Acts 10:38, NASB
The four Gospels record Jesus doing an astounding amount of healings, miracles, and casting out of demons. Acts 10:38 tells us how Jesus did that: (1) God the Father anointed the Son with the Holy Spirit and the resulting power; (2) Jesus went forth and ministered in power in the realm of healing, miracles, and defeating Satan’s attacks on people; and (3) He was enabled to do all this, the Scripture says, “because God was with him.”
The continual presence of the Father and the Holy Spirit with Jesus empowered and enabled Him to accomplish His supernatural ministry with signs, wonders, healings, and miracles. In doing this, Jesus brought great deliverance and victory to multitudes who were “under the power of the devil.” Once again, how did He do all this? — “because God was with him.”
And that — the presence of God with us and in us and empowering our ministries — is how we too can minister with signs and wonders, healings and miracles. Remembers Jesus’ words: “without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). But with His presence in our lives, as we will see, we can do all things He leads us to do as His ministering servants.
God had placed Moses in leadership over the nation of Israel, to lead them out of Egyptian bondage and to the Promised Land. Moses was wise enough to know that one thing was absolutely needed to enable him to fulfill this great task, and that was the presence of God with him and Israel as they journeyed from Egypt to Canaan.
Moses was so bold as to say to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” to the promised land of Canaan. But God’s gracious promise to Moses was: “My Presence will go with you.” And that, the Presence of God, is what enabled Moses to persevere through the 40 years that it took him to lead Israel to the borders of Canaan, where Joshua took over and led them in.
Joshua too needed that reassurance from God, and he received it prophetically from Moses: “The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Later, after the death of Moses, God repeated the promise to Joshua as he prepared to lead Israel into the land of promise. God said to him, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”
God gives us New Testament believers essentially the same promise (Heb. 13:5-6): “‘Never will I leave you’ … so we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper’.” We are promised the same helping, enabling presence of God with us throughout our earthly lives.
While on earth, Jesus lived with the continual awareness of the Father’s and the Holy Spirit’s presence in His life and ministry. He wants His followers to enjoy that same divine presence.
For example, he chose His 12 apostles “so that they might be with him” as well as be sent forth in ministry. As He enjoyed the Father’s and the Spirit’s presence, He in turn shared His divine presence with His disciples. And that presence did not stop after His death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven. Please read on…
Among Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples was the Great Commission. He commanded His followers to go, preach, teach, and make disciples in all nations of the world. And in this task — still being fulfilled by today’s 21st-century believers — the Lord promised, “I am with you always.” How long would Jesus be with His ministering followers? Not just in the first century, but “to the very end of the age.” Jesus is with us always, even as He was with those early believers. And that, my brothers and sisters, is His assurance to us that we too can do the works that Jesus Himself did while earth (John 14:12).
Is Jesus currently “with us” in His resurrected, glorified body? No, not until His Second Coming to earth. But just as surely, said the apostle Paul, even now Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:17).
Peter offered the lame man “what I do have.” He had the name of Jesus, He had the power of the baptism with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), and he had the presence of Jesus Christ — “I am with you always,” Jesus had told him (Matt. 28:20).
Well aware of Christ’s presence with him — a presence not seen visibly, but absolutely real to Peter nonetheless — he raised up the lame man in Jesus’ name. As a result, thousands more in Jerusalem came to Jesus for salvation (Acts 4:4).
The unbelieving Jewish leaders in Jerusalem heard Peter’s bold explanation of how the lame man had been healed in Jesus’ name. They arrogantly evaluated Peter and John as “unlearned and ignorant men” (13, KJV). Yet they could not deny the miracle of healing. They were astonished and (consider this!) “they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Sadly, they did not connect the dots and realize that it was the Person and Presence of Jesus that enabled these “unschooled, ordinary men” to do such a miraculous thing to the lame man. Let’s look at another similar example.
Here was another great divine healing. The man was paralyzed and bedridden for years. Yet at Peter’s words he was instantly healed. What did Peter say? — “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.”
Remember, Peter had been told by Jesus, “I am with you always.” Whenever I read this remarkable healing account, I envision Peter being aware in his spirit that Jesus was right at his side. Not visibly seen, but most definitely present spiritually in power and love to impart His healing touch to the lame man. I personally believe that is why Peter was able to say to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ heals you.” Peter knew that Jesus was there, as He had elsewhere promised also: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20, KJV).
When you go forth to minister to others in Jesus’ name, there He is in your midst to bring healing, deliverance, or whatever the need is.
Before His human birth to the virgin Mary, God had declared that His Son would be known as “God with us.” Not a lesser being, not some kind of sub-deity, but “God.” This is confirmed in the classic Christian doctrine of the Trinity: “There is one God, eternally existing in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus in His fullness of Deity is promised to be “with us always.” And that, my friends, should encourage us greatly. As God’s presence enabled Moses and Joshua and other Old Testament heroes to do great works for the Lord, so shall His presence enable us today.
And as the presence of the triune God (Father, Son, and Spirit) is with us, there is no limit to what God can do in and through His willing, devoted people who wish above all things to serve Him. As you reach out to others to minister in Jesus’ name, remember that He has promised to be with you always! That is the guarantee that your ministry will bear much fruit.
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©2017, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.