Who Does the Work?

By Kathy Dimick
(All verses in the King James Version unless noted otherwise.)

Introduction:

Concerning the question of Who Does the Work?, I find that the crux of the argument consists of two major themes: (1) what is the nature of the anointing and of the working of the Spirit in us; and (2) what is the nature of the relationship of God, the Father, the Almighty, to Jesus Christ. In this essay I plan to address both these major themes, but to do so adequately requires breaking them each down into several parts. The first part of this address concerns aspects of revelation knowledge in regards to the mystery of the nature of God in Christ Jesus. This part lays a foundation for understanding the remaining parts. Part two introduces the subject of the works that we do. This subject is covered again in the conclusion, part five. Part three covers the nature of the anointing of Jesus Christ. Part four covers the relationship of the Father to Jesus Christ and the nature of the works that Jesus did. And finally, part five enlarges the topic of the works that we do.

Part I: The Nature of the Mystery and Revelation Knowledge

We begin with two assertions: 1. Jesus Christ is 100% the Son of God; and 2. Jesus Christ is 100% the Son of Man. With these I completely agree. It has been said that this is a great mystery at work. I would like to make another assertion here. While there is a mystery, it is revealed through the Spirit. This is often referred to as revelation knowledge, which is knowledge or understanding which comes only by the Spirit. The Spirit teaches us what we need to know (cf. 1 John 2:27) and leads us into all (or the whole) truth (cf. John 16:130. This revelation knowledge is not primarily mentally understood, but it is a spiritual understanding (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14,15) which may or may not be understood by our natural minds. At this point let us examine scripture concerning the revealing of the mystery. "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

The word "mystery" in verse 7 is transliterated as "musterion." Following is its Strong’s definition: mystery = G3466 musterion, moos-tay'-ree-on; from a der. of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or "mystery" (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites):--mystery.

So then, "mystery" in this sense is not a puzzle, an enigma, or even a difficult thing to understand, but it is a secret and as emphasized by the scripture, a hidden thing. There is simply no connotation at all in this verse that this mystery is incomprehensible. It is merely hidden or, at a certain time or in a certain way, secret. Notice in verse 8 that it indicates to whom the mystery was secret: to the princes (chiefs, rulers, magistrates) of this world. It never says that this mystery is secret to those who are in Christ.

On the contrary, in the succeeding verses it tells us plainly that to those who have the Spirit, the secret is revealed. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). These verses tell us two things: (1) while these things are hidden to the heart (the thoughts or feelings, mind) of man, they are prepared (provided, made ready) for them that love God; and (2) the Spirit reveals them to us. This is the very picture of revelation knowledge and it is exclusive, exclusive to "them that love him" and comes only "by his Spirit."

The scripture goes on to reinforce this message to us and tells us why it is only by the Spirit that we can know the hidden wisdom, the secret mystery. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:11). Then can we understand that revelation knowledge comes only by the Spirit.

Why would God withhold the revelation of His very nature and being from us who have His Spirit? "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of [from] (Green, p. 453) God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

The precedent is well established that God reveals Himself to His people:

Genesis 18:17: And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do.

Psalms 84:11: For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Psalms 25:14: The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.

Proverbs 3:32: For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.

John 7:17: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. Note: Jesus is telling us that the doctrine is not of himself, but of God and it will be revealed to those who do God’s will.

Let me reiterate the message of 1 Corinthians 2:12. The Spirit reveals those things that are freely given us of God. He is not withholding any good things from us. We can know the mystery, the secret, the hidden wisdom. It is not incomprehensible or imperceptible; it is uncovered, revealed, by the Spirit. The nature of God is not an incomprehensible mystery puzzle, it is a hidden secret. While it cannot be understood by the natural man, by the mind, it can be comprehended and perceived and understood by the spirit of man as received from and uncovered, revealed, by the Spirit of God "if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you" (cf. Romans 8:9). While the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not (cf. John 1:5), it is as many as received him who walk in the light of understanding and revelation (cf. John 1:9-12). "Therefore judge [decide, distinguish] nothing before the time [proper or set time, season], until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God" (1 Corinthians 4:5).

