Authority and Speech

The link between authority and the right to speak is clearly stated for us in the Roman centurion’s encounter with Jesus (Matthew 8:6-13). In that encounter the centurion asked Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus immediately offered to go with the centurion to effect the healing.

The centurion’s responded by telling Jesus that all He had to do was speak the word: “speak the word only, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8).

The centurion had great faith in Jesus’ ability to speak healing, rather than minister it by physical process, such as putting his hands on the sick person. The reason for this expectation is then given by the centurion, in a speech about authority and words.

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.” Matthew 8:9

Under Authority

The centurion was a man “under authority”. This means he was in an authority hierarchy. People with greater authority than him (his commanding officers) conferred authority upon him. That enabled him, as a centurion, to have people “under” him. Those under him included soldiers and his servant.

Authority is not negotiated, but delegated. Authority is not given to us by those under us, but by those we are under.

Some people have strange ideas about authority. I have heard people explain that husbands only have authority when their wives willingly submit to them. This misguided idea probably represents a broader western misunderstanding of authority. In light of our highly autonomous and democratic society we do not properly understand the reality of authority. Authority is conferred. It is not a gift from our subordinates.

Husbands have authority from God. If the wife refuses to acknowledge it then the man does not lose his authority. God still holds the wife accountable for her rebellion against God’s will. She has not dissolved the authority, because it is outside her power. If the husband gives it up, he is held accountable by God for his rebellion against God’s will.


The centurion was under authority and so he was able to give commands. When he spoke the word that word was obeyed by those who were his subordinates. His soldiers came and went at his command and his servant did what he instructed.

The giving of commands was directly linked to authority. The centurion’s sentence included reference to his place in an authority hierarchy, and his ability to speak instructions which are obeyed.

Authority confers the ‘right to speak’ upon those who have it.

If a stranger arrived and tried to command the soldiers or the servant there would be no compliance. The soldiers and servant obeyed the centurion because of his rank, not because of his tone of voice, good looks, or winsome ways.

Faith in Christ

The centurion’s speech confirmed he was convinced Jesus was the Christ and had authority from God. The centurion did not believe that Christ was relying on some supernatural ability which was picked up accidentally, or owned by some fluke of nature. He believed that Jesus had His power because He was appointed by God, under God’s authority.

Therefore the centurion was confident that Jesus had the authority to speak to sickness and demonic work. Being in a place of authority gave Christ the right to speak and have His words obeyed, even by nature.

Jesus was amazed at this high level of faith, and He told the audience that this was remarkable. He then sent the centurion on his way, with the word of healing. The servant was healed that very hour.

Power Words

Do you have the ability to speak power words? Or are you ignored?

The way to give your words more power is to be under greater authority. The higher the authority you are under and the greater the delegated authority given you, the more power your words have. If your words are falling to the floor and are impotent, then your place under divine authority needs to be upgraded.

Moses went to Egypt’s Pharaoh with the power words, “Let my people go!” There was a tussle over the words and some protracted opposition and negotiation, but Moses’ words prevailed. They were power words.

Speaking in Faith

I recall a humorous testimony Virgil Johnson gave of his conversion. As he headed out to a night of indulgence his mother challenged him that she knew his plans and would pray to stop them. He denied her accusations, but she persisted that if he tried to drive his car across the bridge to the bad part of town he would not be able to make it. She would pray that his car not be able to get across.

He denied her accusations and dismissed her claims, then drove straight toward the bridge. As soon as his car pulled onto the bridge it broke down. Despite all his attempts to get it started he finally had to give up and get the car towed home.

When he walked back inside his mother told him she knew exactly what had happened, because she had prayed. She then grabbed him, and sat on him, while she and her sister prayed for him until he was gloriously saved.

Virgil’s mother spoke words of faith. She did so in the authority of her God. She did so as a spirit-filled child of God, moving in faith. She claimed a level of authority in her words, directly from God. And God honoured her words.

You don’t have to be a President to speak words of power. Being under God’s authority is greater than being under human leaders and constitutions.

No Right To Speak

How do people speak when they have no right to speak into your life? Would you like to know?

The Bible reveals how people speak when they have no right to speak. Take a look at what I have to show you here, and get insight into the voices that demand your attention but which you should ignore.

