I am inspired and invigorated every time I read or recall this directive from Jesus to the twelve followers He was sending into the world in Luke 9: 1-2, When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
This is an amazing glimpse into the earthly life and ministry of Jesus and His twelve apprentices, yet it is a word of instruction to us even after 2000 years in terms of how being a disciple of Jesus Christ really works. Following Christ and being a disciple of Jesus who is making disciples of Jesus is not knowledge-based alone. If it were we have invested enough classroom hours and reading for the whole world to know about Christ. Those who have come to follow Christ with all of their heart realize there is a big difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Likewise, believing that Jesus is the Christ is a long way from following Christ as a disciple who has given Him first place.
Authority at its best is authority used for the glory of God. Authority at its worst is authority abused or authority abdicated. Let me explain. I have been perplexed for many years now about people who are Christian leaders in varying offices or positions of leadership who err on the abuse and misuse of their authority or the abdication of their authority based on their human understanding of who they are and what they are called to accomplish. Let’s be clear that all Christians have been given, in and through faith in Christ, not just grace for the day, but the very power and authority of Christ himself through the Holy Spirit to drive out all demons and cure all diseases as they go along the way of life proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick.
So why do we witness so little of that authority at work in the present day Christian Church? I don’t think it is because we don’t believe that Christ has given us that authority, but rather it is because we fail simply to act on it by applying this charge by faith in our daily living. Almost every day I see something miraculous happen for God’s glory as people come to faith in Christ, experience miraculous healing or deliverance, or simply see God making a way where there seems to be no way. God has given us this authority to use and steward well as a part of our faithfulness. A world of people are starving for what God has already authorized us to share! Let’s rise up and get moving, proclaim the Good News, heal the sick and begin to live out the great and Godly purpose that is God’s gift to us.