Authority Over the Darkness

There are many benefits to being sons and daughters of God in Christ. First, we have been given salvation. God sent His one and only Son to pursue His Church and to die on a cross for our sins so that we could be given complete and total forgiveness and reconciliation with a Holy God. This is amazing, and we should never take it for granted.

Additionally, God has given us sonship, men and women alike have been given the rights of inheritance, our Father being the King of the Universe, the Creator of all. He has called us to a relationship with Him and bids us call him Abba, Father! He says of us as He says of His Son, Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17 ESV). We get be in this amazing love relationship with our Father!

But another benefit of being sons and daughters of God in Christ is that He has given us an authority and power over the darkness in the earth that we can barely comprehend, let alone wield with faith and skill. This is what I want to address here now:

Jesus Christ embodies His Church to do the ministry that He did on earth!

This is the ministry of proclaiming and demonstrating the Kingdom of God come and coming. When He healed the sick, raised the dead, and drove out unclean Spirits, He did not merely pray to the Father to do those things, He took authority over the darkness.

Authority

Matthew 8:5-13 says,

5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment (emphasis added).

Jesus was amazed at the faith and understanding of the centurion. But it makes sense that a Roman soldier would be the one to understand the nature of Jesus’ ministry in this way. The centurion loved his servant, and he knew enough about Jesus to know two things: the first is that this problem with his servant had some sort of spiritual source; and the second thing was that Jesus of Nazareth had authority over that source. Authority was something a centurion would understand very well.

I was in the U.S. Air Force from 1993-1997. There was one pervasive theme over the atmosphere around my time there: authority. Rank mattered a lot. In the military, there is some consideration given to ability, but rank trumps all in the day-to-day life of a soldier, seaman, or an airman like me. It was one of the things I had a hard time with. Even if I thought I knew better than the person who outranked me, I would submit to his or her authority, because there was no other option. All the power of the government was behind that insignia of rank. To disobey authority was to suffer punishment, and would eventually lead to Court Marshall and dishonorable discharge.

So the centurion had discerned by faith that Jesus could pull rank on whatever dark principality held his servant in infirmity, and that power would have to submit. Jesus could take authority with just a word. As a result, Jesus did just that, and the servant was healed from that moment.

Our Authority

Here is a wonderful truth: By faith, we who follow Jesus also have authority over the darkness by the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ living in us and by the power vested in us by the Son of God at the Great Commission. He said,

18 …All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Mt 28:18b-20 emphasis added).

Jesus said that He has been given authority, therefore, we are to go and continue His ministry, and His promise is that He is with us. We go in Jesus’ name and with Him by His Holy Spirit.

He also said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:12). This requires faith. Then He said, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (Jn 14:13).

We take authority over the darkness in His name. This all means we go about as representatives of Christ, Who sits next to the Father. He is the Head of His Church, His Body. He has empowered us to plunder the house of Satan, therefore we must grow in our faith. We must take risks and oppose the work of the evil one in our generation. God has empowered His people with authority over Satan and the powers of darkness. We have been called to take authority over sickness, over unclean spirits, over the meddling of the devil, over hatred, over hunger, over injustice, over racism, over strife, and even over death.

Start with what the centurion understood: Authority matters. You have more power in your little finger by the Holy Spirit of God than all the demons of hell combined AND you have been given the authority to use that power! Cultivate your faith and step out in it. Read again and again what the Bible says about Christ’s authority, and by extension, your own. Yield yourself to Christ to be used in His work until He returns, and you can hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 25:23)!

Pastor Jeff Miller

City Lights Church

St. Louis, MO

(Jeff is the pastor of City Lights Church in St. Louis, MO, and he and his wife have five children, ages 10-19)

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