Do Christians possess spiritual power?

The answer is yes.

And no.

When the answer is “yes,” we should be very, very careful about what we mean.

I would like to do a quick overview of Luke 9 to explain.

In verses 1-9 of this chapter, Jesus “…called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them. And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere (Luke 9:1–6). 1

The next three verses have to do with Herod’s confusion about Jesus, so we’re going to skip them, not because you shouldn’t read them but because they don’t pertain to the point at hand.

So, in verses 10-12, the disciples return from their successful ministry, and Jesus “withdrew privately” with them to Bethsaida; but the crowds found out and followed Him. The twelve told Jesus to send the crowd away so they could find lodging and food.

Here’s what Jesus said in response: “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13).

I find this interesting. The disciples had had great success in their ministries. They proclaimed the gospel. People were healed everywhere.

Now, they are faced with a large number of hungry people, and Jesus told them to feed them.

Well, they had power, right?

Here’s what I wonder. I wonder if Jesus was trying to bring His disciples back to earth, to show them that He alone was Lord; that He alone possessed spiritual power, in spite of the recent success in their ministry.

The disciples responded by saying that, um, they had limited resources—only five loaves and two fish—so they really couldn’t do what Jesus told them to do.

Yes. Limited resources.

Jesus, the Creator of all things, fed 5,000 men, with those five loaves and two fish (verses 13-14). He had—and has—that kind of creative power.

Men with paltry supplies that were used by the God who can do anything.

Men who went out on a ministry campaign with paltry created-from-dust bodies empowered by a God for whom nothing is impossible.

Do Christians possess spiritual power?


And no.

We’ll look further at Luke 9 next week.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.