“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLT)
Today I want to raise more questions than I’ll answer. I believe on the one hand we tend to get frustrated with prayer, believing our prayers should be more powerful, and on the other hand fail to pray boldly because we rarely dare to ask with even “mustard seed” faith. What do I mean by that?
Think of Luke 9 when Jesus sends out the twelve disciples. Verse one says: “One day Jesus called together His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases.” What’s the implication? They didn’t possess those powers until Jesus gave them.
But think, too, of the ones to whom Jesus spoke in Matthew 7 who said: “’Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you.’”
Obviously, the disciples, including Paul, were given power to perform miracles after Jesus’ ascension, the primary source of that power being the Holy Spirit, which is the same Holy Spirit we were given when we believed.
In Acts 19 the seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were casting out demons “in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” They learned the hard way that wasn’t a good idea, but it reveals the power of the name of Jesus even in people who clearly weren’t His followers.
So, let me think “out loud.” What are the common denominators present in these passages? And yes, I realize this is a small sampling, but as I think of others, I still believe this will hold true. Certainly Jesus, the Holy Spirit, faith/belief, and relationship.
It’s evident in the above examples that faith in the name of Jesus can activate the Holy Spirit’s power apart from a saving relationship with Jesus. Casting out demons, healing, and other manifestations of miraculous power can bring Jesus honor and glory irrespective of whether or not the person is walking in harmony with Jesus.
Think of the last days. How do you think Satan will deceive so many? He will claim to be the Messiah and perform many miracles. Jesus said in Matthew 24:24-25: “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.” Obviously, Satan has power to perform miracles as well.
So, what’s my takeaway? We MUST focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith – the Lord Jesus. We MUST place our full faith and trust in Him alone. Our relationship MUST be squarely built on the foundation of God’s Word, and the Spirit’s presence in our heart and life MUST be evident in and through the way we believe, speak, and pray.
Belief is given visibility through how we live. If Jesus is Lord, it’s going to show up in two major ways: through how we spend our time and money. Look at your calendar and your checkbook, and if He’s not there Jesus very likely isn’t in your heart. If we’re not reading His Word, faithful in our attendance at corporate worship, developing godly relationships, praying regularly, giving, and sharing our faith with others, we may need a heart check.
Powerful prayers grow out of a powerful relationship with Jesus, not just in His Name.
We’ll look at this more closely in tomorrow’s post.
Blessings, Ed 😊