Prepare your Heart

Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.

Today’s Verses

Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”
Matthew 28:18 (CSB)

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Matthew 8:27 (CSB)

Jesus … rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out.
Mark 9:25–26 (NIV)

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
John 11:43–44 (NIV)

These verses start off with Jesus’ claim that He has “all authority.” While some may think it’s just fine for Jesus to have jurisdiction within the church, since it’s made up of His followers, Jesus is making a much broader (and gasp-worthy) claim! Christ is certainly head over the church (Colossians 1:18), but the reach of His authority is not limited to His followers. He says His authority extends everywhere and over everyone “in heaven and on earth.” To prove He is truly the God of all the universe, Jesus’ ministry on earth showcases all the various spheres He has authority over. First, in Matthew 8, we see he has authority over nature. While the raging sea and stormy skies frighten the disciples into a frenzy, Jesus rebukes the weather, calming every element of nature around the boat. The disciples are shocked into a stupor as they realize just who they are in the boat with. The God of the Old Testament who had control over the whole earth is now in the flesh before their very eyes! Next, Mark 9 shows us that Jesus has authority over demons, proving that His authority stretches over every spiritual realm, even the realm of evil! And last, in John 11, we see a much more formidable foe than weather issues or even the demonic realm, and that’s death. As Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave, we see Christ’s authority over even death, the one curse we thought was undefeatable.

These snapshots of Jesus in the Gospels remind us that Jesus not only shows incredible compassion in the battles of our lives, He also has total authority to enter into those battles and win. No matter the storm or sickness or spiritual warfare we face, we can stand in the truth that Jesus has authority over it all, and He knows what He’s doing. Even death, in the end, cannot hold us down, for He defeated it once and for all on the cross. What a Savior we have in Christ, who exercises His authority for the Father’s glory and also for our good! As we think about this incredible truth, we must also examine ourselves and probe for places we have not yet allowed Christ to exercise His authority. If the wind and the waves obey Him, certainly we should too when He commands something of us. As we move forward in our Christian journey, we must frequently lay down the places in our hearts we have not surrendered to His authority.

Questions for Thought    //  

1. What part of your life have you not surrendered to Jesus’ authority? In what practical ways can you lay down this area you’ve held back from Him?

2. What comforts you about Jesus’ authority? What challenges you about it?