Mar. 30, 2017

He gave them power and authority

Luke 8:40-9:6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” 47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.” 50 But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” 51 When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother. 52 Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. 54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. 56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

9 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.


In today’s text it says:  He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.    It is important for us to know that Jesus had authority when He was here. The devil is given credit for having much more power and authority on earth than he deserves. It is true that in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned, they lost the authority and dominion which God had given them. Man lost authority in the garden. God never lost His authority and likewise the Son of God, Jesus, who was with God from the foundation of the world, never lost His authority. All of the miracles of the Old Testament, testify that although man no longer had authority, God still ruled heaven and earth. The fact that Jesus could perform miracles, casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead and causing storms and raging seas to cease and be still, tells us that He had authority in heaven and on earth. The devil’s power and authority is really, as it was in the garden, based in his ability to deceive and tempt people to disobey God. Psalm 115:16 says:  The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, But the earth He has given to the sons of men.  God has chosen to work through us here on earth. He still has authority. He is still omnipotent, omniscient omnipresent, infinite and eternal. The real struggle for dominion here on earth is not between God and the devil. That would be no struggle at all. The struggle is between people and the devil and the battleground where the war is fought is primarily in our minds, in who we will believe.

Ephesians 6:12 saysFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says:  Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.        The strongholds of the devil are not fortresses of steel or stone. They are improper thoughts and beliefs which we have allowed to become stronger than the truth of what God says.  To win the battle, to overcome the devil, we begin by bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. The devil only has as much authority as we give him. 1 Peter 5:8(KJV) says:  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  The devil seeks whom he may devour. The word may implies that the devil needs permission. It is not who he can, who he has the ability to devour, but rather who he has permission to devour. Who is it that would give the devil permission to devour us? Surely it is not God. He created us in His own image and likeness. He loves us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son. Certainly Jesus would not give the devil permission to devour the very ones that He suffered and died for on the cross. It is only we ourselves who give the devil permission to devour us, to affect our lives. We give him permission when we believe his lies rather than God’s truth.

God’s word is in part His instructions to us for how we should live. Those instructions can be broken down to two basic categories, the things God says we should not do and the things He says we should. Far too often we focus on only one side of God’s word. We either focus on the do nots and become legalistic, basing our identity in what we have done, or we disregard God’s commandments, presuming on grace, we desire to walk in His promises without being obedient to Him. We need both, to not do what God says we shouldn’t and to believe and receive all that He has promised. In today’s text Jesus gave limited authority to His disciples. In Matthew 28:18-20, after the cross and the resurrection, Jesus says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”       The authority Jesus gives us now, because of the cross and the resurrection, is no longer limited. In Christ we have all authority.    In Matthew 16:13-19 it says:  Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”      Based upon the knowledge, the belief, the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the One who has all authority in heaven and earth, Jesus gives us the keys to the kingdom of heaven. We have authority, all authority, to bring the realities of heaven into our earthly circumstances. We have the authority to bind the enemy and loose the promises of God. Jesus says the very gates of hell will not stand against us. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:  “Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.   Through faith in Christ, through believing and doing both what He says we should and can do and from obeying and not doing what He says we should not do, we have all authority. We too can move mountains, calm the storms and the seas. Nothing will be impossible through Christ.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the cross and the resurrection. Thank You for restoring the authority which was intended from the beginning. May I truly bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Holy Spirit guide me to walk in obedience and empower me to live in authority according to all that God has said.   Amen