The authority to tread upon all the power of the enemy

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At the command of Jesus the disciples had performed miracles. Jesus confirmed their miracles to be of the right type by saying: "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightening" (Luke 10:18). The miracles of the disciples were an assault against the power of the devil. The healing of a person possessed of an evil spirit meant more than just being freed from the power of this spirit. It was a matter of far greater magnitude. The Messiah, who was to bruise the head of the serpent, had come. The desciples performed their miracles in His name, and He was engaged in battle against the devil, which battle He would bring to a victorious end by His death on the cross and His resurrection. It was this message that the disciples were to proclaim, namely that the kingdom of God had come near. The miracles were proof of Jesus' victory. Jesus with His miracles therefore pointed to something far greater than mere outward healing: "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightening" (Luke 10:18).

Then Jesus added: "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you" (Luke 10:19). Serpents and scorpions here symbolize the devil and his forces, as the words "and all the power of the enemy" indicate. To our reason, Jesus' words do not make sense, but faith comprehends them. Many of the Apostles suffered death by martyrdom and in the eyes of the world were failures. Paul left his beloved companion, Trophimus, in Miletus to convalesce (2 Tim. 4:20) and did not heal him miraculously. Nevertheless they too treaded upon all the power of the enemy. How?

The sick, who believe in Jesus, attain everlasting bliss despite their illness. Even though Jesus healed the sick, they still eventually became ill and died. Only he who believes has life. If we have recovered from an illness, we have not by our recovery conquered death. Even though a person is sick during all of his earthly life, as a believer in Jesus he will one day arise from the dead and be free of sin and sickness. When we proclaim the Gospel, we tread upon all the power of the enemy whereever the Gospel is believed. "The Gospel... is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." The sting of death has been abolished because Christ has atoned for our sins.

You too can tread upon all the power of the enemy by believing in Christ Jesus.