In the New Testament, the Greek term exousia appears, which refers to the spiritual authority or power of Jesus Christ and, to a lesser extent, to the authority exercised by the apostles. It should be noted that the New Testament was written in common Greek, also known as Koine.
Exousia in Jesus Christ
The figure of Jesus Christ can be analyzed from many perspectives. If we analyze the human dimension, it is indisputable that there was a remarkable capacity to influence others. This ability was exercised by their spiritual authority. His words and actions were intensely perceived by his followers and this extraordinary faculty is described in the Holy Scriptures with the word exousia. The spiritual authority of Jesus Christ is the key to understanding the role of his followers, the apostles.
The exousia of Jesus Christ gave him a special power of persuasion. In this sense, some biblical passages affirm that the exousia of Jesus Christ was based on the spiritual dimension of his words and, above all, on the love that he gave off from them.
In the Bible, the word exousia is used in allusion to Peter, as he had the spiritual authority to found the Christian church.
A comment on the word exousia
To define the word exousia we can use terms such as power, authority or force. From the point of view of the Gospels, exousia has an explanation: the spiritual authority of Jesus Christ is understood as a logical consequence of the power of God. Thus, it can be argued that the exousia of Jesus Christ must be understood as a divine gift. Thanks to this gift, Jesus Christ was able to reach people’s hearts.
In a more restricted sense, the term exousia is understood only in relation to the figure of Jesus Christ or his apostles. However, it should be noted that certain historical characters had unique spiritual authority.
His authority over others had nothing to do with authoritarianism but was based on his exceptional human qualities. This extraordinary spiritual strength that possesses some individuals undoubtedly has a dose of exousia, as demonstrated by some human beings, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Ignatius of Loyola, and Buddha.
The idea of authority as an inner strength is also known with one word: charisma
In its true sense, charism is a grace that God gives to some people. However, it is customary to speak of the charisma of some leaders, that is, of a kind of personal magnetism to attract others (the power of the charismatic leader is based on his personality and his qualities as a speaker).