Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Therefore, Jesus answered and explained to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you that of himself, the Son has no power to do anything beyond what he sees the Father do. For whatever He does, these things the Son also does, in the same way.’”
Jesus was what school-kids might call a “copy-cat”. Whatever he saw his Father do, he did. And according to Paul, Jesus wants us to be the same way. Paul said, “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.”
Many in history have attempted to do as God does, and have claimed to be successful, but they were only doing their own will, or were deluded by some wicked spirit. Seeing that God’s majesty compelled men to turn from sin to righteousness, Christians, Muslims, and other religionists throughout man’s sordid history have tortured, plundered, and slaughtered countless souls over the centuries. They were trying to do what God does, but they all failed miserably. Jesus is unique because he not only saw the works of God and understood them, but he also did what God was doing, in the same way that God was doing it.
Through the prophet Zechariah (4:6), God revealed how He would work for His people. He said, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit”. At other critical moments in history, God promised the same kind of deliverance, such as Hosea foretold of Assyria’s invasion of Judah, and of God’s miraculous deliverance of His people (1:7): “But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, by horses, nor by horsemen.” Later, Daniel prophesied of a future wicked ruler whose strength will be such that he will (foolishly) challenge Christ himself. Nothing on earth can resist him, “but he shall be broken without hand.” “Without hand” is a reference to the invisible power of God’s Spirit.
Jericho’s walls fell by the power of the Spirit of God; the Red Sea parted by the power of the Spirit of God. The children of Israel were fed angel’s food in the wilderness by the power of the Spirit of God. The dust of the stars were made by the power of the Spirit of God. The world was destroyed by a flood by the power of the Spirit of God. Joshua made the sun stand still for over a day by the power of the Spirit of God. Recalcitrant Israel was kept from destruction for centuries, and finally was turned over to it, by the power of the Spirit of God.
By the power of the Spirit of God. This is the way Jesus did everything he did because this is the way he saw his Father doing everything He did, and this is what made Jesus unique. He relied upon the power of God and trusted it completely. He preached the gospel by the power of the Spirit of God. He healed the sick and raised the dead by the power of the Spirit of God. He came to revelations and great knowledge by the power of the Spirit of God. He overcame temptation by the power of the Spirit of God. He was saved from discouragement by the power of the Spirit of God. He overcame Satan in the Temptation by the power of the Spirit of God. He was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit of God. He lives and governs the universe today. He overcame temptation by the power of the Spirit of God. And he is looking for a people who will see how he lived and follow his example, as he saw how his Father lived and followed his example. This is why Jesus said, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, he who believes in me shall also do the works that I am doing, and greater works than these shall he do because I am going to the Father” (Jn. 14:12).
Paul understood this, and he explained to the saints in Corinth why he did more than just make fine speeches. “And I, brothers, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. . . . And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
May God have mercy on us and rescue us from a gospel of words. Paul reminded the Thessalonian believers that when he and his fellow workers visited them, they came “not in word only”, and he did this because he carried with him the true gospel of the kingdom of God which, as he in another place told the Corinthians “is not in word but in power.”
Anyone living outside the power of God cannot live as Jesus did. Outside of the power of God, Jesus himself could not have lived as he saw the Father living. Everyone living outside the power of God is living in sin because the power of God alone keeps us from sin until Jesus comes back for us (1Pet. 1:5). “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” wrote Paul to the saints in Rome, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.” And then he went on to say, “For the righteousness of God is revealed by it [the gospel of power].”
In a sermon from 1970, I recently heard Preacher Clark say, “Where there is no power, there is no [true] gospel.” No truer words were ever spoken. If we really see Jesus, let us then do what we see him do, and in the same way that he does it! By the power of the Spirit of God.