13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.” Mark 3:13-15 (NIV)

There are times when I minister, that I have a great sense of authority.  God is working by his Spirit.   The audience is completely focused, I can see God is stirring deep things.  There is a sense of divine power working through me, whether in conversation or speaking to a group or counselling and individual.   There is a sense of authority, there is more coming from me than is on a human level.   It is nothing that I can manufacture, it is purely the work of God.  The “wind of God” seems to be in my sails, it is a wonderful experience.  It is in these moments where I sense the smile of God.

I have also had many experiences where it seems I am “spitting into the wind.”  It is not uncommon to have these experiences near to one another.  I enjoy the first and not the second.

Now, I know that many times we minister by faith.   We preach, lead, work without tangible immediate results or impact.   Yet it doesn’t mean we are doing something wrong, it’s often the way it is.

Yet, one of the great concerns I have is that we as ministers have often lost a sense of confidence or authority in the gospel of Jesus and in our own ministry and calling.   The result is that our personal ministry and that of our church loses it’s strength and power to change in the world.  We minister more in the fear of man than the confidence of God.   Now if this becomes a trend, it would be good to reflect on the passage I want to mention.   I believe it reveals the process through which the Lord commutes authority on us.   It is something that I find myself to continually go back to this when I sense that the authority of Jesus is absent, and my ministry is being done in human strength.

Somewhere along the way in my earlier Christian life I missed a fundamental about living the Christian life. How does one gain a sense of authority for ministering in this world as a witness for Jesus?

I have often been troubled in my soul by a lack of authority in my life and in the lives of ministers of the gospel.  All too often there seems to be a helplessness in the face of sin and challenging circumstances.  Lives often go unchanged; the gospel preaching is lackluster; and without conviction, idols go unchallenged.   Where has our authority gone and how can we get it back?

Perhaps a beginning to the answer for this question lies in Mark 3:14-15.

14 He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.

In this passage we see a cycle of empowerment that we too easily forget.  We see in this text the amazing authority Jesus gave to his disciples. Authority they had never had before; authority perhaps no one else in their world had; authority over demon powers in the spirit world.

As amazing as this authority is, the question is how did the disciples get to the place where Jesus granted them such authority?  To answer that question we need to look at the earlier part to the text.

The cycle of authority begins with communion with Jesus, “He appointed twelve — designated them apostles — that they might be with him….”  The road to authority begins with communion with Jesus, being with Jesus is where it starts. (Source)

The cycle of authority continues as the second part takes place. “He appointed twelve — designated them apostles — that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach…”  After the disciples were with Jesus, he sent them out.  This is always the way it works. Communion precedes commission.