God seems fond of revealing hidden things. Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 4:1, that the ministers of Christ were stewards of the mysteries. They kept them safe and, as stewards, dispersed them appropriately. Has the Lord come? Is He not present in the Church through the Spirit? Has He not revealed the mysteries, shinning the light into our hearts through His Spirit?

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given (Matthew 13:11).

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand (Luke 8:10).

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; {2} That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; {3} In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:1-3 ).

Paul was earnestly concerned about those who had not heard him preach in person. And it seems that he wished to assure them that they should have understanding and acknowledgement (full discernment) of the mystery of God and His relationship to the Father and to Christ. If he did not understand this mystery himself, how could he assure these others? It seems obvious that Paul is indicating here that the "mystery" of the nature of God can be understood and discerned. So, having laid the foundation that the mystery is not an incomprehensible, imperceptible puzzle, or an enigma, but a secret which is uncovered by the Spirit to those who love God and do His will and have received Him (i.e., have received the Holy Spirit), let us examine the next aspect of this subject.

Part II: The Nature of the Anointing of Jesus Christ

The nature of the anointing of Jesus Christ is crucial to understanding of this matter. Acts 10:38 is a key verse: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." The key word in the above verse is ‘anointed’. The Strong’s definition is as follows:

anointed = G5548. chrio, khree'-o; prob. akin to G5530 through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e., (by impl.) to consecrate to an office or religious service:--anoint.

To use Acts 10:38 to support the supposition that Jesus did his works as the Son of Man, as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit, would be favorable if the anointing was some mystical force or power, but it is not. Consider also a second reference, Luke 4:16-19, specifically verse 18: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

This reference truly illustrates my following point: "anointed" carries a meaning of designated or separated to an office or position in the same way that the priest in the Old Testament was anointed and thereby designated as High Priest. Likewise, the kings of Israel were anointed and thereby separated to their position. The anointing designated their station, their status, their position and their authority. Consider that Luke 4:18, 19 is a quote from the book of Isaiah: "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn" (Isaiah 61:1-2). In this passage the word "anointed" is used and it is the Hebrew word which is transliterated "maschah." This is the same word from which the word Messiah is derived. In Luke, Jesus is clearly associating Himself with this passage in Isaiah and thereby identifying Himself as the Messiah. This Hebrew concept of the Messiah is transferred into the Greek as "Christ." Most Bible scholars confirm that "Christ" is equivalent to "Messiah."

The Greek word for ‘Christ’ is transliterated ‘christos’, the Strong’s definition is as follows:

Christ = 5547. Christos, khris-tos'; from G5548; anointed, i.e., the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus:-- Christ.

The whole scheme points to the fact that Jesus was the Anointed One, the one set apart, the one designated to this office. The verses in Luke describe the function of Christ (e.g., to open blinded eyes, to set the captive free, etc). These things are the duties of the office. Being Christ identifies Jesus as the particular one who is designated, set apart, separated, consecrated to do these particular things. No where in these verses does it indicate that Jesus’ ‘anointing’ is a mystical force or power. The anointing does not give Him the ability; the anointing gives Him the authority.

In the New Testament there are at least two words which are translated as power. One is "dunamis", the other is "exousia." The first carries the meaning of ability or capability. The second carries the meaning of authority, permission, right to. Jesus’ anointing gave Him the authority to fulfill His office, to perform His duties. He was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. The word power in Acts 10:38 is the dunamis power – the power of ability and capability. If the anointing was the power, why was Jesus also anointed with power? Jesus was anointed as a designation of His authority and position to carry out the duties of His office. It is not indicative of strength or force to perform the works.

Let me point out that the power the believer receives comes when the Holy Spirit comes upon him. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Power in this verse is "dunamis." We will speak more about this in the last part of this essay.

