Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power, He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Luke 4:36
Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
At the cross Jesus Christ stripped away every weapon of Satan and much of his authority. God gave supreme authority to His Son and placed all things in subjection to Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:15). Satan has no absolute authority over anyone in Christ. Still, he continually tries to intimidate us with lies, accusations, and pressure to deceive us into believing that he has control over us. To not be fooled by Satan’s craftiness, we must be careful not to attribute abilities and distinctions that belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone.
Satan still has limited authority and power on earth, but it is inconsequential compared to the Lord’s. He is a created, limited being. Jesus is exalted “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21). We still must account for the devil’s ability. After all, he is “the prince of the power [literally the authority] of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Satan is a prince, meaning he is a ruler over a demonic kingdom and has the authority to enforce his kingdom. The enemy manipulates the world and influences people’s lives in various ways.
Power and authority are two different Greek words in the New Testament, but they sometimes get translated as if they were one. In the original Greek, power is dunamis, defined as might or ability, both inherent and spontaneous. The word for miracle is often dunamis. We receive power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Authority in the original Greek is exousia, defined as the freedom and right to act and exercise power. It is the channel through which power operates. We receive authority when we become a child of God, and every person in Christ has authority (John 14:12). Both power and authority are not something we earn or deserve. They are given to us by His grace.
Authority is relational, whereas power has more to do with mission. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of those gifted with ability but who had no relationship with Him. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:22-23). The name of Jesus is not a method or formula for walking in the power or authority of Christ. In the Kingdom of God, relationship always precedes mission (Mark 3:13-15). While on the earth, Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19-20). This is the model for us. We are called to stay under Jesus’ authority by continuing in a relationship with Him and doing what He reveals to us.
In Luke 10:19, Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority [exousia] to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power [dunamis] of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Our authority in Christ is greater than the devil’s power. It is not an equally weighted power versus power encounter when we face the adversary. There is an extraordinary power available to all believers, a power that can accomplish far more than we ordinarily think or imagine. We carry the Holy Spirit within and upon us (John 14:17 & Acts 1:8). Seek His power while intentionally walking in your God-given authority.
Many Blessings, BW