Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter and his friends were willing to fight to see the reality of the promised kingdom, and they were willing to fight and lay down their lives for Jesus. But upon realizing Jesus was not willing to fight with the sword, they were reluctant to submit to the authority of Jesus.
Knowing this was in the hearts of his disciples, Jesus challenged his disciples by asking, “Who do you say that I am?” Later he would ask them, “Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I command?” Before his resurrection and the outpouring of the power of God upon the lives of his disciples, they were unwilling to die for Jesus, however, this was no longer an issue for the disciples, as witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, they had a renewed heart.
The disciples of Jesus were no longer reluctant to submit to Jesus, they were now fully committed to doing whatever Jesus commands them to do. They were no longer surprised they were able to drive out demons. Before this moment of change, they had reluctantly gone throughout the towns proclaiming the message of Jesus, and returning to Jesus said, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”
Jesus knowing the shallowness of their faith said in reply, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” In his response to his disciples, Jesus reinforces their confidence in his person, and he did this as he reveals the authority, he gave them to reign and rule with him.
The problem the disciples of Jesus had before the death and resurrection of Jesus was their confidence in Jesus. Although Jesus told them they had this kind of authority, the authority to drive out demons and heal the sick. The disciples of Jesus did not believe. And because they did not believe they had this authority in the kingdom of God, nor that Jesus was able to leverage such authority on them; approaching the kingdom of God they had no confidence.
As a result, they failed to cast out the demon that troubled the young boy brought to them, a performance that caused Jesus to become frustrated with them. Jesus had said, “If you are my friend, you will do as I asked.” Because as disciples, they were unwilling to place their confidence in him as their Lord.
But now that Jesus has revealed through his resurrection he is indeed God and Lord, without a doubt in their hearts, the disciples of Jesus took counsel in his words and standing on the authority of Jesus they received the promise of God, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they began to proclaim the gospel of Jesus not short of healing the sick, casting out devils, and raising the dead.
Jesus was among his disciples, as he is with us today, but as believers do we have the faith to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead? Do we believe Jesus is truly the Messiah, God’s promise to redeem the world who has called on us to bring forth fruit showing we have repented?
Before leaving his disciples behind, Jesus leaves these words with them. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in the earth.” Jesus is the final authority, He is our Lord, and because he wanted to remind us of what it means to have faith in God and his son, Jesus wanted us to know if we believe in him, we will stand on his authority.
If we truly believe Jesus is Lord, we will have a change of heart and mind that is willing to lay down our lives for him, a mind transformed, a believing mind and heart he can use to cast out demons, heal the sick, and raise the dead. Because to believe in Christ, is not to accept Jesus as our savior and failing to do the things he commands in his authority and name. Jesus said, if we are careful to do the things he commands, we will be like the wise man who built his house upon a rock that was able to withstand the storm sent against it, but if we refuse to obey his words, believe in him, “ Why do we call Him Lord and do not the things he commands?”