Wednesday (July 11): Jesus gives his disciples authority to heal and set free
Scripture: Matthew 10:1-7
1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Meditation: Do you believe in the life-changing power of the Gospel and experience its transforming effect in your life? The core of the Gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom (or reign) of God is very near! What is the kingdom of God? It is that society of men and women who know God's love and mercy, and who willingly obey and honor God as their Lord and King. In the prayer which Jesus gave to his disciples (the Lord's Prayer or Our Father), he taught them to pray for God to reign in their daily lives and in the world around them: May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The power of the Gospel to heal and set free When Jesus proclaimed the good news of God's kingdom he also demonstrated the power of the Gospel with supernatural signs and wonders. Jesus healed people who suffered physical, emotional, and mental illnesses. He freed people from spiritual bondage to sin and demonic powers. Jesus gave his disciples the same authority he had to heal and set people free from spiritual bondage.
The Gospel (which literally means "good news") which Jesus proclaimed is just as relevant and real today, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. If we believe in the Lord Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, and in the power of the Gospel, we will know and experience the freedom, joy, and power he gives us that enables us to live and witness as his disciples. No one can buy heaven; but if we know the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, then we already possess heaven in our hearts! Do you believe that Jesus can change and transform your life and share with you the power and authority of God's kingdom?
Jesus chose ordinary people to do extraordinary work Jesus commissioned his disciples to carry on the works which he did - to speak God's word and to bring his healing power to the weary and oppressed. In the choice of the twelve apostles we see a characteristic feature of God's work - Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, had no wealth or privileged position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages.
Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power. When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not think we have nothing or very little to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you believe that God wants to work in and through you for his glory?
"Lord Jesus, you have chosen me to be your disciple. Take and use what I can offer, however meager it may seem, for the greater glory of your name."
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! 4 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually! 5 Remember the wonderful works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, 6 O offspring of Abraham his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! 7 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Jesus empowers his disciples to act in his name, by John Chrysostom (347-407 AD)
" If the Spirit had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified, how then did the disciples cast out the unclean spirits? They did this by his own command, by the Son s authority.2 Note the careful timing of their mission. They were not sent out at the beginning of their walk with him. They were not sent out until they had sufficiently benefited by following him daily. It was only after they had seen the dead raised, the sea rebuked, devils expelled, the legs of a paralytic brought to life, sins remitted, lepers cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of his power both by deeds and words - only then did he send them out. And he did not send them out unprepared to do dangerous deeds, for as yet there was no danger in Palestine. They had only to stand against verbal abuse. However, Jesus still warned them of larger perils to come, preparing them for what was future." (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 32.3)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.