Power for Service.
by Andrew Jukes
AS prophet, priest and king; as truth, and love, and power; he that believeth must do Christ's work, and show Him as He has shown the Father; nay, He even says, "Greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father;" for the spiritual works since Christ's resurrection are greater, as the heaven is higher than the earth, than the works wrought upon the flesh by prophets of old, and even by the Lord in the days of His flesh among His fleshly people. For which is greater, to give cleanness to leprous flesh, or to a sin-stained soul—to heal palsy of the outward man, or to cure that inward helplessness which makes man cry, “The good I would, that do I not; but the evil which I would not, that I do;" to restore the life of this world to a dead body, or undying life to a ruined soul?
It remains to notice the secret of this power. Three points are dwelt on by the Lord: first the spring, then the means, then the reason of it. The spring is Christ himself; He does the work in us. Twice does He repeat here, "That will I do." and again immediately, "l will do it." For He is our life. It is He who works. Without Him, we can do nothing. If we are prophets, priests or kings, it is only because one great Prophet, Priest and King, is working in us by His might, to do His will. We are simply vessels; but faith and prayer draw all from Him. "He that believeth on Him shall do His works:" "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do."
Faith gives spiritual title deeds, which make us sharers in all the possessions of our Father, and which pour into our lap, a wealth of all things, which it is our joy again to give to all. All therefore that Christ did and reached we may do and reach, if only, and just in proportion as we can believe in Him. He is the pattern of the capacities and capabilities of man as God would have him. And God would have man, one with Him; and faith is the link and means of this union.
To believe is to live by. Then all things may be done by man; for "All things are possible with God," and therefore, "All things are possible to him that believeth." Therefore the Lord bids us, "Have God's faith" for faith, like love, must be of God, an element of His very nature, which comes with the seed which quickens His life and nature in us, which 'therefore enables us, after the pattern of Abraham, to be "like unto Him whom we believe, even God, who calleth the things which are not as though they were." For, "we understand that by faith, the worlds were formed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." God spake and doubted not, but believed that those things of which He had said, should come to pass; therefore He had whatever He said. And we are called to the same faith, by it to do like works, because it is God which worketh in us, to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Therefore, our Lord says here, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do." "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name," that is in my nature; for things with God are called according to their nature. We ask in Christ's name, not when at the end of some carnal and selfish request we say, ''This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ;" but when we pray according to His nature, which is love, which seeketh not its own, but only the will of God, and the good of all creatures. Such asking is the cry of His own spirit in our hearts, hungering for God, and for the things of God, that we may be transformed into His likeness. Christ's own prayers reveal it all. His cry was, "Glorify Thy name; Glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was;" in a word, His askings are for God. Thus, asking in His name or nature, we must receive, and so receiving, we must bless all; for nothing comes upon a man from God, without opening the way for the like blessing sooner or later to descend on all. Such prayer is almighty, because it is according to God's will. It is Christ's own prayer in us; and Him the Father heareth always.
Our Lord yet adds the reason for the "Greater works," which should be done by those who believe. The reason is, "Because I go unto the Father," It is this going to the Father which gives all power in heaven and earth, over spirits as well as over flesh and blood. For by going to the Father, man returns to his true source. There had already been preliminary steps leading to this blessed end. The opening of heaven at baptism had witnessed, that man in Christ was acceptable to God. But His going to the Father did far more. It was man's perfect return to God, by which he came back to reunion with Him from whom he came forth. And so, Christ's going to the Father is man's return to his long-lost glory; for humanity is one, and His going to the Father is our return to the source and spring of all. Man in Him now has all power in heaven and earth. We are sharers with Him in all that He receives as victor over death. From this point therefore, our Lord goes on to speak of the Spirit, which He would send as the witness of His glory, enabling us in deed and word to testify of Him. Well might He say then, "Greater works than these shall ye do, because I go unto the Father."
Such is the glory of believers. They reveal the Lord as He has revealed the Father. They reveal Him, because He lives in them, and their works are His, who is in us, and who is greater than he that is in the world. Therefore, they do His works. But where now is He thus revealed? Priests without fire, prophets without a vision, kings without power, are on every hand. The church and world are full of them. But where is a living Christ revealed? ls that a revelation of Him which is ceaselessly saying, "Here is Christ," "We are the body of Christ," while yet it shows none of His works, but only imitations, all in the flesh, of that which is not of the flash, but of the Spirit; which quenches any light beyond its own, and calls the darkness light; which stifles love, and casts out brethren, and still says, "The Lord be glorified;" and which by earthly might would do the works of God's Spirit, and judge all who still sigh and cry for better things?
These are not His works. They are not even such a broken reflection of Him as some unquiet river gives of the sun, when it bears its confused and distorted image upon its moving bosom. Alas! too much that is in the church is not even a reflection of the things of Christ, but rather the direct working of that evil spirit, which would turn God's house into a den of thieves and make the very city of God, the stronghold of His adversary. What are all the strifes, and falsehoods, and uncleannesses, which are rife among the bearers of Christ's name, but witnesses that Satan has entered into and defiled the Lord's inheritance? When we think what He has wrought in some, who once were like us—how He has made His light to shine out of their broken earthly vessels, even in days of gross darkness, when "all the world wondered after the beast"—when we remember He is ever the same, and that His joy is to save and bless, and that He is faithful who promised, "Verily, verily, he that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also"—what may we not expect, if only we so abide in Him that it is no more we that live, but Christ who liveth in us?
Surely, He still lives in His elect, though He is ever the stone which the builders disallow. He cannot fail. He yet has living members, proved and tried even as silver is tried. In them even to the end He can and will be glorified. And the trial of their faith, much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though carnal men esteem it not, shall be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
“The Christian Alliance” June 3, 1892.