by Pastor Jim Strelan
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He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits (Mark 6:7).
How are you with authority? There are lots of people who have authority, and generally, we accept that. The government, the police, parents and those in schools have a hierarchy of authority going from the top and moving down to even the student body. Martin Luther taught that all those earthly authorities are extensions of God. Whether they recognise it or not, they work on behalf of God.
Jesus sends his disciples out, and he gives them authority. Their authority is not to do with their own abilities. It’s not to do with how much they have or how much they own – ‘take nothing for the journey except a staff’ (Mark 6:8). It doesn’t depend on their training or particular expertise. They go with the authority of Jesus, and in that authority, they drive out demons and heal the sick.
How are you with authority in your faith journey? Sometimes we can think that it’s only certain people who have this kind of authority. We can think that it’s only the pastor who has that authority, and we insist the pastor must be of a particular gender. But the authority is not the disciples’. Without the authority of Jesus, the disciples would have been timid and ineffective. It is the authority of Jesus, and it’s the highest authority there is. He gives it, and they go out in his name and do things they wouldn’t have thought conceivable.
We are to respect all authority that acts for the common good. The authority of Jesus is the highest of all, and he gives it to those who want to serve on his behalf – even you.
Jesus, I acknowledge that all authority is yours. Thank you for empowering all those who act in your name, even me. Amen.