To Reject Delegated Authority Is an Affront to God
The entire parable recorded in Luke 20.9-16 focuses on the matter of delegated authority. God did not come personally to gather His due after He had rented the vineyard to the tenants. Three times He sent His servants and the fourth time He sent His own Son. These all were His delegates. He wanted to see if the tenants would be subject to His delegated authorities. He could have come and collected Himself, but He sent delegates instead.
In Godís view, those who reject His servants reject Him. It is impossible for us to hearken to Godís word and not to the words of His delegates. If we are subject to Godís authority, then we must also be subject to His delegated authority. Other than in Acts 9.4-15 which illustrates the direct authority of the Lord, the rest of the Bible demonstrates the authority He has delegated to men. It may be said that He has given almost all His authority to men. Men may often think they are merely being subject to other men, but those who know authority realize that these other men are Godís delegated authorities. It does not require humility to be obedient to Godís direct authority, but it does demand humbleness and brokenness to be subject to delegated authority. Unless one sets aside the flesh completely he is not able to receive and to hearken to delegated authority. May we realize that instead of coming Himself, He sends His delegates to collect His due. What, then, should be our attitude towards God? Should we wait till God comes Himself? Remember that when He appears He will come to judge, not to collect!
The Lord showed Paul how he had kicked against the goads when he had resisted the Lord. Once Paul saw the light and saw authority, however, he asked, ďWhat shall I do, Lord?Ē By this action he put himself under the direct authority of the Lord. Nevertheless, the Lord immediately shifted Paul to His delegated authority. ďRise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must doĒ (Acts 9.6). From here on Paul recognized authority. He did not consider himself so exceptional. that he would only listen if the Lord Himself told him what to do. During their very first encounter the Lord put Paul under His delegated authority. How about us? Since we have believed in the Lord how much have we been subject to delegated authority? To how many delegated authorities have we been submissive?
In the past God overlooked our transgressions because we were ignorant, but now we ought to be serious about Godís delegated authorities. What God stresses is not His own direct authority but the indirect authorities which He has established. All who are insubordinate to Godís indirect authorities are not in subjection to Godís direct authority.
For the convenience of explanation, we distinguish between direct authority and delegated authority; to God, though, there is but one authority. Let us not despise the authorities in home and in church; let us not neglect all those delegated authorities. Although Paul was stricken blind, he waited for Ananias with his inner eyes wide open. To see Ananias was like seeing the Lord; to hearken to him was like hearkening to the Lord.
Delegated authority is so serious that if one offends it he is at odds with God. No one can expect to obtain light directly from the Lord if he refuses to have light from delegated authority. Paul did not reason: ďSince Cornelius asked for Peter, I will ask for either Peter or James; I will not have this little brother Ananias to be my authority.Ē It is absolutely impossible for us to reject delegated authority and yet be subject directly to God; rejecting the first is the same as rejecting the second. Only a fool takes pleasure in the failure of delegated authority. He who dislikes Godís delegate dislikes God Himself. It is the rebellious nature of man that makes him want to obey Godís direct authority without being subject to the delegated authorities God has established.