Try to get onto any military base in the United States and you will get questioned as to your business, that is unless you have a military identification card. The guards at the gate are given a great deal of authority to allow cars to enter, to pull to the side and receive a pass, or to be turned away all together. Responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the base lies at the highest echelon of command on the instillation, but the authority is filtered down through the levels of command to those standing guard at the gate.
The guards that occupy the east and west gates of our community are no different. They have been given the authority to allow entrance or turn away cars. In both of these examples, authority is used to protect individuals from evil in our midst.
When Jesus cast a demon out of man who could not speak and was blind (Matt 12:22) His authority was questioned by the religious elite – the Pharisees. They accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Satan, from which He (Jesus) received the power and authority. We can almost laugh at the blindness created by their hatred for Jesus. He had already cleansed a man of leprosy, a disease considered to be caused by egregious sin against God. To be cleansed, divine intervention had to occur, and then the circumstances of the cleansing had to be investigated by the High Priest, according to the Levitical law. If the High Priest questioned Jesus and the disciples about the cleansing (and we must assume there was an investigation), it would have been determined the only logical answer was to acknowledge Jesus’ divinity. But as we know, instead of adoration there was only accusation by the religious leaders.
So here we have Jesus casting out a demon under very specific circumstances (mute/blind person) – an act only the divine could perform. Instead of praising Jesus and acknowledging Him and His authority over all of creation, they accused Him of deriving His power from Satan himself. We can shake our heads, but their denial of this miracle and the power of Jesus AND the Holy Spirit was an egregious sin in and of itself.
Do we have the authority to do things in this world? Authority can be passed down as in my original example of the guards on a military base. But has authority given to Jesus been passed down to us?
Jesus told His disciples just before His ascension into heaven “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore to and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:18,19). Jesus gave His disciples the authority to spread the Good News and do many things, and it is the same authority given to us today.
We need to acknowledge not only the power we have to move mountains, but most importantly the Person from which we derive this power!