Today: [Luke 9 Part 1] What if You Have No Power? In Luke 9, Jesus gives the disciples power and sends them out to preach. Do you have power? Could you prove by pointing to demons cast out, or sickness healed? We do a disservice when we preach without power or try to testify to the good news without any authority over the devil. In this chapter we consider how Jesus prepared his men to go into the world, and how we might be prepared as well.
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[Luk 9:1-27 KJV] 1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for [your] journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. 5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. 6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. 7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; 8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. 9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him. 10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 And the people, when they knew [it], followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. 12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. 13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. 14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets. 18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some [say], Elias; and others [say], that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded [them] to tell no man that thing; 22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
In verse 1 of chapter 9 of Luke we see that Jesus gives the disciples “power and authority” over all devils and to cure diseases. The original language wording here is important. Matthew uses only the term power as defined by “exousia” which means “authority” or “privilege to act” like physician who has privileges to practice at a certain hospital. This word “exousia” is also used in Mark. In v. 1 here however, the word authority (exousia) and power (dunamis) is used to describe how Jesus empowered the 12 over the demonic and to effect healing of disease. The word dunamis means “inherent power” or we might say “raw power, in itself”. The power and authority Jesus conveyed to the 12 is inherent in the fullness of the Spirit we receive when we are baptized in the Holy Ghost. In Acts 1:8 when Jesus sent the disciples to wait on the outpouring of the Spirit, the promise was that they would receive “power” or DUNAMIS to be His witnesses. Why do we need power and what are we to do with it?
We need power from on high and we have been given power from on high because we live in a fallen world, in an environment hostile to faith and alien to the promises of God. Notice in Luke 9:1 that the power came before the preaching. He gave them power and then sent them to preach. There are many who preach that have no power, but the commission to preach is invalid without the power to heal the sick and cast out devils. You shouldn’t be preaching if you aren’t able to cast out devils or heal the sick. If you aren’t healing the sick and casting out devils then you need to go find someone who is and have them lay hands on you before you preach because preaching without power to heal the sick and cast out devils is not what Jesus sent them or has sent you to do. If you aren’t casting out devils and healing the sick then you are not ready to preach just as these were not ready until they had spent time with Jesus, observing how He cast out devils and healed the sick until Jesus decides they were ready. If you are sitting under a minister who doesn’t heal the sick or cast out devils is there any wonder you aren’t walking in power and seeing the miraculous in your life? Things are the way they are because of what you are doing. If you want something different you must do something different. If you aren’t doing something different it because in reality you are willing to accept a powerless, anemic, religious existence (God help us all).
In sending them out Jesus tells them to make no provision beforehand. Why? Did He expect them to minister without provisions for the journey, without a walking stick, without scrip, or bread or even a coat to keep them warm? Religious mentalities hate this question. The reason they were to go out without prior provision is because the people they ministered to were to be expected to support and further the work by what they were willing to give. Again, in today’s world missionaries are not allowed to go into the mission field by their missions boards unless they do exactly the opposite of what Jesus commands here. A missionary is required to itinerate to as many churches as necessary AHEAD OF TIME before they go to the mission field. They go to a church, show some slides of grass huts and African savannah, then ask the congregation to help them do exactly what Jesus commanded them not to do. Then the church has the audacity to claim it is supporting the work of God. We need to change our thinking about money and the ministry. We need to strip away this idol, the demon of greed and avarice that rejoices when a sports figure makes an obscene amount for throwing a ball but complains when a pastor shops somewhere other than Walmart or drives something other than a beat up old used car (heaven help us!).
Jesus gives a further instruction that is seldom heeded in verses 4-5. He says if they go to a house or a city and are not received, they are to shake the dust off their feet and move on to the next opportunity.
Quite the opposite today, ministers will complain that they have labored in one church, or one city for years without success yet they don’t realize they did so in defiance of the instructions of Christ. If you are in a church or situation or city that doesn’t receive you or make room for your ministry one of two things is going on: 1.) either you are not called, or premature in your calling and need some training – in which case you know what you need to do; or 2.) you need to leave that place of opposition and go find a fishing hole where the fish are biting and people are looking at what is coming out of your mouth as very God and receiving what you say and rejoicing at the gospel God has given. Because of timidy, fear and sometimes tepid commitment or laziness many gospel workers just shrug their shoulders, sit down and do nothing till Jesus comes because it’s too hard or demanding. Don’t be this person! Get out of that hostile place, cold dead church and obey God.
In verse 19 after the disciples return bringing word of their success, and also the death of John the Baptist, Jesus asks the 12 “whom say ye that I am…” Peter immediately answers “the Christ of God…” to which Jesus strictly charges them to keep that to themselves for now, and to disclose to them that because of who He is, He will suffer many things, be kills and be raised the third day. This isn’t what the disciples wanted to hear. Instead of allaying their fears, Jesus in v. 23 informs them that not only were there things ahead for Him that would be unpleasant and challenging, but if they were to follow Him they would likewise have their cross to bear, even on a daily basis.
Now let’s ask the question, what is your cross? Many read this and think they are entering into the sufferings of Jesus. They think they have cancer for Jesus, or poverty for Jesus, or some such thing. That is a lie, a religious deception. Jesus didn’t say you were to carry HIS cross, you are to carry YOUR CROSS. When Jesus carried His cross, He took stripes for your healing. He became poor so that you could be rich. You aren’t capable of carrying that cross, because you were born in sin. You cannot pay for your sins or anyone elses with your own suffering. Your cross is one thing, Jesus’ cross is another. What is your cross then? It is the circumstances of life, persecution and rejection that comes upon those who choose to put God first and follow Him in all things. You will be rejected. You will be hated. You will be maligned and slandered, if you are to do anything or be anything in the kingdom. That is your cross. This is what Jesus meant when He elucidates His meaning regarding carrying your cross by speaking in terms of the disciples not being ashamed of Him before men. The cross you bear, in the context of Christ’s own words has nothing to do with God suspending the merits of the shed blood of Calvary where you are concerned. Your cross is the fallout imposed upon you by friends, family by sinful men because of your testimony for Jesus. That cross we must be willing to bear if we are to give up the advantages of the world to serve the purposes of God in the kingdom.