Volume 36

INSIGHTS INTO GOD’S WORD
E. Michal Gayer
Volume 36

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“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
(Luke 10:18-19)


Positioned in Power

Devotional TeachingsJesus demonstrated the compassion of God through His teaching, through His interaction with people and through His miracle-healing ministry. In awesome, authoritative directives to believers like the one recorded in Luke 10:18-19, God’s long-range plan for believers was revealed. When Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you,” He was positioning believers for continuing the work He had begun.

Jesus had been very clear that our battle is not with flesh and blood. He said as recorded in John 10:10 that, “The thief [the devil] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Through His death on the cross and resurrection, Jesus defeated the devil on our behalf.

Satan never controlled Jesus but unredeemed mankind has been under the devil’s control ever since the time of the fall of man into sin. We were the ones needing to be rescued. Jesus delivered us out of the hands of the devil and set us free from his controlling power. Colossians 2:15-16 recounts this by stating that Jesus, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” And Colossians 1:13-15 informs us that God “…has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” But not only did God provide a way through Jesus for us to be set free from the workings of the devil, but He placed us in a position of power. The verses in Luke 10:18-19 reveal Jesus transferring authority and power to believers.

During Jesus’ lifetime his disciples operated under conferred power to do specific works, but Jesus took special care to prepare the disciples for the fulfilling of the Promise of God and the coming of abiding power. In John 14:15-18 Jesus had told them, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Following His resurrection from the dead and in His final moments with His disciples just prior to his ascension to heaven, Jesus charged His disciples to, “…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:15-18). He likewise instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father to be fulfilled in the giving of the Holy Spirit. Jesus specifically told them, “…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). After giving these final instructions, Jesus ascended from earth to assume His current position at the right hand of the Father. His earthly ministry had concluded but His current rule and reign from on high, through His faithful followers, had just begun.

In obedience, about 120 of Jesus’ faithful followers tarried in Jerusalem praying together in one accord with the women who were close to Jesus (Acts 1:12-14). Then suddenly on the first day of Pentecost the Promise of the Father was fulfilled when He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers.  Empowered and equipped, those early believers launched out to continue the ministry work Jesus had begun. The exciting news for us living today is that when the Holy Spirit came upon those 120 faithful ones, Peter, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, announced the good news that this gift from God belongs also to us, our children and to “…all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). Healing the sick and doing the greater works of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was common among early Christians as “…they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20).  Jesus had set in motion this great healing and witnessing ministry of believers.

In summary, we could say that Jesus had accomplished the fact of divine healing at the cross, making God’s power abundantly available to heal the sick. But even before that glorious time, He set the example for us through His own life’s actions. He healed multitudes of people who came to Him. Likewise, through His teachings and instructions He educated and prepared His disciples to continue in the work He had started. Jesus commissioned His faithful followers and sent them forth as messengers of the Gospel and to “heal the sick”. As modern day disciples and faithful followers of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves under the same teachings, the same instructions and the same commission to “heal”.

Healing the sick isn’t some extra option.  Healing the sick was an integral part of Jesus’ ministry and it is a vital part of the ministry of every believer. We’ve not understood this. Somehow, someway, many believers have lost the awareness of this or it has become diluted by tradition. The shortage of people to do the work of the Lord is because many, many believers have not understood that God has called ALL of His people into the field. Traditionally, we have delegated spiritual labor to a handful of specialists not realizing that God has called every single believer to preach, teach and heal the sick. We’ve thought that the healing ministry of Jesus is a side issue allotted to people who have special gifts of healing. And while there are indeed special giftings, when Jesus sent out the twelve disciples and later seventy more and still later gave the great commission of Mark 16:15-18, all believers were told to heal the sick in His name.

Most certainly the responsibility to do actual healings belongs to God; however, here on earth God needs human vehicles through whom to work. He needs obedient people who will bring His Holy Spirit on the scene for sick and needy people. We are the workers, just like Jesus was. God is the Healer who will work through us just like He did the works through Jesus. Our role is that of obedience in ministering to the sick. God’s role is to fulfill His promise and do the healings. He will do amazing things if we are obedient to obey Jesus’ command, “Heal the sick” (Matthew 10:8).