If you hear of a new Christian movement or someone claiming God has spoken to them, what is your reaction?
Personally, I tend to be sceptical.
I can understand the response of the first people who observed the actions of Jesus. Having the authority to cast out evil spirits can’t have been commonplace. The Bible tells us people were amazed and it caused others to question the source of such authority. 1
The original word was translated as amazed, marvel and wonder. The same word was used to describe the disciple’s response to Jesus commanding the waves and causing a fig tree to wither.
The actions of Jesus caused genuine puzzlement. Where does this power come from? Jesus would later proclaim:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. — Matthew 28
The Pharisees accused Jesus of doing good through evil. Jesus replies by pointing out the opposite powers would conflict. His power comes from the finger of God. 2
Jesus was referencing a phrase used twice in the Torah (in Exodus). When the magicians of Pharaoh conceded defeat before Moses, their power was hindered by the finger of God. 3 A strong man can only be overpowered by someone stronger.
Jesus continues with two warnings about spirits. The first is in Luke:
When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from’. — Luke 11
As spiritual beings, we are accessible to other spirits. Some people may attract impure spirits while the followers of Jesus receive the Holy Spirit. 4
Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. The second warning is to those who oppose Jesus and make false claims of moving in the Holy Spirit:
Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. — Matthew 12
I believe in the importance of asking honest questions. It can be wise to weigh-up any events that are occurring. Consider asking questions of yourself and others in your attempt to discover the truth.
Does this clearly show Jesus as the only source of full and pure authority?
Is the kingdom of God, as shown by Jesus, being demonstrated?
Will this bring me closer to God and what are the long-term effects?
- Bible: Luke 11:14-16
- Bible: Luke 11:20 (and Matthew 12:28)
- Website: Read more
- Bible: John 14:15-17