Summary: How did Jesus do his signs, and how were the disciples able to do the signs? And what can we learn from this?

The last few weeks, I've been pushing the idea that God will still do signs, and wonders, and healings through us, as Jesus works in us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I think God is far more willing to do great things in the world through us than we realize. I think the weakness, and powerlessness, we see in the church, reflects poorly on us-- and not on God. We are the problem. We are the weak link. It's not God. I think Jesus' promise in John 14:12, that "greater signs than these, you will do," is a promise not just for the twelve, but for you.

But I'm guessing some of you think everything I've been saying about this is wrong, or misleading, or misguided.

And I'm also guessing, if that's true, that this is due (at least in part) to how you answer two related questions:

(1) How was Jesus able to do the signs he did?

(2) How were the disciples/apostles able to do the signs they did?

What I'd like to do this morning, is try to answer these two questions. And I think, in doing so, we will find something very helpful, and useful.

(1) How was Jesus able to do the signs he did?

My guess, is that lots of Christians would say that Jesus was able to heal people because he is God. And his healing people, is proof that he is God. I hear this on a pretty regular basis.

But as far as I know, the NT itself doesn't talk that way.

So let's do this. Let's ask the NT writers how Jesus was able to do the things he did. And let's let them answer the question, without injecting our own theology into it. First, we will work in Luke. And then John.

Luke 4:1:

"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.

Luke 4:14-21:

(14) "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee,

and a report went out through all the surrounding country about him,

(15) and he was teaching in their synagogues, being glorified by all,

(16) and he came to Nazareth, where he was having been raised,

and he entered in accordance with his custom/habit on the day of the Sabbath to the synagogue,

and he rose to read,

(17) and it was given to him-- the scroll of the prophet Isaiah,

and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

"The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me,

who for this reason has anointed me:

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He sent me to proclaim to the captives, liberation/forgiveness

and to the blind, recovery of sight.

To send out the shattered, in liberation/forgiveness

To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,"

(20) and rolling up the scroll, giving it back to the attendant, he sat,

and all the eyes in the synagogue were staring/gazing intently at him.

(21) Now, he began to say to them that

"Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Everything Jesus did and said/proclaimed, he said and did under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God gave Jesus his Spirit, anointing him, so that he could proclaim good news to the poor, free captives, give sight to the blind, and so on. Jesus did nothing on his own power, but only as God's Spirit worked through him.

So, again. How was Jesus able to give sight to the blind?

Because "the Spirit of the Lord is upon him."


The Gospel of John talks about all of this a little differently-- although he still makes sure we know that the Spirit "abides" on Jesus (John 1:31).

If we ask John how Jesus was able to do the things he did, we get two answers:

(1) Jesus can do the things he does, because his Father has taught him.

(2) Jesus can do the things he does, because he lives in perfect obedience to his Father, and so the Father always says "yes" to Jesus.

(1) Jesus can do the things he does, because his Father has taught him.

(John 5:19) Then, Jesus answered,

and he was saying to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, the son isn't able to do from himself anything,

except only what he sees the Father doing."

For whatever That One does-- these things-- also the son likewise does.

(20) For the Father loves the son,

and everything, He shows him

that he is doing,

and greater than these works, he will show him,

in order that you shall be amazed.

(21) For just as the Father raises the dead,

thus also the Son, whoever he wishes, he makes alive.

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