Authority and Power

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1). Jesus sent these first 12 disciples out on a training mission to proclaim the kingdom of God. Then Jesus appointed 72 others and sent them out. “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name’” (Luke 10:17). In proclaiming the kingdom of God, these missionaries were confronting the kingdom of darkness, and they discovered that demons were subject to them in the name of Jesus.

Satan had suffered another defeat at the hands of these itinerant missionaries because Jesus had given them authority and power over his demonic emissaries. They were successful in taking back some of the ground that Satan had captured. Jesus went on to say, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (verse 19). Snakes and scorpions are not our enemies; Jesus is alluding to Satan and his demonic hierarchy.

Subjection is a military term that means “to rank under.” Authority is the right to rule and power is the ability to rule. As believers, we have the right to rule over the kingdom of darkness because of our position in Christ. We also have the ability to rule because of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should, “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).

It is critically important that we understand that the authority and power we possess in Christ is His power and authority, which is over the kingdom of darkness. We have the power and authority to do God’s will, and nothing more. Every member of the Body of Christ has the same authority and power, because it is all based on our identity and position in Christ, which is the same for every believer. Satan can’t do anything about your identity and position in Christ, but if he can deceive you into believing that it is not true or irrelevant, you will live as though it isn’t.

Jesus must have found it necessary to put in perspective His disciples’ enthusiasm about their authority over the kingdom of darkness. Flushed with victory, we can also easily lose our perspective and adopt a wrong focus. Remember that pride comes before a fall. Jesus wants us to know that demons are subject to us but that our joy comes from knowing Him. We are to rejoice that we are children of God. Our focus has to be on the answer and not the problem. This is a consistent issue in Christianity. You don’t have to know the lie; you have to know the truth. Counselors get bogged down in a paralysis of analysis. All the analysis in the world doesn’t set anyone free.

To maintain our victory, we must be Christ-centered, not demon-centered. In doing so, we cannot let the devil set the agenda. The devil has succeeded if he can get us to pay attention to him and what he is doing instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus and paying attention to what God is doing. We should never allow evil spirits to distract us from our devotion to Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:3).

Dr. Neil

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