Friday, March 28, 2014

The Father Who Dwells in Me Does the Works

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 things He did? Why did He say the things He said? Our first inclination is that it was because Jesus is God — fully divine — and that He therefore operated out of His divinity. But the point of the Incarnation is that the eternal Son of God became fully human to dwell among us as one of us. He did not merely appear human, or put on humanity as a garment. He became human. So Jesus was (and is) fully human as well as fully divine. That has always been the faith proclaimed by the Church.

However, Jesus did not operate out of His divinity. He operated out of His humanity. The miracles, the healings, the exorcisms were all performed by Jesus in His humanity. Even the things He said were spoken by Him in His humanity.

In John 14, we see Jesus on the night of the Last Supper preparing the disciples for what was going to happen over the next days. They had not yet truly comprehended who He was or why He came. Or how He said and did all that He said and did, even though He had spoken of it before:
  • 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. (John 5:19)
  • 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. (John 5:30)
  • When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)
Now He repeats it again as He prepares the disciples for what lay ahead, and He tells them plainly. “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.”

Everything Jesus spoke, He spoke by the authority of the Father. Not by His own divine authority as the Son of God, but as a human being who heard the voice of the Father. He said only what He heard the Father saying. He was not seeking His own will or His own words. He was completely about doing the will of the Father. So He listened for the will of the Father and spoke and judged in agreement with it.

Likewise, everything Jesus did, He did by the power of the Father. Not out of His own divine power as the Son of God, but as a human being obedient to the Father and observant of what the Father was doing. He did only what He saw the Father doing. And, indeed, it was the Father dwelling in Him who did the works. Jesus was energized by the Father.

All fine and well, a good study in Christology. Praise God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Ah, but watch how Jesus moves this forward in His instruction of the disciples. Just two verses later, He says,
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)
Jesus promised whoever believes in Him would do the same works Jesus did. Indeed, they would do even greater works than those Jesus did. Remember now that the works Jesus did, He did not do out of His divinity but out of His humanity — it was the Father who dwelt within Him who actually did the works. Would it be any different for the disciples? Would they be able to do the same works Jesus did (and even greater works) on their own? No! It would have to be God Himself doing the works, just as it was with Jesus.

But then how would this be? The answer I see is in the next few verses and seems to come in two parts, although perhaps they are two sides of the same coin. First, Jesus says,
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
Jesus was going to the Father, but He gave the disciples (and by extension, all who believe in Him) the authority of ask of the Father in His name. And whatever they asked in His name, Jesus Himself would do.

Asking in Jesus’ name is not a matter of tacking “In Jesus’ name” onto the end of our prayers. To ask in Jesus’ name is to ask as Jesus would ask and for the reason Jesus would ask — that the Father may be glorified. Jesus was all about the words of the Father, the works of the Father, the will of the Father and the glory of the Father. His desire was that the Father would be glorified in Him, but also in the disciples.

The second reason the disciples (and us, too) would be able to do the works of Jesus (and even greater works) is this: Jesus said,
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)
When Jesus went to the Father, He was going to ask Him, and the Father was going to give them “another Helper” who would abide with them. This Helper is the Holy Spirit, who was already dwelling with them but would now be in them. It would be God Himself dwelling in them by His Spirit. Just as the Father dwelt in Jesus and was the authority and power behind all Jesus said and did, so also the Holy Spirit was given to dwell in us.

Through prayer to the Father in Jesus’ name, and by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (and in all who believe on the Lord Jesus), we can manifest the works of Jesus, and even greater works. For it is God Himself who does the works — in us, with us and through us.