Our Commission?

Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the multitudes, “for they were weary and scatter, like sheep having no shepherd” (9:36). Observing such needs, He commanded His disciples to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (9:38). But that was not all. He immediately began to answer His own prayer, by calling and commissioning twelve of His followers to expand His own ministry. Let’s look first at what He commissioned them to do: Cast out evil spirits and heal all sorts of illness and disease, just as Jesus Himself had been doing from the beginning of His ministry (4:23-24; 8:1-17; 9:1-8, 18-35). Why was deliverance from demons and disease so important to our Lord? Because in this way He demonstrated the truth of His primary message, which was the same message He commanded His disciples to convey: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (4:17; 10:7). Long held in bondage to sin and Satan, this tired earth was now being liberated by the true King, Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit, He and his disciples expelled demons from anguished souls and cured the sick of all sorts of ailments. Exorcism and healing demonstrate both the pity and the power of our God. He does care, and He can deliver! Some Christians today doubt whether we are to ask God to work such miracles of spiritual and physical deliverance and healing. They say that these things were only for the first century, to authenticate the message of Christ and the Apostles. But has God’s pity or His power changed? And do not millions still languish in bondage to evil spirits and illness? Most doubters live in the secularized West. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, God continues to reveal His wonder-working power and His compassionate pity when His people call upon Him in faith.