He Gave Them Power and Authority

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Luke 9:1-6.

When I was a boy, invoking the name of my father gave me power over my siblings. If I gave commands in my own name, I usually got an argument. I also discovered that saying, “If you don’t stop doing that, I’m gonna tell Dad,” was not as powerful as, “Dad said to stop doing that.” One was assumed authority based on my knowledge of what Dad wanted. The other was direct authority. That is the kind of authority Jesus gave His disciples.

Today we have both, because even the assumed authority, based on your knowledge of the will of God, carries the same weight as, “Jesus said to stop doing that,” because He is with us. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” (Mark 16: 19-20).

Where is Your Faith?

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” Luke 8:22-25.

It was not the storm, but the fear, that made Jesus question the faith of His disciples. Why did they think they were perishing if the Lord was with them? They had access to someone who healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out devils.

If you don’t believe in Jesus, you have good reason to fear death. You will cling to a paper mask as your blessed hope, and think anyone else a fool who doesn’t do the same. But if you do believe, threats to your life are an opportunity to put your faith on display! As Peter wrote us, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).

When the world is losing its mind with fear, show them your faith. You may be mocked and ridiculed, but take it as a badge of honor. This is your chance to shine as someone whose hope is in an eternal kingdom, while you critics tremble.

Attributes and Effects of the Word

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:16-21.

After the parable of the sower, Jesus did not move on to a different subject. He is still talking about the word of God. It is meant to be revealed, to shed light. It is not a possession to be held in safekeeping. Not only is it to be openly manifested. It is to be acted on. It is what makes you part of God’s family. So, if you only hear the word of God as a nicestory, or lovely poetry, instead of rules to live by, that light actually becomes darkness.

“Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.” (Proverbs 1:24-27).

The Secrets of the Kingdom

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:4-15.

This is such an important teaching that it appears in Matthew and Mark, also. It is about the word of God and how people respond to it. For some, it just bounces right off of them. They do not believe. For others, they believe until it’s easier to believe something else. For yet others, they believe, but they believe a lot of other things, too. But then there are those who remain focused on the truth, and it bears fruit.

I once grew 50 tomato plants just to make sure I got fruit. About half of them died, half of those gave me some fruit, and half of those made the whole enterprise worthwhile. God knows that most people are going to reject His word, flame out early, or take up other gods along the way. But the ones who bear fruit are highly prized.

What kind of fruit is He after? First, the fruit of the spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23.) This is what makes our fruit delicious. The second is also important. Fruit has within it the seeds of reproduction. Good fruit is not some neutered hybrid that cannot produce more plants. It potentially has a huge harvest over generations. That is why it is important to share the word of God. It is our purpose.

Appreciating Your Salvation

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:36-50.

I have little to say because Jesus already taught the lesson. The question is, how do we apply this in our cultural of careless sin? Have we any concept of the danger we were in? In order to do that, we do not so much have to magnify the wretchedness of our lives as we must consider the holiness of our God. If we believe our God is too busy to notice our sin, we may cheat on Him regularly. If we understand His perfection, and the depth of His love for us, and then consider our own lives and our shallow regard for Him, we can only be amazed that He doesn’t kick us to the curb.

You and I were in the gutter. Instead of leaving us there, he has pulled us out and made us His heirs.