Everybody who taught about God during Jesus’ time was either a mystic, a sorcerer, or teacher of the law of Moses. The mystics and sorcerers had demonic supernatural powers to gain wealth and popularity. The teachers of the law had a stranglehold on common Jews by imposing rules and regulations that they had invented, and had added to what was the scriptures already taught.
These teachers (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes), held important positions of power on the Jewish political scene, and could manipulate the common Jew to do what they wanted, by accusing him of being unholy and unworthy of heaven. They terrorized those who didn’t know the laws of God, by holding them to impossible standards, and extorting money through the buying and selling of livestock to be sacrificed at the temple. The only difference between the demonic sorcerers and the holier-than-thou Pharisees, was that the sorcerers were open about their greed. The Pharisees paraded their humility around, praying loudly in the streets, smearing their faces with ashes and looking miserable when they fasted, with an air of pretentious spirituality.
And then came Jesus. Like a nuclear bomb, His words rattled the false dignity of the Jewish leaders and infuriated them. They couldn’t argue with Him, because everything He said and taught was perfectly aligned with their scriptures. But what He taught was nothing like they had ever known. It was revolutionary, personal and powerful. Everyone who heard Jesus’ words felt their souls were eating and drinking for the first time ever. Jesus didn’t bother with their style of theological debate—it was the Holy Spirit speaking through Him directly to the spirits and souls of His hearers. They were finding God in a deep and personal way. The humble ones drank it up and wanted more. The proud, burned with rage.
And what could they do about those miracles? Who could argue against a flesh and blood fact that a lame man, or a leper, or a blind man, or a dead little girl, was standing right there healthy and strong? His authority was not only compelling to the mind and the heart, the facts were irrefutable!
Some Jewish historians of the first century bitterly accuse the disciples of pretending that Jesus was the Messiah and of starting a false religion. But nowhere among those writings can any accusation be found that Jesus pretended to heal or raise the dead, because those miracles had been witnessed by thousands and no one could deny it.
So logically speaking, if we are now His body, His church, His followers who are called to not only do His works but even greater works (John 14:12), where is our authority? Do we even believe that He granted His same authority to us? Do we know how to use it and amaze others with His power so that He can be glorified? The established Christian church today is a far cry from the kind of ambassador that God wants us to be for this world, that is rapidly heading towards the end times. We need to be the connection to Jesus for others, to show His irrefutable power through our faith, to challenge the weak to stand up and believe and to command demons and principalities to be cast out of our homes, families, jobs and lives. Our words and lives need to be in perfect alignment with His word, and our courage to step out in faith in line with all the examples of the heroes of faith in the Bible. We could bring about a new revolution of faith in our lifetime. Who’s ready?
When the crowds saw it, they were amazed and glorified God who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:8 MEV)