by winston davenport, march 3 2014
In the book of Luke, we see Jesus sending out His twelve disciples, giving them "power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases" (Luke 9:1). Then, a chapter later, He "chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out" (Luke 10:1). A while later, "the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!" (Luke 10:17). And to these same seventy, Jesus confirmed, "Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you" (Luke 10:19). Remember, these seventy people weren't even apostles. Yet Jesus still empowered and sent them with full authority! Perhaps this point was spoken most concisely in John 14:12:
"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father."
Jesus isn't talking about His twelve apostles, not even the seventy! He isn't referring to Catholic saints. He is clearly talking about "anyone" who believes in Him! That means that no believer is off the hook! No one, including the minister with whom I was having this discussion, has a right to live a supernaturally powerless lifestyle.
Before He went to the Cross, Jesus prayed "for all those who will ever come to believe." He told His Father, "Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (John 17:18). And after His resurrection He again confirmed, "[Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you" (John 20:21). He couldn't have made Himself any clearer. Right before His ascension, He promised that "these attesting signs will accompany those who believe; in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up serpents; and [even] if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well" (Mark 16:17-18).
Jesus did not say that signs might accompany, or will sometimes accompany. He said—without mincing words—that these signs will accompany those who believe. What this tells us is that if signs and wonders aren't accompanying your ministry, you're not believing. Now, a lack of miracles is no reason to feel condemned—your personal value and worth isn't tied to your works, and the Father loves you and treasures you even if you never performed a single miracle!—but there is no escaping the fact that Jesus didn't leave room in His theology for powerless Christians. Perhaps you didn't know any better until now, but God wants to use your hands to heal the sick! To cast out demons! To perform unusual miracles! Jesus didn't have anything on a child of God, surrendered to God, allowing the Holy Spirit to operate freely in his or her life!
Look at it this way: Miracles were not brought on the scene when Jesus showed up. Many of God's people lived supernaturally in the Old Testament. Moses, Aaron, Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel and others performed incredible miracles! And they were not God, either. To say that Jesus had power because He was God is ignorant. Men from Genesis to Revelation have performed miracles—imperfect, sinful, unqualified men who had nothing going for them except the power of the Holy Spirit. That's the same power that has been given to you and me.
When you read about Peter and Stephen and Paul performing miracles, don't be a spectator. Dive head-first into the supernatural potential of your inner man! Those men were no greater, no more qualified than today's Christian. Whether you're a pastor, doctor, or plumber, you're greater than Moses, Elijah, and Elisha! Jesus said it Himself: "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matthew 11:11). John was greater than any of the Old Covenant prophets, but even if you're the least of all Christians, you're even greater than John the Baptizer! However, Paul himself identified himself as the least of the saints (see Ephesians 3:8), which obviously makes each one of us greater than Paul.
Now it's not really about who is greater than whom; my point is simply to say that no matter how you slice it, you can't escape the truth: We are just as capable, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to do everything that Jesus, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Peter, and Paul did—and even more! Next time you hear someone use the lame excuse, "Oh, but that was Jesus," Tell them the truth. His miraculous humanity proves that we were not intended to sit on the sidelines, impressed by non-participatory. Ask you heavenly Father to reveal this truth to you in a fresh way, and then be willing—make yourself available—to be used in a miraculous fashion!
To conclude, I'd like to share a portion from the popular bestseller, The Shack. In this novel, a man is given the opportunity to speak face to face with God, who is explaining the humanity of Jesus Christ:
Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being. He is just the first to do it to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life within him, the first to believe in my love and my goodness without regard for appearance or consequence. (Wm. Paul Young, The Shack (Newbury Park: Windblown Media, 2007), pp.99-100)
by winston davenport, march3 2014