As was previously stated, Jesus was anointed of God to do the works that He did. With the understanding that the anointing represents a designation, one can look at these verses in Luke and in Acts in a slightly different light. If I were to interpret the verse in Acts 10:38, I would say it something like this: "How God designated Jesus of Nazareth (and separated Him) with the Holy Spirit and with ability, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the adversary (as the duties of His office), by the very fact that God was with Him." And Luke 4:18: "The Spirit of the Lord (the Almighty) is upon me, because he has consecrated me, designated me to preach etc. i.e., to perform the duties of my office." Knowing Jesus was designated by God through the Holy Spirit to do these works gives us reason to believe that we can do the same and greater works because we are also anointed by the Holy Spirit. We are also designated, consecrated, set apart, separated unto good works (literally, fabricated unto good works, cf. Ephesians 2:10) by the Holy Spirit. We have also been given the power, the ability, the capability to do the works by the Holy Spirit (and not of our own selves). "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God" (2 Corinthians 1:21).

As we may see, we have been given power (dunamis/capability) when the Holy Spirit comes upon us (Acts 1:8). We have also been designated, separated (2 Corinthians 1:21) in the same way as Jesus Christ has. But let us at this time go on to examine more about the nature of the works and of the relationship of the Father to Jesus Christ.

Part III: The Relationship of the Father to Jesus Christ and the Nature of the Works that Jesus Did

Did Jesus do the works merely as (or in the same way) the Father did them? "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel" (John 5:19-20).

This brings up the subject of the nature of the relationship Jesus has to the Father. Jesus did the works as the Father did them (i.e., in the same manner or in the same way the Father would have) because the Father who was in Him did the works. "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10). What did Jesus mean when He said that He did not speak "of myself"? Could He have meant that He did not speak of His natural mind? Or of His own will? "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30).

At this time I would like to examine the broader picture presented in these scriptures in John and throughout the book of John. Traditional biblical scholarship teaches us that the book of John is not one of the synoptic (narrative) gospels because it is not so much a record of what Jesus did but it is more record and interpretation of what Jesus said. It primarily focuses on the nature of God in Christ and is a portrait of the Deity of Jesus. Keeping that in mind, let us look at the overall context of these several particular passages in John, specifically, John 5:17-47 and John 10:24-42. These two passages tell us about the controversy between Jesus and the Jews. In each instance, Jesus makes some statement which frankly angers and frustrates the Jews. What was it that made them so mad that they literally took up stones to immediately kill Jesus? In the two passages we see similar statements Jesus made concerning the Father or more precisely, His Father.

Notice John 5:17,18: "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. {18} Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." Verse 17 contains Jesus’ statement. Verse 18 contains the Jews reaction. They seem to be incensed for two reasons: (1) they believed Jesus had broken the sabbath; and (2) by saying that God was His (Jesus’) Father, the Jews believed Jesus was making Himself equal with God. This is a very important point.

The Jews had a clear and precise view of God. The focal point of their confession of faith as Hebrews/Jews was a statement of the nature of God. This statement is commonly known as The Shema. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD"(Deuteronomy 6:4). The nature of God was fundamental to the religious identity of the Hebrews/Jews. They had an understanding of the nature of God that may sometimes seem foreign to modern Christians. They immediately recognized that when Jesus identified Himself so closely with God as to declare God as His Father, not just the Father or even our Father, He was identifying Himself with the very nature of God. To the Jews this represented blasphemy, and it would have been but only if it was not true.

God has proclaimed that no one would usurp His glory, and He would not delegate it. "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8). "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. 12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last" (Isaiah 48:11-12). When Jesus identified Himself so intimately with the Father, He in effect shared in God’s glory. This is what angered the Jews, since they did not believe that Jesus was God, their God, the Father.

Jesus declares in John 17:24 that the Father has given Him glory: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." In Hebrews 1:3 the scriptures declare that Jesus is the brightness of His (God’s) glory: "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." In Revelation 5:12 the Lamb, who we know is Jesus, is proclaimed to be worthy to receive glory (among other things). The word for receive is transliterated ‘lambano’ and is most often translated as "take." "Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Revelation 5:12).

