Exousia (ἐξουσία)


I am coming to you this morning acknowledging that I am not a scholar in Greek, linguistics, etymology or the like, but I am coming to you in the power/authority of Jesus Christ who has commissioned me to tell my story about His power/authority in my life. God may not have called all of us to be preachers or linguist, but He did call all believers in Christ to be witnesses.

Today, I am attempting to give witness to Exousia (ἐξουσία). What is Exousia (ἐξουσία)Exousia (ἐξουσία) is a Greek word that is translated as power or authority in the New Testament. The pronunciation key is eks-ü-sē’-ä.  Generally, it means the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege) or the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises. If you would like to search further, click the link above for the Strong’s explanation.

As you know, I have been reading through the book of John and writing about what the Lord is saying to me about what I read. Like many of you, I have held positions where I have power/authority over people, processes, and possibilities. I admit that I was given the position because of the will of God not my prowess. Like many of you, I have been subject to those who have power/authority over me. Nevertheless, I am growing in my understanding of what it means to hold power/authority and to be subject to power/authority.

In John 19, we see another who is like us. He held power/authority and was subject to power/authority; however, we are not in His league. Rather than trying to explain, let me first share the Word of God, so He can speak to you about Exousia (ἐξουσία).

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

The indented text is John 18:28 – 19:11. It was shared without headings and verses to give you a better sense of how the events unfurled, so the text could speak to you. Did you pick up on Exousia (ἐξουσία) in the passage? Where does Exousia (ἐξουσία) surface in that text? There is a funny exchange between Pilate and Jesus in the last paragraph. Pilate, overstating his authority, asked “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Pilate tried to exercise his power/authority muscle, but Jesus shut Him down. Has anyone ever gotten you told without your knowledge. It may have been minutes, hours, weeks, months or years later when you got what they said. This is the situation with Jesus and Pilate. Pilate had no idea of the depth of Jesus’ response. Neither would I had not God revealed some of it to me.

Here is Jesus’ response to Pilate. Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. In the vernacular, Jesus broke him off. In the standard, Jesus explained a truth that Pilate still did not comprehend. In essence, Jesus was saying you do not have authority over me. The Godhead crafted this moment before time began. I saw it, ordained it and submitted to it before time began. I am submitting to it because I am submitting to my Father, to myself. By the way, I chose you for this moment. If I had not, you would not be in the position to claim that you have authority over me. The Exousia (ἐξουσία) was given to you from above i.e. the Father. 

Wow. My memory verse for the week is Daniel 2:20-21. God aligned that verse with what I had been reading to help me understand and explain to you. Listen to it.

20 Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Pilate was an authority that God set up and one whom He removed. He served His purpose in the process for Christ to redeem the elect. Like Pilate, there will be those in your life who think that they control you or have authority over you. In fact, they may. The power/authority has been given to them from God. They think that they are “the boss of you”, but God has shared that ultimately, He is sovereign. He reigns and rules. Those who have Exousia (ἐξουσία) have been given it for God’s purposes not for their pride. God gives rulers or authorities their Exousia (ἐξουσία). Undoubtedly, some will wield their power/authority without regard to God doling out unjust decisions. Do not fret. God is faithful and will reconcile all things unto Him. Barring their decision do not call you to disbelief in Jehovah, do what that authority has asked you to do. God is in control.

This is why Romans 13 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” We are use the Exousia (ἐξουσία) we have been given to follow submit to and to follow God.  24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude1:24-25

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