Summary: The secret to power is spending time with the Father.
TEXT: John 14:12-14
TITLE: PRAYER – THE SECRET TO POWER
You would not consider the disciples supersaints, they were ordinary people just like anyone else. Yet the most significant words Jesus ever spoke concerning prayer, He spoke to His disciples – men who only a few hours later, every last one of them, abandoned their Master. These men were scared to death to be left on their own.
During His last hours with them before the cross, Jesus promised, “I will not leave you helpless orphans” (John 14:18, WILLIAMS). That was exactly what they were afraid of – being left like the helpless orphans. They couldn’t bear the thought that He might leave them, which lately He had been talking about a lot. Every time Jesus brought up the cross, they tried to change the subject. They must have thought, We’ve been such a failure with Him, what will we be without Him?
Let’s join the disciples on that last night Jesus spent with them before the cross & see if we can overhear their conversation.
It’s around midnight, & they are coming from the upper room where they celebrated the Passover. We fall in behind the small band as Jesus leads them through the streets of Jerusalem and out the eastern Gate. We wonder where He is going. He’s crossing the Kedron. Of course. He is bringing us to one of His favorite hideaways, the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of Mount Olivet.
As we walk, Jesus continues the ominous discourse He began in the upper room. The pale moonlight reveals the confused looks on the men’s faces. The men shuffle close together, straining to hear every word. It has been an unsettling evening. They are perplexed by the strange behavior of their fellow disciple, Judas, & the puzzling conversation that had passed between him and Jesus.
Jesus is speaking in riddles and He says something about leaving and something about His Father’s house.
Philip speaks up, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us” (John 14:8). Jesus answers in verses 9-11 (read).
Philip had said “show us the Father,” as though he had never seen Him, but Jesus insists he has seen Him. He just didn’t know it. Every time he watched Jesus heal a leper, he saw the Father. Every time he listened to Jesus teach, he was hearing the Father.
By His answer Jesus was saying, “I am not the source of My own sufficiency. The things I said and did – they did not initiate with Me. It was the Father.”
Here we begin to see the secret to the power behind the words & the actions of Jesus. In John 5:19 He says, “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.”
Again in verse 30: “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.”
The secret surfaces again in John 8:28 – “Then Jesus said to them, ‘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.’”
And again in John 12:49 – “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.”
The explanation of the miracles Jesus worked and the words He spoke lies with the Father. He did those things – through Jesus – but he did them. It was based on the relationship they had with one another.
He was saying to Philip: “the secret of the works is not My physical presence. And if the secret is not My physical presence, then My physical absence won’t make any difference.”
“As a matter of fact, if you will trust Me, the works that I have done, you will continue to do, and you will even do greater works that I have done.”
“You think My leaving will end My work and make everything difficult for you. But My elevation to the right hand of the Father will enable you to do through My intercession greater works than I have done. My presence in heaven and the Spirit’s presence in you is the pledge of even greater power and greater works.”
The Lord is leaving, but His departure won’t dismantle His work as they thought it would.
Then Jesus makes an extraordinary promise to the disciples – and to us: read verse 12. The promise is to him who “believes in Me.”