In John 5, there is an account of Jesus healing someone—as He often did. One thing that was different in this case was that it was the Sabbath. To us, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, in that day it was. In fact, it was quite a big deal. Not only did Jesus heal on the Sabbath, but he also commanded the man who was healed to pick up his pallet and walk with it. Both of these were no nos on the Sabbath. When the man who was healed was called out on his “bad” behavior, he explained that he did it because he had been told to do so by the one who healed him. Later, Jesus had to answer why He was doing what was forbidden. The answer He gave was simple, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (See John 5:17)
Why was Jesus healing on the Sabbath? Simple. Because His Father was. And, Jesus lived his life doing what His Father did.
In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 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. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 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.”
(See John 14:9–12)
Don’t forget, the fact that the Jewish people existed under a set of rules—the law—had been designed by God Himself. (Yes, they had taken it farther than He, but He was still the original author of their system.) And yet, here Jesus was, breaking the rules. Living by a different standard? Why? Was it because He was God so He could just do whatever He wanted? No. Yes, He was God. (Still is, as a matter of fact! Isn’t that good news?) But He wasn’t there to pursue His own agenda. Instead, His life was all about another. Jesus knew the Father, and that is what set the standard for His life. He heard what the Father said, so He said it. He saw what the Father was doing, so He did it.
The good news for us, is that we too know the Father. How? Because we know Jesus. If we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father. And not only do we see the Father in Jesus, but the blood Jesus shed makes His Father, our Father, too. Because of this, we have the same invitation extended to us as Jesus extended to the disciples—to do what the Father is doing, too. When we do what the Father is doing, not only will we be doing great works, but we will also get to do the “greater works”. (See again verse 12—“…he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do…”)
There was a day when the church looked to certain people to do ministry. Pastors, elders, people of “authority”—those were the ones qualified to do ministry. However, that day is past. Now, ministry is being put into the hands of the people—not just a select few, but everyone. That includes you.
You may not feel like you are up to the task. That’s okay. You’re not the only one who felt that way. Just look at Moses. When the Lord came to Moses in the burning bush, Moses didn’t exactly respond graciously. (See Exodus 3.) He didn’t think he was up to the task God had prepared for him so he argued with God. After all, he wasn’t eloquent with words. How could he be God’s mouthpiece? Easy. Moses didn’t need to be eloquent. He just needed to say what the Father was saying and do what He was doing. (He had already tried it his way, by the way.)
So, no matter if you are one who longs to do the “greater works” or one who wonders who feels as though that task is meant for someone else—the invitation is the same. And the formula is simple—learn to hear the Father’s voice. See what He is doing. Then, join Him! Say what He is saying. Do what He is doing. You’ll be amazed at the result! Don’t worry that you aren’t qualified for ministry. It is the blood of Jesus that qualifies you. Jesus put His blood on the altar for you. This makes you a child of God. And that is all the qualification you need.
You can hear more on this topic on the February 7th sermon by Pastor Jamey VanGelder on our podcast titled: Do What The Father Does.