Jesus Wants You to Know That Powerful is Normal
John 14:7–14 (NASB95) — 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
I am a proud graduate of the University of Memphis. I began attending shortly after its name was changed from Memphis State University. Founded in 1912, the university was first called West Tennessee Normal School. A Normal School is a Teacher’s college. These schools trained future teachers according to specific norms and standards.
We understand norms and standards. No one would use a doctor who didn’t attend and graduate from medical school. Many professions require certification and testing to work in that field. These expectations ought to lead us, as believers, to ask a few questions.
What is standard for our relationship with Christ? What is normal Christianity?
As He spoke to His disciples on the night of His arrest, Jesus described Christianity as knowing God (John 14:7). He told His disciples that “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” Prompted by this statement, Philip asked Jesus to reveal the Father. In response, Jesus described His unity with the Father. Jesus, God the Son, didn’t do works according to His own initiative. Rather, the Father, who abided in Him, did the works.
Jesus continued in 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” How could that be possible? Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and calmed the storm. He spoke with a supernatural authority. What did He mean?
Jesus spoke about a post-Pentecost world. He was telling the disciples, and all believers, that their Christian lives should be powerful. For example, the largest number of Christians the Bible mentions before Pentecost is just over 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6). Yet, in Acts 2:41, Luke tells us that three thousand people responded in faith to a single sermon. By Acts 4:4, the number of Christian men increased to about five thousand. Greater works indeed.
Are you living with power? Do you experience the greater works? Most of us would say no. While we love Jesus, we rarely see genuinely powerful experiences such as Pentecost. Why is that? The answer is simple—we are not living according to God’s will.
Jesus explained the origin of power in the Christian life. He said in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in My name, I will do it.” Praying in Jesus’ name provides spiritual power. His name represents His character, His nature, and His will. In 1 John 5:13-15, John put it this way, “13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
If we aren’t living according to Jesus’ will, then we won’t experience God’s power. Power, which should be our norm or standard, will be absent from our lives. This absence requires us to repent of those sins that sap the supernatural power we should experience.
If your prayer life is dry, then it might be that you are living outside of God’s will. If you’ve failed to see non-Christians become Christians, perhaps personal rebellion has impacted your witness. We desire to see prayers answered and people saved. If we aren’t seeing those things, then we need to look at ourselves.
Since God doesn’t change, then we should be experiencing His power like Jesus’ early followers. We may not see thousands come to Christ in a single sermon, but we ought to see God working. If He isn’t, then it’s on us, not God. Our lack of submission to God’s will has short-circuited our spiritual power.