Mark 1:17, “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”
Jesus invited these men along the sea of Galilee to follow him. In the process of following Jesus they would be made to become fishers of men. No longer just fisherman by occupation, these new followers of Jesus would take on a new identity. Jesus would teach them, train them and show them how to become fishers of men. Immediately following their acceptance of this invitation, these certain ones would go with Jesus into Capernaum to observe him in the synagogue. It was here that the process of becoming fishers of men began.
Mark 1:22, “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”
Those who were in the synagogue were taken back by the authority with which Jesus taught. This teaching with authority was an important lesson for these emerging leaders to learn immediately. But the authority of Jesus was not only in his words.
Mark 1:27, “And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.”
While a man in the presence of Jesus began to scream out, Jesus took authority over the unclean spirit and it obeyed him. Notice the people asked the question, “What new doctrine (teaching) is this?” Part of his teaching was the command and authority over the unclean spirits that were present. Jesus’s teaching was not one dimensional. His teaching was not separated from his ministering with authority. They were one in the same. They happened simultaneously. This double-aspect of authority in the live teaching of Jesus Christ was primarily important to the training of the disciples. Most of us readily agree that teaching with authority is something that we can do. Many of us may also agree that ministering in authority is something that we can do. Jesus combines the two as one in this instance, and even those in the synagogue recognized this double-aspect of authority in his teaching.
Matthew 10:1, 7 and 8, “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
There came a time in the life of the disciples that the authority of Jesus was imparted to them. This empowerment equipped them to carry on the task of multiplying the efforts of Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God coming down to earth. The authority was given to these twelve to come against unclean spirits so that they could be cast out. This authority extended beyond just the supernatural category. They also had authority in the natural world over sickness and any form of disease. While they were to go preaching in this authority, they were also to exercise this authority inherent in the message they spoke. This word and demonstration of power was the reign of heaven, or “the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus told these disciples who were being sent forth, “Freely you have received, freely give.” They did not pay for or earn the authority that was conferred on them. These disciples were in no way qualified to carry this authority. It is the same with us today. This is why many times we are just learning as we go. The authority in Jesus Christ that we have been given is so far beyond us and our abilities naturally. We are all just growing in grace together, learning to walk with God and by the spirit together. Just as the disciples had “freely” received this authority in ministering, in the same way they were to give and minister. The disciples knew that just as they had received the authority, so would others receive their deliverance. It was all to be done freely and without an attempt to qualify the individual before engaging with them. We don’t have to judge an individuals worthiness or try and gauge if they will receive or not. We simply engage. We bring forth a message of heaven’s reign, a message of God’s power and the only message that literally heals and runs off darkness. We view others receiving the gospel and its manifested power in the same way that we view how we received our authority from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ: freely.