“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1–2, NIV84)
Jesus was getting ready to send out the twelve apostles for the first time on their own. It was time for the students to go out and practice what they had learned. It was time for them to practice what they believed and had been taught. I remember still today the feeling I had when, after 6 years of schooling, I finally had my vicarage/intern year. All of a sudden I was out of the classroom and into the real world. It was a pretty intimidating experience. Do you recall the first time Jesus called you out of training mode and in to ministry mode? All of a sudden you weren’t just growing from your personal time with Jesus, but now He had placed people in your life who needed you to minister to them. Pretty intimidating, wasn’t it?
But we made it through the experience. As we look back it wasn’t as bad as we feared. Why? Because Jesus is faithful to His promise to never leave us alone. He gave the disciples, as He gives you and me today, the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to do what He called us to do. It was more about letting God use us as His instrument than it was about us accomplishing something on our own.
But let’s be certain about what the call is. The call is to “preach the kingdom of God.” The healings and exorcisms are simply signs of the kingdom of God. The key is to introduce the kingdom of God to people so that they too might be redeemed and saved for all eternity. A healing only lasts for a time. Even Lazarus, who died and was raised from the dead, died again. Eternal destiny is the focus of the ministry of the kingdom of God. As we allow the Spirit of God to work in and through our lives that work has eternal implications.
Like the disciples, you and I have been called to the highest purpose!