Friday, February 6, 2009

How Jesus Did the Impossible

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (John 14:10)
How did Jesus do the many impossible things He did—healing the sick, loosing people from demonic oppression, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead—the many signs and wonders He performed? Jesus tells us: It was the Father who dwelt in Him who did it.

Jesus was in the Father, and the Father was in Jesus. There was a dwelling, an abiding. Just a few verses earlier, Jesus told the disciples about an abode.
In My Father’s house are many mansions;” if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
The Greek word for “mansions” is monay and means “abode.” There are many abodes in the Father’s House, many dwelling places. A lot Christians think Jesus was talking about little houses in heaven, some big, some small, according to how well we have lived here. Actually, though, He was speaking of many abodes in the one house, that of the Father.

Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself.” Again, Christians think He was talking about how He is now busy preparing a place for us, and that when He returns, He will take us there. But I think He had something different in mind; I think He was speaking of what He was about to do on the cross. It was on the cross that He prepared a place for us in the Father, removing the sin that separated us from God. The return He speaks of is not the Second Coming at the end of this present age, but His return from the dead. He went and prepared the place for us, and then He came back and received us to Himself. Paul speaks about the reality of the abiding place we have in the Father’s house:
God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6)
  • Notice where we are seated: In the heavenlies, in Christ, at the right hand of the Father.
  • Notice when we are seated there: Now! It is not a future hope but a present reality. It is something God has already done, not something we are waiting for Him to do.
Jesus has prepared a place for us in the Father’s house and God has seated us there. It is now our abode.

Jesus said, “Believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” Jesus was in the Father, but He has now prepared a place for us in the Father, too, and has received us to Himself.

Now consider the second part: “The Father is in Me.” Through faith in Jesus Christ, we now belong in the Father—He is our dwelling place, our abode. But does He also dwell in us? Jesus answers that:
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)
The Greek word for “home” here the same word used earlier for “mansion.” In fact, it is the only other time we find this word in the New Testament. When we love Jesus and obey His commands, He and the Father make their abode in us—they are at home in us.

Jesus did the impossible because He abided in the Father and the Father abided in Him. The same is also now true of all who receive the Lord Jesus—we abide in the Father and the Father abides in us.

Now think about what else Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” Jesus did not act out of His own authority, even though He is the eternal Son of God, fully divine as well as fully human. He did not speak His own words, but those of the Father. Therefore the Father was able to do all those impossible works through Him. Jesus says something similar in John 5, where He healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda:
Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner … I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent me. (vv. 19, 30)
By Himself, Jesus could do nothing! Even though He was the fully divine Son of God. It was only as He saw what the Father was doing and said what the Father was saying, and doing and saying those same things, that He could do anything. If that was true of Him, how much more must it be true of us?

And now, Jesus calls us to do impossible things, too. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12). The same works He did, we will do—and even greater works. Why? Because He was going to the Father. A little while later, He explained that He would be sending the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26) Indeed, He had to go so that He could send the Spirit: “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

Jesus sent us the Helper—the Holy Spirit. This is important because it was by the Spirit, as well as the Father, that Jesus was able to do all those wonderful, impossible works. That is what Peter preached to Cornelius:
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)
Jesus promised us the same Spirit and the same power: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, an in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Our witness is not only by words but also by works—the evidence of who Jesus is and what He is doing in the world. By this power, the disciples were able to heal the sick, expel demons, perform signs and wonders, and even raise the day, just as Jesus did. We see this in the rest of the book of Acts and throughout Church history (see Miracles and Manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the History of the Church for a multitude ofexamples).

Jesus did the impossible because He was in the Father and the Father was in Him; because He did what He saw the Father doing and said what He heard the Father saying; because He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. All these belong to us today. Through faith, God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—abides in us and will do the same works through us that were done through Jesus.