“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” —Matthew 10:8
When the Lord Jesus called the twelve disciples and sent them out to the house of Israel (Matthew 10:1, 6), He also “gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction,” and to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:1, 8, ESV). These men were not going out to meet felt needs. They were sent to proclaim the kingdom of heaven, as it is written in Matthew 10:7,
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, and casting out demons were the signs of the disciples’ authority; that they were truly sent by the very same Jesus of Nazareth who healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed lepers and cast out demons. The work of their ministry authenticated the gospel they preached.
There’s been a lot of talk about Christian “authenticity” in past few years; and this current “authentic” buzz word has been expressed by and large as the outward ministry of those professing to be disciples of Christ. Please don’t misunderstand; I do believe that there should be, and will be, work produced from real saving faith, for saving faith does not abide alone. Nevertheless, God’s authority comes from His Word alone, and it has been most especially reinforced through the illumination that comes by the truth of Christ’s finished work upon the cross. Therefore, true Christian authenticity must have its origin in the Word of God and must never stray from the counsel, commands, and corrections in scripture.
Our authority, our authenticity, and our rejoicing is not found in what we have done by the mercy and grace of God; rather it is found in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation that unveil Christ and Him crucified, for it is His atoning sacrifice, through the truth of His Word, which has given us citizenship in heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.