I have raked over the topic of The Right To Speak in previous posts, and now I want you to see a well-known Biblical example of what it looks like when someone is speaking who has no right to do so.

A Quick Review

Not all words are equal. Some people have the right to speak while others do not. You are to obey the commands of those who have authority over you but you don’t have to obey the demands of people under your authority, or outside your whole authority structure. Advertisers don’t have authority to demand that you buy their product.

Marketers and manipulators speak to you, even though they don’t have the right to tell you what to do, in the hope they can get you to do their will. Wise people are aware of the rights held by the speaker, so they can know whether to listen or ignore the one speaking.

God has the ultimate right to speak. Those God endorses have the right to speak. Yet many people who speak into our lives do not speak with God’s authority. Some people assert their right to speak when they don’t have that right at all.

How They Speak

When a person does not have the right to speak into your life, but they wish to get you to follow their instructions, they can use several devices. They can lie, cajole, deceive, threaten and so on.

Jesus Christ faced a confrontation with someone who did not have the right to speak into his life. That person was the devil, who tempted Him when He was fasting in the wilderness. What the devil said and how he said it gives us a cameo of how people speak when they do not have the right to speak into your life.

You may recognise some of this in the way others have tried to speak into your life at times.

Jesus and the Devil

In the New Testament book of Matthew we are given an account of the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness. This encounter involves temptation. And the first point to note is that when a person does not have the right to speak they are only able to tempt the person they are trying to influence. That’s what advertisers do. They tempt you to buy their product. They can’t make you do something, but they can tempt you to make your own choice to do it.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-4

Temptation Number One

The devil’s first temptation was directed at Jesus’ physical needs. Jesus was hungry after fasting for forty days and nights. Jesus had the power to create bread. The devil simply suggested that Jesus do that.

What was wrong with this challenge was that Jesus was not to be about the devil’s business, but His Father’s business (see Luke 2:49). Just because you have ability does not mean you should use it to indulge your personal interests and needs. Jesus took His orders from God, not the devil. That is why Jesus’ reply was that He was to live by the words that God spoke.

We will each be tempted to cater for our desires, such as our comfort, hunger and so on.

Temptation Number Two

“Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He will give his angels charge concerning you: and they will bear you up in their hands, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Matthew 4:5-7

For the second temptation the devil did not play on Jesus’ bodily needs. This time he played to his mental and emotional qualities. The temptation was to make a public display of His special position of protection by God.

Note again that the devil did not have the right to tell Jesus what to do, so he tempted him, with taunts, to prompt Jesus to obey the devil by fulfilling his physical or emotional needs.

Those who do not have the right to speak into our lives will try to press our buttons to get us to react to them and thus come under the power of their words.

Jesus rightly responded that we are not to put God to the test like that.

Temptation Number Three

“Again, the devil took him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Get out of here, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.” Matthew 4:8-10

The third temptation was the offer of a deal. Having taunted and suggested things, appealing to Jesus’ physical and personal interests, the devil finally came out with a proposition.

The devil also tries to make deals with us. He offers us fame, success, happiness, and personal gain if we do what he wants us to do. However, the devil’s deals are cheap, deceptive and destructive, as Eve found out when she gave in to temptation in the Garden of Eden.

Look Out

You will face temptations, suggestions, taunts, instructions and deals, from voices that do not have the right to tell you what to do. What ever the issue is, it will be about you giving up your freedom to the demands of those you should remain free from.

Look out for those who come along, throwing their arm over your shoulder, trying to steer you in the path that they want you to take.

God has given you autonomy and a place of freedom under His authority. Those who do not have the right to speak are intent on making you a slave. Their words may sound like honey, but the sting of what they suggest will be bitter and deadly.

If they do not have the right to speak, then do what Jesus did. Reject what they say and stick with what God wants you to do.

No Jurisdiction

Further to my previous posts on the topic of Jurisdiction I want to alert you to your dangerous practice of letting people speak into your life and over your life when they have no right to speak. I am quite confident that you have probably allowed people to have a say in your life, when they have no right to speak authoritatively over anything about you.

