Friday, March 4, 2011
Releasing Others From Judgment
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
Wherever Jesus went, he healed and cast out demons. But he did not do this by the knowledge or power of human beings. Instead he depended on the Father, speaking by his authority over the spirit world, delivering people from their ailments caused by the spirit world. Some followed him because of his teaching, but most people followed Jesus because they wanted him to perform a miracle and to show his authority. But Jesus did not do the work because he wanted to give a show. Rather, he had real compassion on the people who came to him and wanted to see them be delivered (Matthew 14:14; Luke 7:12-16)
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk '?
The illnesses that Jesus cured were seen as caused by spirits who were given opportunity to judge people because of their sins. When people came to be healed, they were looking for mercy from the One who allowed them to be judged because of their sin, or the sin of their community. Here, a group of people are going to Jesus with one of their friends, asking for forgiveness for all of them, although only one was punished. Jesus gave them forgiveness—telling the man that he was acceptable to the Lord. As a sign of that acceptance, he commanded the spirit world to release the man from his infirmity.
There was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your sickness."
This woman had a back pain, but it was clear that this was an infirmity caused by Satan as a judgement. Jesus insisted that the woman be healed immediately because she had suffered long enough under Satan’ judgment. So Jesus commanded the spirit world to release her from judgement and so she knew that she was acceptable before the Lord.
"If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house."
Jesus said, that if a slave is to be delivered, the master of the slave must first be bound and placed under the authority of the one delivering the slave. Jesus came to deliver people from slavery of sin and Satan. But Jesus first has to bind the master of the person—the one who is controlling them through judgement from the spirit world. Jesus releases people from the judgement and gives them an opportunity to be a slave of God.
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.
The authority over the spirit world that Jesus had, he passes on to others. And so the followers of Jesus are to use that authority to set people free from the bondages of evil spirits. However, Jesus said, we are not to be impressed with ourselves because we are able to do that. Rather, we are to rejoice that it indicates that God has accepted us and will receive us into his kingdom.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.
In being able to control spirits, there are many sicknesses and even deaths that we can reverse. We have to be aware and listen to the Spirit to determine when we are to do this.
"These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Every believer has some authority over the spirit world, granted to them by their Lord Jesus. Signs will follow every believer that they are people who are powerful in the Spirit world.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Our task is not to battle against other people, as if we were warriors on the earth. Rather, we are to be fighting for people’s lives in the spirit realm. We are to battle against spiritual forces, which, in some ways, are more powerful and dangerous than anything we have on earth.
• After receiving the Spirit, Peter met many opportunities to heal and to release people from spiritual judgement. He taught about Jesus, but he also healed a paralytic, he raised a woman from the dead, and healed many others by the authority given to him by Jesus.
• Paul also healed many and cast out many demons. He wrote that a sign of a true apostle is “miracles.” He was deeply concerned about others but he primarily used his authority granted to him by Jesus to build up the kingdom of God.
Living It Out
• Look for how people are bound by Satan. Most everyone has at least one area of bondage, more often than not many more. But don’t assume that you know what their bondage is—sometimes one sin pattern is covering up a deeper bondage and sometimes it is difficult to see at all. Everyone, before they come to the Lord, is bound by Satan and sin and that bondage is displayed. If one says that they have never needed to be delivered from anything, then it probably means that they still need to be delivered from something.
• When you speak the gospel, pray for others. Speaking the gospel and prayer go hand in hand. To speak a message of deliverance means to pray for deliverance and to see God’s kingdom at work in our lives.
• Speak by the authority given to us by Jesus. We need to remember that we ourselves do not have the authority necessary to command the spirit world to do anything. Only Jesus gives us the power to do this and so we must use that power only for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom and for love of others, even as Jesus’ commanded.
• Don’t overstep your authority. If you do not have the authority to command spirits, don’t. If you attempt to command spirits that have not judged anyone unjustly, then they do not need to listen to you. Take care, as well, not do disrespect any spiritual authority.
• Be alert! Take care in attacking the spirits to realize that you will be attacked as well. Be aware of these attacks and do not allow them to overwhelm you. Cry out to the Lord for deliverance.