By Whose Authority?

Key Text:  Luke 11:14-28

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.  But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.  If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul.  Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.  But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

They had a serious question for Jesus.  Today we might put it this way:

“Jesus, just who do you think you are, anyway?”

Two thousand years later, people are still asking that of Jesus.

Jesus, “By whose authority do you…”

  • Teach
  • Heal
  • Exorcise
  • Preach
  • Save

The answer He gave then is the answer He still gives – He does it by “the finger of God” and this is how we can know “the Kingdom of God has come upon” us.

We too, when we act “in the name of Christ” carry out an authoritative, powerful ministry.

Some don’t recognize its authenticity or power.  That is just how it is.

But that doesn’t change what in reality is happening.

God is powerfully at work in the work bringing His kingdom upon earth as it is in heaven.

We can either be a part of that powerful work or not.  The choice is ours.

Which shall it be?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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