Sunday, August 3, 2008

Omnipotence Overlap

John 5:15-21 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. (16) And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. (17) But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working." (18) This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (19) So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (20) For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. (21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

The Gospels tell of three instances of Jesus raising the dead; in all three occasions Jesus simply commanded the dead to come alive. He didn’t pray to the Father for the power to raise them; rather He gave simple direct commands for the dead to return to life…

Luke 7:11-15 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. (12) As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. (13) And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." (14) Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." (15) And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Luke 8:41-56 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, (42) for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. (43) And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. (44) She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. (45) And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!" (46) But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." (47) And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. (48) And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

Her faith made her well, but a faith in what? An amorphous concept of general faith in God to heal? If this was true, she could have formerly been healed apart from Christ. Notice two particulars in this passage that allowed the woman’s healing- her faith & His power. But this is more accurately stated as a singular concept- it was actually her faith in His power, which fundamentally points to her personal faith in Him.

Examine the goal of her effort- in Mark’s account, she said to herself- “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” Her faith in Jesus was such that her personal faith in Him told her that simply coming into physical contact with Him.would be sufficient to heal her body. Her firm faith in Him was such that she believed that even His prior cognizance of her condition was not required for His innate power to flow. All that was required was an personal & abiding faith in Jesus as Lord. As her Lord.

Unlike us, Jesus did not need to pray to source power from another for healing to occur, for Christ’s healing power poured forth from Christ Himself.

Continuing in Luke 8:

(49) While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler's house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more." (50) But Jesus on hearing this answered him, "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well." (51) And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. (52) And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, "Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping." (53) And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.
(54) But taking her by the hand he called, saying, "Child, arise." (55) And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. (56) And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.

Just as with the story in Luke 7 of the young man’s resurrection unto new life, Jesus has no need to call on the Father for the power to raise the dead, for that very power rests within Him to same degree that it rests within His glorious Father. Here, the veracity of the statement “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will” is made explicitly evident.

The third & most famous substantiation of the Son’s claimed authority to give life to the dead comes in John 11...

John 11:21-45 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (22) But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." (23) Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." (24) Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." (25) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (26) and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (27) She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." (28) When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." (29) And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. (30) Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. (31) When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.(32) Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (33) When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. (34) And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." (35) Jesus wept. (36) So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" (37) But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?" (38) Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. (39) Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." (40) Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" (41) So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. (42) I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." (43) When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." (44) The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." (45) Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, (46) but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

Jesus seemed more concerned with Martha’s measure of faith in Him than remedying Lazarus’ condition. He delayed going to the tomb to speak to her concerning the necessity of a personal faith in His power to resurrect the human soul from true death; the second death that follows a life never devoted to serving God’s only Son. He paused the working of His miracle once more to say to her “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" in reference to her spiritual vision of His full glory & dominion.

He is “the glory of God” He wants her (& us) to more fully perceive. Oh, she would eventually receive her brother’s physical company once more, but Jesus wants Martha & all the rest of His beloved to comprehend that this work shows His essence as their God & Savior.

And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." -True, unlike His prior resurrections, Scripture has Him speaking to His Father before He calls the dead to arise to new life. But note this is not a prayer of petition, it is a prayer of thankfulness that His Father is ever abiding in Him (& He finds no greater pleasure than to dwell in His Father as well). Jesus makes a point of lifting up His eyes & speaking to the Father for the sake of a witness to all present that He performs this work in the Father’s name. Many hard of heart were there also, as v. 46 demonstrates; His words to the Father give them ready witness that He had done this by & in God’s power alone.

His command that restored breath to Lazarus’ lungs was simple one- just three words. He never had to labor at the actual raising of the physically dead; for because of His tremendous power, it was as simple a task for Him as breathing is for us.

No, the truly arduous task that He had to pour Himself into in this chapter & most especially at the cross was the resurrection of the spiritually dead unto new life.

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