After the seventy disciples had returned they were elated. They spoke to Jesus of the things they had done and the work accomplished saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” (Verse 17) But Jesus provides them with a different and better perspective and gives them a better reason to rejoice.
Power of God
The Lord gave the disciples power to be able to do the work he sent them to do. It is no different with anyone who has to do a job of any kind. If you don’t have the power to do the job then you will fail.
So Jesus gave the disciples the spiritual power to carry out the work he sent them to do. They were told to go out and heal the sick, cast out demons and speak the gospel.
Unfortunately it is too easy to get caught up in the elation of seeing this power go to work and lose sight of what is most important. The most important thing the disciples did and had to do, was to spread the gospel. But we see that their elation on returning was more about the miraculous power they were allowed to work in the name of the Lord.
Certainly it was a wonderful thing, but the message is the key. If they did not have or did not preach the truth of the gospel, then they would not have the power. It is the word of truth that really is the power of what they were doing, not the healings and miracles. Those things only testified to the truth of the word.
Authority of God
In order to carry out God’s work they not only had the power to do the job, they also had the authority. Again we know that if you are told to do a job, you may have the power to do it, but without the authority you will fail.
Jesus gave them tremendous authority along with the power so that they could achieve what he sent them to do. He gave them authority over diseases and unclean spirits as well as, “…authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you.” (Verse 19)
But we see also that the most important authority he gave them was not the miracles but the authority to speak on behalf of the Lord. He told them, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Verse 16)
This is where their authority lay: in speaking on behalf of Jesus and speaking the words of the Gospel. The authority was so great that he handed to the disciples that Jesus showed them that when they were speaking it would be as if He were speaking and if they were accepted or rejected it would be no different than if Jesus and the Father were accepted or rejected.
Messengers of the Lord
The disciples were sent as messengers of the Lord to speak. And Jesus stood behind the message they spoke by giving them the power and authority to speak and backed it up with the signs they carried out.
The key to the work they did was to take the message to the people. It is no different today. As we speak to people our first priority is to speak the truth of the gospel and to stand as witness to Jesus Christ. We are now his messengers on this earth to stand apart from the people of the world as the people of God.
Above all other things this is truly a reason to rejoice for the Lord will give us the power and authority to do the work of ministry today when we are true to the word of the gospel. First find the truth so that you can testify to it and the Lord will bless you as he blessed the seventy telling them to rejoice, not because they had power over demons, but because their names were written in heaven.
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