Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
After Jesus gave supernatural power and authority to the Twelve, He sent them out not simply to “preach the gospel,” but rather to “proclaim the kingdom of God.” What is the difference between the two?
The gospel of course involves Jesus Christ who died on the cross to bear our sins, who rose from the dead, and who later ascended to heaven. But the proclamation of the KINGDOM OF GOD takes it further. It speaks of Christ who is seated at the right hand of the Father, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and to whom has been given ALL AUTHORITY.
Since a king by definition has authority over his subjects, the term KINGDOM carries the inescapable connotation of AUTHORITY. And a measure of that authority has been given to the disciples of Jesus Christ.
We proclaim the One True God who created the heavens and the earth, and who therefore has ALL AUTHORITY. Therefore if we want to proclaim His KINGDOM effectively and fruitfully, it must be done not only with words—but also with a demonstration of His visible AUTHORITY.
That is exactly what Jesus did in Luke 9:1-2 above. He enabled his disciples to demonstrate that the KINGDOM of the One True God was near—a KINGDOM very different and far greater than the powerless false beliefs, witchcraft, and idolatry which prevailed over the people. Such traditional beliefs clearly lack KINGDOM authority and a demonstration thereof. But Jesus gave His disciples supernatural AUTHORITY to heal the sick and cast out demons as irrefutable evidence to the lost that the one and only true KINGDOM—the Kingdom of God—was near. Traditional beliefs and practices were completely helpless to perform the eye-opening miracles which Jesus did—and which Jesus enabled and later commanded the 72 disciples to perform.
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Therefore in the context of proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost, we are to heal the sick with SUPERNATURAL AUTHORITY by issuing COMMANDS to infirmities and demons in the name of Jesus Christ. When miraculous healings take place, the people will know that the KINGDOM of the One True God has come near to them. It is demonstrably a KINGDOM completely different from the powerless beliefs they have embraced for millennia. The unprecedented miraculous healings will convince many to follow Him.
Mark 2:10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
By contrast, traditional beliefs might involve prayers to various gods—gods which more often than not cannot answer the supplications of their devotees. Such beliefs might also involve sacrifices to gain the favor of the demons, begging them to relent from their attacks on their victims—clearly showing that they have no authority and unlike Christ’s disciples are actually under the authority of the demons. They involve the wearing of fetishes and amulets which hopefully will ward off attacks by demonic beings. In all of these approaches there is no hint of AUTHORITY being exercised. What is the significance of that?
True AUTHORITY is the realm only of the One True God who created the heavens and the earth. To his servants He has given AUTHORITY over demons and disease to be used as evidence to the world that His KINGDOM is near through Jesus Christ, the King of kings.
That is why Jesus did not teach His disciples to “pray to God for the sick and leave the results up to Him” when proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost. Jesus wanted His disciples as His ambassadors to demonstrate real and actual AUTHORITY when proclaiming the gospel of the KINGDOM—by issuing authoritative commands which would be obeyed by diseases and demons. The resulting miracles through the use of AUTHORITY would be the evidence that the “KINGDOM OF GOD has come near.”
This is how the message we proclaim is so different from the message of false religions and traditional beliefs on the Third World mission field. Not only is the message different, but the proclamation itself is different. Our proclamation contains not only the Word of life, but also the ACTUAL DEMONSTRATION that the Word is the way, the life, and the truth. Through the use of KINGDOM AUTHORITY demons are supernaturally cast out and infirmities miraculously healed. With false religions and traditional beliefs in the Third World such a proclamation is totally absent.
Missionaries and workers are therefore to be taught the effective use of this KINGDOM AUTHORITY in the proclamation of the message to the lost.
If we rely only on good works and friendship evangelism—and leave out the PROCLAMATION as Jesus commanded—we will be frustrated in our ministries and will not witness the harvests achieved by the early disciples in Acts.
Matthew 24:14 And this GOSPEL of the KINGDOM will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.