If the Father would not give the glory to another, how is it that Jesus has or is or can take the glory of the Father? It is so because the Father was in Him. Jesus, the man, is the express image of the person of God (person = ‘hupostasis’, i.e., God’s very essence). The words ‘express image’ are actually a single word in the Greek; it is transliterated as ‘charakter’. Perhaps it looks familiar, it is the same word from which we derive our English word ‘character’, meaning both a shape or figure (such as a letter of the alphabet) and the collection of attributes of a person or thing.

The Strong’s definition of it is as follows:

express image = 5481. charakter, khar-ak-tare'; from the same as G5482; a graver (the tool or the person), i.e., (by impl.) engraving (["character"], the figure stamped, i.e., an exact copy or [fig.] representation):--express image.

The nature of the relationship between Jesus and the Father is that Jesus is the Father in flesh. He is the engraving of the person of God onto/into human flesh. When you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (cf. John 14:9). The mystery is revealed. God was in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus is God, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, with us (cf. Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23). Jesus is God manifest (rendered apparent, declared) in flesh (cf. 1 Tim 3:16).

And what about the works? How do they fit in with the nature of the relationship between Jesus and the Father? Jesus speaks of the works clearly in the passages where He is accused of blasphemy. "But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me" (John 5:36). Here Jesus declares that the works bear witness of Him. The purpose of the works was to prove that Jesus’ claim of equality with God was true.

Let me cite another example: "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:24-27). Here the Jews question whether Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus declares that the works that He did bear witness of Him. I believe He is therefore proclaiming that the works testify to the fact that He is the Christ, the Messiah.

In the last verse of the context of the above passage, Jesus makes an extremely crucial statement: "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). While there are undoubtedly countless interpretations of this verse, I take it to mean that Jesus is plainly speaking that He is the Father, albeit with the understand that He was in human flesh (cf. 1 John 4:2,3).

Again, this message that the works prove that the Father is in Jesus is shown in the following verse: "But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him" (John 10:38). Here Jesus specifically directs the people to believe Him because of the works. What they are to believe is that the Father is in Jesus. And not just believe it, but to actually know it. Therefore, the works provide evidence to reveal the mystery, to uncover the secret of who Jesus is.

Further on this topic, let us examine the passages in John chapter 14 where Jesus is questioned directly by His disciples concerning His relationship to the Father. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake" (John 14:6-11). These scriptures describe the situation where Jesus was trying to teach His disciples about the path of salvation, i.e., "the way." But in the middle of that Philip asks Jesus a very direct question, "shew us the Father." He also makes the statement that if Jesus shows them the Father, they will be satisfied. He wanted a frank and open declaration of just who Jesus was. And Jesus gave it to him. Jesus’ reply implies many tones. It could have been said in a sad way or perhaps in a disgusted way; in any case, it was quite plain. Jesus tells Philip that he has missed it, having been with them for all that time and he still didn’t recognize the Father in Jesus. When you see Jesus you see the Father. It is so simple and clear (cf. Romans 1:20). The Father was in flesh in the man Christ Jesus. Jesus tell them that the very words that He spoke were not His own words, but they were the words of the Father. Jesus is, after all, the Word of God (cf. John 1:1), the "logos," the thoughts, plan, motives and reasoning, the very Divine Expression, of God made flesh (cf. John 1:14). And the works prove that. For Jesus says in verse 11 to believe that when they had seen Him they had seen the Father and that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him because of the works, "for the very works’ sake". The power displayed by Jesus showed that He was the Son of God: "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4).

The word ‘declared’ carries a meaning of appointed, decreed, or ordained. The Strong’s definition is as follows:

declared = 3724. horizo, hor-id'-zo; from G3725; to mark out or bound ("horizon"), i.e. (fig.) to appoint, decree, specify:--declare, determine, limit, ordain.

So, therefore, the works prove that Jesus is God in flesh or the Father in the Son – the eternal in the temporal, the limitless in the limited, the immutable in the transitory, the beginning in the end, the Creator in the creature. The Son is the emanation of the Father into flesh. "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me" (John 8:42 ). "Then Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I went forth and have come from God. For I have not come from Myself, but that One sent Me (Green, p. 277-278).

