At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus set out on a mission to first recruit disciples for his kingdom, and when he found those he had chosen, he said unto them, Matthew 4:19 “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Upon hearing theses words these twelve men knew it would be a mission for which they will have to lay down their lives. And the common bond they had together, was their desire to see the kingdom of God.
Upon hearing the call of Jesus and desiring to see the kingdom of God come into focus, they left everything behind to follow him. And leaving everything behind, they went out with Jesus into the wilderness to be taught and trained by him. And as they go, Jesus demonstrated the power of his kingdom in the presence of his disciples.
Now, after demonstrating he was God’s Messiah, and helping them to grow in their faith. It was time for the disciples of Jesus to put what they had learned into practice. Luke 9:1-2 reads, “Then Jesus called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”
Jesus sent his disciples out among the people to preach the kingdom, that is, to implement the policies of the kingdom of God so that anyone choosing to come under the policies of his kingdom might benefit from its reality.
Therefore, as they go proclaiming the policies of God’s coming kingdom, they are to heal the sick and raise the dead. For in the kingdom of God to come, the policy and benefit for everyone is life and health. In the kingdom of God to come, there will be no more death and dying. And no more sorrows. So, as they go about the business of the kingdom, they were to heal the sick and raise the dead among the people.
But Jesus also knew not everyone would accept them nor his kingdom. Thus, he told his disciples, Luke 9:3-5, “Take nothing for your journey, neither staves nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And, whatsoever house you enter into, there abide and then depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”
Now, having this authority, the disciples of Jesus who had seen the manifestation of the kingdom of God through Jesus went out into every town and city preaching the gospel of the kingdom. And as they go, they did what Jesus had instructed them to do according to the training they had received, and the authority given to them. And with great joy, the disciples returned to Jesus with the good news.
But why was it important for Jesus to have put his disciples through this type of training and to enforce their faith by giving them the authority to perform the powers of the kingdom? If we understand what took place some short time later, we will know that Jesus was calling them to complete the work of the kingdom after he had completed his part of his mission.
Some time later, Jesus would lay down his life and rose again to make way for our eternal redemption. However, the work was not yet complete because for the kingdom to come into focus the disciples of Jesus are to work to establish the kingdom in preparation for the return of their king Jesus.
So, when we think about the work of the Church, we are not to shy away from the reality God has given us a kingdom to manage, and a kingdom we are to bring into focus. And if we are going to bring the kingdom into focus, we can in no way comply with the policies of the world.
Jesus told us from the beginning of his ministry, Matthew 5:17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” And who do we believe will help see this through? It is the disciples of Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not come to do away with the law, he came to enforce the law that shows he is the only savior and king. And because Jesus Christ is the King of kings, he is sending us out into the world to enforce his policies. And to show Jesus is King, he gave us the authority to perform the miracles of his kingdom that is also the evidence of his judgment to come against those who had seen and experienced the powers of the age to come.