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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Authority and Power

Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. (Mark 6:7, NIV)

Do you remember the name of the 15th president of the United States? No?

How about the 16th president? Sure! Abraham Lincoln!

Why don’t we remember the president before Lincoln, James Buchanan? The answer has to do with authority and power.

Buchanan and Lincoln had the same constitutional authority. They held the same office. So, the difference between them did not relate to authority. Rather, only one of them fully exercised the power of his office.

Jesus had authority and power. Look at how Mark’s Gospel has shown us His delivering power over the demoniac in the Capernaum synagogue (1:21-28) and the wild maniacal Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20).

However, Jesus did not reserve the exercise of His authority and power to himself alone. When Jesus first appointed the Twelve as apostles, He did so that He “might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (3:14,15).

There it is — they had been given the authority; but until now they had not exercised it.

Therefore, this sending out of the Twelve shows us the first operational aspect of the authority given earlier in Mark 3:14,15. Now the Twelve were to actually go out and do what Jesus had said they would do.

There’s often a gap in Christian ministry and life between the authority to do something and the implementation of that authority. Authority must be exercised or it remains latent. The Holy Spirit is given in order that the life, teaching and power of Jesus may be exercised through us, His people. If we become spiritual James Buchanans — holding the “office” of Christian but not exercising its power — then those around us will never know that Jesus is Lord.

This passage from Mark also shows how integral a component to ministry is the deliverance of those with evil spirits. The wording here is very terse: “And gave them authority over evil spirits.” It’s foreign to any modern way of thinking. We relegate all life-controlling addictions or abnormal acting out to the solutions of medication, therapy and counseling. And there is truly a place of this when the diagnosis justifies.

However, evil spirits also exist and may possess individuals. Nothing less than exorcism will cure. If evil spirits were real to Jesus, shouldn’t they also be real to us? All Christians have the authority to deal with evil spirits, but that authority is Buchanan-like unless there is the exercise of power. That’s why Jesus later tells the disciples that driving out evil spirits can only be done through prayer (9:29), and why He instructs them after the Ascension to wait in Jerusalem until they have received power from on high (Luke 24:49).

Jesus also sent the Twelve out two by two. There’s strength in that because such a coupling both encourages and corrects. If one gets discouraged, the other can encourage; if one steps out of line, the other can pull back in.

In sending out the Twelve, Jesus clearly is expanding His mission. That mission continues today as we, His 21st-century disciples, go out to do His work. There’s evil around you somewhere today, and the Lord wants you to address it.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to clearly identify the areas I face where evil spirits or where just plain evil lies behind the visible, and grant that I am empowered by Your Spirit to exercise both power and authority. Work with Your strength through me.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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