We call this the incarnation - to become flesh (carn = flesh, meat). God, the one God, the Father, the Eternal and Only Spirit, became man. Everything that God wanted man to know about Himself, He poured into a human body. "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matthew 11:27).

God poured Himself into flesh (cf. Psalms 45:2, Isaiah 53:12) so that He could completely identify with man and perfectly redeem him. He did the works as the Son of God, as God made flesh. If the term "Son of God" denoted a literal child or offspring, then what does the term "Son of Man" denote? It cannot literally denote a child or offspring of an individual man. Rather, it connotes the culmination or the product of man or the end result, just as the term ‘Son of God’ connotes the culmination, or the product or the end result of God. Jesus was the Son of Man in the sense that He was all that man ever could be and also in the sense that it was because of all that man was (had become) that He was necessary (e.g., as the Savior and Redeemer, due to mankind’s sin). Jesus was the Son of God in the sense that He was all that God ever could be as a human, all that God ever wanted to express in a recognizable shape, a literal human body. It is similar to the modern colloquial expression for anything that has taken up a great deal of a person’s time or effort, "that’s my baby." "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead [Deity] bodily (Strong). 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:8-10). Not just some part of God, but a double emphasis, all the fullness (completeness) – everything that could be there of God was there in Jesus Christ. The works prove the Deity in the humanity. It was the Father in Jesus who did the works.

Part V: The Works That We Do

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12).

I would like to address the subject of the greater works that we, as Christians, can/will do. It is my feeling that man has a tendency to focus on the desire to see this power present in believers rather than concentrating on the aspects of the nature of God in us. I can understand the desire to possess the power that Jesus had. It is an awesome idea that we can do greater works than Jesus did upon this earth. It is a natural thing to desire that power. Man in general seeks after power. As humans, we are by nature concerned with possessing the ability to control our surroundings and situations. The temptation in the Garden of Eden was for man to be as the gods, to have the knowledge of good and evil. In receiving this power, man developed an independence from God. He no longer needed to be dependent on God for knowledge. Man is still like this today. By our nature, we do not like to be dependent. We want to have control over things in our lives. I feel there is a danger in overemphasizing the works (i.e., miracles) which we are allowed to participate in because of the innate nature of man to desire control. For instance, Jesus warned the seventy sent disciples not to rejoice that the spirits were subject to them but rather to rejoice that their names were written in heaven (cf. Luke 10:20). I feel that control is the prerogative of God. God possesses all power and authority. And He alone delegates that power and authority:

1 Chronicles 29:11-12: Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.

2 Chronicles 20:6: And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

John 19:11: Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power (exousia, authority) at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Romans 13:1: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power (‘exousia’, authority) but of God: the powers (exousia, authority) that be are ordained (arranged, assigned) of God.

John 17:1-2: These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power (exousia, authority) over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Matthew 28:18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 9:8: But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power (exousia, authority) unto men.

Mark 13:34-35: For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.

Luke 9:1: Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5: And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Luke 10:19-20: Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

And with this authority comes the responsibility:

2 Corinthians 10:8: For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed.

Matthew 20:25-26: But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.

Mark 10:42-43: But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.

Luke 22:25-26: And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

The authority to do the works originates with God and we only receive it by being anointed by the Holy Spirit. The power or capability to do the works is another matter. As was mentioned previously, power is different from authority, although they are often synonymously translated. Power is ability, capability or the force to do a thing. Do we have the power to do the works (miracles) of our own innate nature? Is it a product of our faith (does faith somehow produce the power)? Or is it of some other nature? How did Jesus speak of His possession of the ‘power’? Consider these scriptures:

Matthew 9:6: But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Mark 2:10: But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy.

