In Matthew's 28:18, why was all authority given to Jesus? Did he not have all authority already? And in I Corinthians it says that He will give all authority back to his Father. Please explain this to me.
"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18).
"When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all" (I Corinthians 15:28).
While Jesus was on earth, he left his position of glory to take on the form of a man. "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11). He learned obedience (Hebrews 5:8). His task was to do the Father's will and not his own (John 6:38). This is well illustrated by his prayer before his death: "And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will'" (Matthew 26:39).
Because of his obedience, God, the Father, turned everything over to the Son. "For He has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when He says, 'All things are put in subjection,' it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him" (I Corinthians 15:27). Thus, the Father remains the ultimate authority (I Corinthians 11:3), but currently, the Son runs everything on behalf of God.
When this world ends, the Son will turn this authority back over to the Father, but it will not happen until death is abolished. "For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet" (I Corinthians 15:25). Even then, the Son remains above everything else. "... which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:20-23).
Even prior to Jesus' death, Jesus spoke of receiving this authority because it was going to be accomplished through him. Nothing would prevent his mission.
- "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father" (Matthew 11:27).
- "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand" (John 3:35).
- "Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life'" (John 17:1-2).
As the Father ordered: "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matthew 17:5).