In Luke chapter 20 we see an instance where Jesus was questioned regarding His authority on the Earth by the spiritual leaders of the temple. Jesus had been performing miracles and making declarations that people were forgiven of their sins and that the only way to the Father was through Him. These acts and certainly this language was very foreign to how they operated. Before Jesus began to walk in His ministry, the scribes and elders were the ones who walked in authority regarding spiritual matters. I can see why they would feel threatened or concerned about this man coming into their temples and areas of worship making the proclamations that he was making.
Imagine being a CEO for 20 years for a national corporation. The President of the company sends you an e-mail one day telling you and your team that someone of higher influence was going to be making an appearance in your city’s office soon to begin creating a better way. After a couple of years a man with a long beard walks in and starts making changes in the office and begins to challenge and shift protocols that have been set for years. Of course you are going to be enraged and wonder by what authority this man was operating under. But are your complaints really justified since you were told before hand from your superior? Just like you were told about this man walking into your office and changing everything, the early spiritual leaders were foretold of the coming of the Messiah through prophecy in the scriptures that they read and lead their people from.
Even though the portions of the old testament that were taught during this time foreshadowed the coming of Jesus, the religious spirits that consumed many of the spiritual leaders blinded them from seeing anything that went against their current format or challenged their position and authority. This religious spirit birthed a subconsious ideology that it is more important to be right than choose relationship with others. It was the same religious spirit that pressed upon these leaders to stone the woman who was caught in adultery or chastise Jesus for healing and forgiving sins on the sabbath. Jesus came to save the world not through religion but through the power of relationship under the authority of the Father.
Jesus is relational in nature. That’s the essence of who He is and how He was able to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the broken that He encountered in His ministry. He dined with the hated tax collectors. He excused notorious sinners and forgave them of their sins. He healed the ear of a roman soldier who came to arrest Him before His persecution. Even though Jesus was always right, He valued truth in relationship way more than He valued what was “right or wrong” in regards to the law as they knew it.
I encourage you to dive into the religious breaking off of Paul’s (formerly known as Saul) life. He was a man who knew scripture like the back of his hand and was known for persecuting followers of Jesus. But the Lord moved on him in Acts chapter 9 in a supernatural way and broke the chains of religion off of his life. You can read the story for yourself but Paul was a leading father in the early church and went on to write 2/3’s of the New Testament.
I believe that the breaking of this religious spirit will be the igniter for revival and authentic spiritual transformation in our country. There is a move of God so profound currently happening on the earth that is rooted in the relational Jesus. The spirit of religion is breaking over the religious as they are learning to walk in compassion and love for their brothers and sisters. There are Christians all over the earth that are learning how to genuinely seek the presence of the Father with the gospel story at the center of their approach towards Him. When we sit the cross with humility in our hearts we begin to open up our ears to hear from the Father about how to walk as Jesus did and effectively use the authority He has given us. As we learn to walk in this authority we must never forget how we received it and from whom it came. The authority that has been given to us to evangelize, prophecy, heal and minister to others is rooted in the simple but powerful story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
It breaks my heart that so many have become numb to the blood of Christ on the cross. Sometimes it’s easy for us to think about what happened on the cross without any emotional response. Sometimes it flows through our minds like “business as usual.” But for real-Jesus-like transformation to happen in our ministries and for the religious spirits to be broken over our lives, we have to get back to our first love. We must ask daily that God will break our hearts for the gospel once again.
The result of what Jesus did on the cross is such an intimate reconciliation back to the Father. Through this sacrifice we have been given total access to Him. He is a Father who gives good gifts and gives us the authority to minister here on Earth. That authority may at times be questioned by those that don’t understand or believe in the Father or the Son but we still press on. We can’t cheapen the gospel by choosing to believe that we were made for anything less than to embrace and activate the power and authority given to us by The Father, even in the face of persecution.
When we reflect on the gospel story and why it had to happen we become spiritually connected to our God given authority. We become more like Jesus in our ministries and in our everyday relationships. We begin to choose relationship over being right. If we ever become disconnected from the source we give access for the religious spirit to become host in our lives once again. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me.” (1 Peter 2:4.) This must be central in our lives. Our power comes from the Father but we access it through the Son. We must be humbled continuously by the story of Jesus to gain an accurate perspective of the power of our authority. Any other approach will only become religion at its worst. Praise the Lord we have believers who are stepping into their authority through the power of the blood! This isn’t just a calling for pastors and leaders in the church. It’s a calling for you too!
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