“They were amazed at his teaching.” “He taught as one with authority and not as their teachers.” These words were spoken about Jesus. Some of His first words to certain people were: “Follow Me”. Jesus came as a leader. He led people in a different way than the scribes of the people. The crowds looked at Jesus amazed and struck by the fact that He taught as one with authority.
Have you noticed a difference between two people speaking the same message? I mean, they are speaking on the same topic, referencing the same points and principles, and yet the way in which they are received is as different as night and day? This was the case when the people compared Jesus and the scribes of His day. What the scribes went around teaching was considered accurate and truthful. The scribes were speaking words that everyone knew and yet their words had little impact. These teachers were ineffective and their words did not astonish or amaze and were not words of authority. And yet their words were derived from the same book, the same premise, the same story. What was different?
We have many people today who are in positions of leadership and yet have no authority. People aren’t clamoring to hear what they have to say and aren’t traveling miles (in Jesus’ case, miles by foot!) to sit under their instruction or guidance. Why is that? Could it be that we don’t have authority? Could it be that there is something missing within us? Could it be that there is nothing wrong with our subject matter or technical presentation but rather something broken in our character, motive and/or passion? Why did people run to Jesus and not to scribes of His day? Why did people run to Jesus but don’t similarly run to church today? What’s missing? Authority. And let me clarify, His authority came not in eloquence, cleverness or persuasiveness. It was the Spirit of God within Him. God’s Spirit of love, mercy, grace, never-ending loving-kindness, holiness and power was drawing people to Him. God’s Spirit gave Jesus His authority. Jesus’ words came from His inner being which was filled with God’s Spirit. Jesus’ words flowed from the attitude, mind and will of the Father.
Another facet of Jesus’ and our speaking with authority is integrity. By this I of course mean character and honesty, but actually a whole lot more than that as well. Integrity means wholeness and completeness. Our outer words and lifestyle ought to be in agreement with the inner man. We must allow our thoughts, attitudes and emotions to be in complete harmony and they need to be lived out consistently. And again the only way that our inner man and outer life will be in agreement is by the Spirit of God within. God’s Spirit gives us wholeness and completeness. It is God’s Spirit that aligns our words and lifestyle. Leadership with wholeness between what we speak and how we live is a leadership with authority.
And so yet again we realize that the words we use are important but how much more important the internal. How vital the character, the heart and the spirit of the leader. For leadership to influence and impact for a lifetime and beyond, it must be by the inner man and by the Spirit of God within. And when that happens our words are infused with power and authority we could never imagine.