Picture this: A police officer stands at the center of an intersection, directing the traffic. Even giant eighteen-wheelers obey his signals. Now imagine that same police officer, but this time in his regular clothes attempting to do the same. People would assume he was crazy.
The uniform indicates that the person wearing it carries the full force and authority of the law. “In the name of the law” carries weight. The person wearing it represents the government of their nation, and he/she has the authority to stop traffic, to arrest people, to quell violence, protect people and maintain the peace.
In the same way, we dare not approach spiritual warfare in our own strength. But Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore…” (Matthew 28:18-20) When we involve in spiritual warfare, we do it in the authority that Jesus gives us, that same authority which he cemented through his death on the cross and his triumphant resurrection (Colossians 2:15).
Jesus mission on earth was to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). He healed all who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). He set free those who were held captive and oppressed (Luke 4: 18-19). When Jesus was with his disciples, he gave them authority to do the same works he did (Matthew 10: 1, 8). After his ascension into heaven, the disciples continued this work using his name.
The scriptures tell us that the name of Jesus is far above all other rulers and authorities and powers and dominions (Ephesians 1:20-22). That at his name, every knee has to bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue has to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). God has made Jesus’ enemies to be his footstool (Acts 2:34-36).
Just like the policeman, invoking the name of Jesus, not as some kind of mystical talisman, but understanding that it carries the full weight of heaven behind it, the church can wage warfare and see victories won for the Kingdom.
We’ll look at how to do this in the next post.