Luke 5:24: But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Each of these verses describes the same incident where Jesus healed the palsied man. The word for power in each verse is the word "exousia" indicating authority rather than capability. As the Son of man Jesus was given the authority to perform actions which were only under the auspices of God. Consider the following: "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. {7} And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength" (Acts 3:6-7). In this passage we see the evidence of a miraculous healing. Notice Peter’s words in verse 6 of Acts 3, "such as I have." The word for "have" in this verse is transliterated as "echo."

The Strong’s definition is as follows: echo = 2192. echo, ekh'-o; (includ. an alt. form scheo, skheh'-o; used in certain tenses only); a prim. verb; to hold (used in very various applications, lit. or fig., direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition):--be (able, X hold, possessed with), accompany, + begin to amend, can (+ -not), X conceive, count, diseased, do, + eat, + enjoy, + fear, following, have, hold, keep, + lack, + go to law, lie, + must needs, + of necessity, + need, next, + recover, + reign, + rest, return, X sick, take for, + tremble, + uncircumcised, use.

That is a long definition of a small word. It basically means "to hold or possess." So Peter is stating that he holds or possesses something, other than gold or silver, which will somehow benefit the lame man (and we know the benefit was his healing). Jesus used the same word in those three verses when He said He ‘hath’ the power. Jesus possessed the authority (but the Spirit of God is still the enabling power, cf. Matthew 12:28). Peter’s words about freely giving echo Jesus’ words: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). This indicates that the power to heal was given to them, they did not originate it nor did they develop it. It did not come with increasing faith. It could not be therefore a product of their faith. It does not even make reference to their faith. It was a gift. "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matthew 10:1).

When or how do we receive this power? Is it not when the Holy Ghost comes upon us? "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This is the dunamis-power that we receive to do the works. It is the same power that was resident in Jesus Chris. It is the Spirit of God Himself and He does the works through us. "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you" (Matthew 12:28). "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9). Notice here how the terms Spirit, Spirit of God, and Spirit of Christ are used synonymously. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit. There is only one Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4). God is Spirit (cf. John 4:24). "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16).

A person cannot speak or preach but by the Holy Spirit about the identity of Jesus and His nature.

1 Corinthians 12:3: Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

1 John 4:2-3: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

The mighty signs and wonders that are evident in the early Church were by the power of the Spirit of God in them, not by their own power.

1 Corinthians 12:6-11: And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

Romans 15:19: Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Consider how Peter describe the healing of the lame man:

Acts 3:12: And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power (dunamis) or holiness (godliness, piety) we had made this man to walk?

Acts 4:7-10: And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

It was by the name of Jesus, signifying His power and authority, that the lame man was made whole. If it had been by Peter’s faith, he would have said so right here, when he was asked directly. He could have said, "It is by my faith that this man is made whole." But Peter did not say that. He give all the credit to Jesus. The scriptures warn us about placing too much emphasis on our own abilities or even our own words: "But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech (logos) of them which are puffed up, but the power (dunamis).20 For the kingdom of God is not in word (logos), but in power (dunamis)." (1 Corinthians 4:19-20).

So then, what part then does faith play in this matter? Faith is requisite to receiving the Spirit: "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:2). "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:14).

Faith is requisite to asking:

James 1:6: But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Matthew 21:22: And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Mark 16:17-19: And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

But, it is still God, through His Spirit, that does the works, just like it was in Jesus:

Acts 2:22: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.

Mark 16:20: And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

"And going out they preached everywhere, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word by the signs following. Amen." (Mark 16:20, Green, p. 150)

Acts 19:11: And God wrought special miracles (dunamis) by the hands of Paul.

God was in Christ. God did the works in Jesus by His Spirit. Jesus’ anointing designates Him as the Messiah. The works that Jesus did prove that God was in Christ. God sets us apart for His work by His Spirit and the Holy Spirit in us is the ability in us to do the same and greater works as the Father did through Jesus. God confirms our position, our anointing, by confirming the word by the signs which follow us as believers. And all the glory belongs to God.

Reference List

Green, Jay P., ed., A Literal Interpretation of the Bible, Pocket Interlinear New Testament, Baker Book House, 1988.

Strong, James, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

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