Daily Reading & Meditation

 Thursday (February 5):  Jesus gave them authority over sickness and unclean spirits

Scripture:  Mark 6:7-13

7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them." 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

Meditation: What kind of authority and power does the Lord want you to exercise on his behalf? Jesus gave his apostles both the power and the authority to speak and to act in his name. He commanded them to do the works which he did - to heal the sick. to cast out evil spirits, and to speak the word of God - the good news of the gospel which they received from Jesus. When Jesus spoke of power and authority he did something unheard of. He wedded power and authority with self-sacrificing love and humility. The "world" and the "flesh" seek power for selfish gain. Jesus teaches us to use it for the good of our neighbor.

Why does Jesus tell the apostles to "travel light" with little or no provision? "Poverty of spirit" frees us from greed and preoccupation with our possessions and makes ample room for God's provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. Are you ready to use the spiritual authority and power which God wishes you to exercise on his behalf? The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and talents. Are you eager to place yourself at his service, to do whatever he bids you, and to witness his truth and saving power to whomever he sends you?

"Lord Jesus, make me a channel of your healing power and merciful love that others may find abundant life and freedom in you. Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the treasure of your heavenly kingdom. May I witness the joy of the Gospel both in word and deed."

Psalm 48:2-11

2 Beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.
3 Within her citadels God has shown himself a sure defense.
4 For behold, the kings assembled, they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded, they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in travail.
7 By the east wind you did shatter the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God establishes for ever. [Selah]
9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.
10 As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory;
11 let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments!

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Jesus gives them power to heal and cast out evil spirits, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)

"The grace bestowed upon the holy apostles is worthy of all admiration. But the bountifulness of the Giver surpasses all praise and admiration. He gives them, as I said, his own glory. They receive authority over the evil spirits. They reduce to nothing the pride of the devil that was so highly exalted and arrogant. They render ineffectual the demonís wickedness. By the might and efficacy of the Holy Spirit, burning them as if they were on fire, they make the devil come forth with groans and weeping from those whom he had possessed...

"He glorified his disciples, therefore, by giving them authority and power over the evil spirits and over sicknesses. Did he honor them without reason and make them famous without any logical cause? How can this be true? It was necessary, most necessary, that they should be able to work miracles, having been publicly appointed ministers of sacred proclamations. By means of their works, they then could convince men that they were the ministers of God and mediators of all beneath the heaven. The apostles then could invite them all to reconciliation and justification by faith and point out the way of salvation and of life that is this justification." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 47)

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author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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