Yesterday we ended by mentioning the first part of Christ’s authority, which is his authority in heaven. Today we look at the other three.
2. Authority over spiritual forces. Jesus’ claim to have been given all authority in heaven probably extends also to what in other passages are described as principalities and powers, that is, all spiritual forces, including those which are demonic. Paul wrote about these in Ephesians 6 in his classic description of the Christian’s warfare: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (v. 12).
In that great challenge to evangelism just before His ascension, known as the Great Commission, Jesus commanded that His disciples disciple others. They were to lead them to faith through the preaching of the gospel, bring them into the fellowship of the church through the initiatory rite of baptism, and then, within that fellowship, continue to teach them all that Jesus had commanded them. He promised that He would be with them always as they did this.
Christ’s words to the disciples in Mark 10:29, 30 are not just an encouragement to serve Christ, important as that is. They are also an encouragement to trust Him through difficult times. We can hardly escape this point since the Lord links His promise of blessings to the phrase “and with them, persecutions,” thereby indicating that although He undertakes to bless us abundantly with homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and even fields, we will not enjoy these without the persecutions that inevitably come to any true follower of Christ. We will continue to have hardships until we come to possess our full inheritance in the presence of Jesus Himself in heaven.
2. Certain blessings. It is not only the greatness of the blessings promised by Jesus that encourage us in His service. Their security encourages us too. The young man turned away from Christ because he was unwilling to part with his possessions, but it is an irony of the story that he turned from possessions which were certain to possessions which were at best uncertain. Maybe he lost those possessions before the year was out. Maybe his gold was stolen. His lands could have been taken. As in the prodigal’s case, his friends could have grown cold and abandoned him.
Yesterday we looked at how Abraham would have answered if we were to ask him whether he felt cheated after he left everything to follow God’s call. Today we continue by asking others the same.
Moses, you are another of God’s choice servants. You forsook Egypt with its pleasures and wealth to obey God in leading a nation of slaves through the desert. You died in the desert. Wouldn’t you say that you had made a bad bargain?
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