Jesus was clear about His authority. One of the last things He said to His disciples was, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” By saying therefore at that point, He was clearly linking His power and authority with the accomplishment of the commission that he was giving them. If there wasn’t that link then they would just be on a hiding to nothing, trying to start a movement but not actually transforming lives.
He also conveyed to them at this time that although His physical body was not going to be seen on earth anymore, His presence was somehow going to be with them. Now these disciples had seen Jesus power at work, and had already tasted the power that He had given them when they used His name with authority, and they had returned to Him saying “Lord even the demons submit to us in your name.” Luke 10:17. But that was when Jesus was there in the flesh, as their teacher and mentor. Now He tells them that it is going to be better for them that He is going to go away, because He is going to send the Holy Spirit. John 16:7.
He said ‘You know the Spirit of truth because He has been with you, but He will now be in you,’ John 14:17. So before He ascended He reminded them again saying, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized you with water but in a few days you will be baptized (immersed) with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4,5. And the rest is history. Pentecost came, and the Holy Spirit came too. He came upon the disciples with power, and the young church exploded into life as the apostles preached and did ‘many wonders and miraculous signs.’ Acts 2:43.
So what about us 2000 years later? We read that when Jesus was on earth, He had authority over the natural world, John 2:1-11, over the demonic, Luke 4:33-36, over death, Luke 7:14,15, over religious systems, Luke 6:6-10, and over lives where people welcomed His teaching in their hearts and minds. Luke 19:2-10. But when Jesus was with the disciples one time and they were having difficulty casting a demon out of a little boy, He said to them that their failure in this instance was “because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20-23.
I personally feel that, today, I need to stand there with those disciples and receive that rebuke/challenge? from the Lord. As I wrote yesterday, I believe the Lord is calling us, the church here in England, back to a level of faith and authority that most of us have never experienced. Yesterday we started on the journey to a greater level of faith by thanking Jesus, that He is on the throne, and that we are ‘seated with Him’. Today I think it is about really believing that He is with us, and that His power is readily available to us, the people to whom He has delegated His authority.
Let us thank Him that He said that ‘therefore’ to His disciples before telling them what they were to do. That He still says that ‘therefore’ to us “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations……” If we know that He still has ‘all authority’ we can go in His name telling the good news of the Kingdom and making disciples. We can thank Him for linking our mission to His delegated authority, otherwise we would just be working hard in our own strength, relying on the power of persuasion.
Then as we think about all the areas over which Jesus exercised His authority, and taught the disciples to do the same, let us thank God for the wonderful truth that we are not just His representatives on the earth, with the authority to speak ‘in Jesus name’, but we also have the indwelling Holy Spirit with us to lead us and guide us in order that we should hear in our spirit from heaven, and discern where the Father is wanting us to go and what the Father is wanting us to do, ‘in His name’.