The Clamour of Voices

Have you noticed how many people appeal for your attention every day? There are myriad voices shouting at you for your attention and calling you to respond to them. Most of those voices have no right to speak. They have no jurisdiction over you. You should ignore them completely and live without regard for anything they say. Yet you most likely listen to them and allow them to mess with your life. While they have no real jurisdiction you may foolishly give them jurisdiction over you.

Let me define some of those non-jurisdictional voices which are speaking into your life on a daily basis. They come in various shapes and sizes and speak at different levels. However they can be categorised into a few convenient groupings to allow definition and evaluation.

Marketing Messages

Radio advertisements, billboards, television commercials, signs and a plethora of advertising messages bombard your senses every day. They are all seeking to market some product or service to you. Some are pushing for a sale, while others are promoting a brand, and others seek to mould your behaviour toward their commercial interests.

Many marketing messages are very powerful, charged with emotive subtext and sensual captivation, using million dollar power tools to reach into your life and dictate your choices and behaviour. Those voices speak with compelling and mind-altering power. Yet they have no right to dictate to you your choices.

Consider the case of the American razor blade manufacturers who wanted to penetrate the Japanese market. They had a superior product to the local supply, but no-one needed the sharper American blades. The Japanese bathed at the end of the day and then shaved after their bath, to be clean faced for their wife. The hot bath softened their bristles so the inferior blades worked perfectly well.

The only real chance the American suppliers had to penetrate the market was to get the Japanese to shave in the morning, while their bristles were not softened by the hot bath. So they set about a concerted campaign to shame the Japanese into shaving in the morning. The marketing message was that truly loyal Japanese men would be clean shaven for their boss in the morning.

The social engineering apparently worked, changing the shaving habits and prompting the need for the superior American razor blades. A whole culture was subverted for commercial gain.

Now, tell me you have always been aware of marketers’ attempts to do something similar to you, and that you have intelligently and studiously avoided their every influence. I don’t believe you.

Social Engineering

Apart from those messages which have commercial gain in their sights you are also bombarded with messages from people who wish to change your social attitudes. The irreligious want to subvert your faith. The politically inclined want to win you to their brand of politics. The immoral want to weaken your moral resolve. The rebellious want to loosen the restraints in society. The proud want your adulation.

When easy divorce was made possible the divorce rate went up and most people accepted the new social reality. When pre-marital sex became more prevalent most people accepted that as the new social order. And so it goes.

But don’t think you are always aware of those social engineering processes. Clever and subversive messages and social arrangements are set up to sell you on attitudes, choices and responses that play into the plans of those who seek to change you.

I know from my years in the media that news reports, feature articles, images, movies, music and television are carefully crafted to create impressions which prompt attitude changes which feed into social outcomes. Media services have long been infiltrated by people who have message agendas, who can then interpose their subtle messages into the public forum.

Consider the orchestrated trumpeting of the global warming message, despite all the evidence to the contrary. The topic has become something of a religious dogma and is spoken of as a fait accompli. Similarly evolution is spoken of as if any rational person knows intuitively that it is the only possible scientific reality. This is done despite the enormous body of literature from evolutionists and others pointing out that it is a completely baseless notion.

Now, tell me you have always been aware of the attempts of social engineers to influence you, and that you have intelligently and studiously remained untouched by their every attempt. I don’t believe you.

No Jurisdiction

The reason these voices clamour for your attention is because they have no authority. They are without jurisdiction. The only way they can gain currency is to get you to willingly give up your personal freedom and your right to reject them. If you buy the dogma, message or attitude package that is being pushed on you, then you give that message jurisdiction by the choice of your will.

When a child believes that a bogey man is hiding under his bed that child will lose their peace and careless ease. The message has no real validity, but it gains power over the child by the child’s willingness to accept it.

When a person believes that certain politics, certain social agendas, certain moral compromises or some other such social value is valid they will come under the power of those who promote it. The believer has given over their personal sovereignty to the peddler of that particular value. The message that has no jurisdiction is given the right to speak, only by the listening ear, not by the moral force of the message.

Freedom Given Up

The subject of jurisdiction cuts close to the subject of personal freedom. People who are gloriously and wonderfully free can become slaves to ideas, ideologies, philosophies, moral compromises, social agendas, attitudes, limitations, intimidation, and so on, just by allowing an invalid voice to speak over them.

