Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Power and Authority

The Gospel for today is one that I easily shortchange. I tend to sum it up as: Jesus gives the Twelve power and authority and they go out and preach and cure people.
Today I noticed how complex the little narrative really is. And since the power to cure people is something that especially interests me right now, I guess I paid a bit more attention.
First, the Gospel attributes four verbs to Jesus:
    He summons the Twelve.
    He gives them power and authority.
    He instructs them ("commands" them might be more accurate).
    He sends them.
As for the Twelve? They "go"; they "preach" and they "cure."
But what about this "power and authority"? Aside from the interesting fact that these two terms are used at the end of Matthew's Gospel right before the "Great Commission," where Jesus says, "All power and all authority in Heaven and on earth have been given to me," Luke in today's Gospel creates a parallel structure that tells us something:
    He gave them power and authority over demons and to heal diseases.
    He sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to cure the sick.
"Power and authority over demons" is related to the "proclaiming the Kingdom of God" in a way similar to how the "power and authority to heal diseases" is related to "curing the sick."  So that "proclaiming the Kingdom of God" means exercising power and authority over the "principalities and powers" of darkness.
We need some of that.

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