Twelve very ordinary people… I mean VERY ordinary (not one of them was a trained theologian – not one of them with a PhD – not one of them even with a college degree as we would think of it)! Jesus saw them (saw potential in them), called them to follow Him, taught them, trained them, and then did this to them…
“And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction (that’s right… “EVERY!”)… These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them… Proclaim, ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying for it – give without expecting pay for it.’” (from Matthew 10:1-8 ESV and some personal translation)
We get the wrong idea… (and It’s certainly NOT from anything Jesus said or taught) that this kind of ministry is reserved for “super-saints” and super-charged, credentialed ministers of the gospel. That’s just not true!
Mark’s gospel records what the church believed to be the authentic words of Jesus… “These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; the will pick up serpents with their hand; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them [those last two I believe to be an assurance of divine protection for those engaged in service for the Lord – not an authorization to do what is STUPID!], and they will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover” … And then the Bible records this: “And they went out and preached [or proclaimed] everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” Again… this, in my opinion is the reliable record of what actually happened passed on to us by the ancient church!
The book of Acts in the Bible records the wonderful exploits of ordinary believers empowered and led by the Holy Spirit! God’s method has not changed! He still uses ordinary believers… In fact Apostle Paul had the inspired audacity to call them, “the Body of Christ” [We’re to be His hands, His feet, His voice, and His healing ministry TODAY… In OUR WORLD… And our challenge is to represent HIM in the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT without distortion!) That’s right, ordinary people empowered and led by the Holy Spirit! I used to tell my students at SAGU… “You want miracles? Miracles happen in the “trenches” – out there serving God somewhere in our world in the power of the Holy Spirit – wherever He leads you!”