When you allow someone or something to have the right to speak over you, your life becomes subverted under their power. When the only ones you listen to are God and those He endorses, then your freedom is maintained and kept intact. When you obey the voices of greed, lust, pride, self-assertion, self-indulgence, anger, and so on, you have given over your freedom to voices that should have no jurisdiction over you.

Reclaim Your Freedom

You were created free. By worshipping God and by the saving grace of Jesus Christ you can be made free even when you have become a slave to evil things. So take this whole matter seriously. You were not created to be a slave. You are not supposed to allow anyone and anything to walk all over you. You need to discern the voices that press themselves upon you. You need to reject those that do not have authority, or right to speak. You need to devote yourself to the voices that God has placed on His behalf to guide and bless you.

I exhort you to reclaim your freedom. If the Son of God makes you free, you are truly free. Stand firm in that freedom, to which Christ has made you free and don’t be caught up and entangled again in the chains of slavery.

Logophile on Jurisdiction

My recent post on the topic of The Right To Speak discussed the word ‘jurisdiction’. I want to explore that word a little more today, making a Logophile posting on this significant term. I pointed out there that the expression “the right to speak” means the same as the word “jurisdiction”.

Morphology of Jurisdiction

I pointed out in my posting on the Right to Speak that “jurisdiction” is the convergence of two powerful thoughts. Juris – comes from the Latin word ‘ius’, which means ‘law’. So we have the juris concept of law in such words as “jurisprudence” and “jury”.

Diction – means “to speak”. It refers to speech, words and commands.

Jurisdiction, then, refers to words that have legal authority. In practice that involves “The authority to apply the law.” But note that the authority is linked to the concepts of words and speech in the morphology of the word jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction means “the right to speak”, “speaking words of authority”, “speaking with legal privilege”, and “making law through the spoken word”.

Decrees and Dictums

Since speech is a key component of rule over a jurisdiction it is only reasonable to expect that many legal and authoritative terms refer to some form of speech or other. So consider the following examples of words relevant to authoritative enactments which refer to something spoken.

A Dictate is a directive or a command which authoritatively prescribes something, issues orders or gives commands.

A Dictator is someone who asserts their authority over others in a unilateral fashion, as an absolute ruler.

A Dictum is an authoritative pronouncement.

An Edict is a decree or proclamation issued by an authority and having the force of law. An edict is also a formal pronouncement or command.

A Pronouncement is something that is ‘pronounced’, ie: spoken.

A Declaration is something spoken out.

A Proclamation is also something that is spoken out.

While a Decree is a judgement it is synonymous in usage with the idea of a spoken announcement. Note that sense of a spoken announcement in the Law Encyclopaedia definition of “decree”: “A judgment of a court that announces the legal consequences of the facts found in a case and orders that the court’s decision be carried out.”

It Is Written

Spoken words end up written down and the written pronouncements of an authority are also important components of their jurisdictional rule. Diction can be in text form.

Therefore we have a range of authoritative terms referring to the written pronouncement. These written documents represent the dictates of the ruler.

A Papal Bull is a written document sealed with the Pope’s seal and expressed in a legal format that authenticates its significance.

An Encyclical was originally a pastoral letter from a bishop of the church, but now refers to a solemn papal letter.

Formal Notice is a legal form of advice from one authority to another within a prescribed format and carrying legal significance.

The word Prescribe has the word ‘scribe’ built into it, referring to the written nature of the legal document.

Every Idle Word

In the context of Jurisdiction every idle word has significance. That is why we are warned that we will have to give account for every word that we speak, even those that are said in jest or thoughtlessly.

“But I say to you, That every idle word that men speak, they will give account for in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

Thus the Bible warns us that we must mean what we say. Our Yes must mean ‘Yes’ and our No must mean ‘No’.

“But above all things, my brethren, do not swear, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.” James 5:12

Your Jurisdiction

While you may not rule an empire you do have rule over your own life and soul. Your words have the power of life and death over your own self. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, because the tongue dictates what you, as the authority over your life, decree.

There is law in your mouth. Your words determine legal outcomes for your personal existence. Be very careful of the ‘diction’ in your jurisdiction over your own life.