Wednesday, 3 February 2016

He gave them......

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority ......

It is well worth stopping mid sentence here... For our purpose it is almost irrelevant what the second part is about. 

A transaction happened between Jesus and His disciples... He gave them something that they previously did not have and it revolutionised their understanding and practice of what it meant to be a Jesus follower.

He gave them AUTHORITY (to ........)

What is the nature of what He gave them?
Why did He give it to them?
What are the implications for us ( modern day disciples?

He gave them authority ( exousia is the Greek word) which means He gave them the power that is normally associated only with a person in a particular role. In other words the centurion has a power over a group of men that was not available to any Tom,Dick or Harry. A police man or women possesses certain powers that go along with that position of authority, and so does an earthly King. People who have the RIGHT to, and PRIVILEGE of, exercising  power. More than this, they also have a responsibility to actually exercise it - it is not just theoretical power. If things are going to operate as intended for the good of other people the power not only must be used, it must be used correctly and for the right purposes.

Here we have the King of Kings (who possesses ALL power and authority) giving the right and privilege of using some of this power specifically for the good of others (and the demonstration and advancing of His Kingdom part of which is the destroying of the works of the devil)

This is big stuff!

This transaction happened so that they could DO things that they could not previously do and that nobody can do in their own strength. 

Interesting, exciting and challenging that followers of Jesus were expected, yes expected, to do things as a matter of course that are ordinarily impossible for human beings! This totally requires a relationship with the King and a willingness to accept what He gives ( impossible as that is to comprehend). Then to step out beyond the boundaries or our own limited experience, faith and comfort zones into the privilege and right of exercising the power He gives for the benefit of others.

In this case it was.......to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
Matthew 10:1 )

So what about us?

There is nothing in scripture subsequent to this that even hints that such authority is not given to those who are His disciples. In fact everything that follows, particularly following His death and resurrection and Pentecost, screams out that the giving of such power to His followers and so much more are the 'Kingdom norm'. 

Nothing demonstrates this better than the history of the birth and growth of the church in Acts and the teaching in Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians regarding the gifts of the Spirit (the tools of the trade for Christians).

The simple message is :
Keep close to Jesus (disciples have committed to follow Him)
Receive what He gives (by faith)
Step out and begin to use what He has given (by choice, in faith)

Demonstrate the Kingdom - give light and life to people and communities.