that authority to those undertaking ministry for Him and empowers them to
heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, and preach the Kingdom of
God. (Luke 9:1, 10:1-3, )
5. That authority is spiritually transmitted through the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8) just
as it was also given to Jesus when He was baptized with the Spirit and then did “power ministry”
(Matthew 3:13-17, 4:23)
6. Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father with universal authority over all things in Heaven
and on earth and exercises this vast authority on behalf of those who engage in the Great
Commission. (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:34,35; 5:31)
7. In the process Jesus gives authority to people like Paul for the building up of the Church. (2
Corinthians 10:8, 13;10)
8. One use of this authority is to “tear down” the Satanic resistance to the progress of the gospel
so that people may come to faith. ( 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
Blessings in Jesus,