Google+ Followers

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jesus' Name Of Power

This week I write about Jesus' ascension and return to power and glory at the Father's right hand. But  I want you to understand that I do not write as an academic. You see, I am 78 years old and this weekend the doctors will operate on my heart for the second time in just over four years. Granted, they tell me I'm in relatively good physical condition and that the replacement of my aortic valve stands a 90% + chance of being successful and without complications. Nevertheless, something unforeseen could happen. So I turn to my faith and invite you to meditate with me upon the promises of God's Word that I hold dear.

The Apostles' Creed says, "He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty." As Jesus prepared to leave, He spoke these words to His disciples, "I AM with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Those are exceedingly comforting words.

Any and every I AM statement Jesus made links Him to the Name of God revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" - Exd 3:13-14 ESV
Some translate: I will be what I will be or I am what I am.

This is the name shared by every person of the Trinity. It is the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Whenever and wherever that Name is invoked, there is power, the power  Jesus demonstrated again and again in His earthly ministry. He is the great I AM who listens to us, identifies with us and answers our every prayer.

The Gospel of John calls Jesus demonstrations of His power signs. The God whose name is I AM, who delivered His people, fed them in the wilderness and brought them into the promised land, is among us, writes the Apostle.
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. - John 2:11 ESV
Thus I rejoice that Jesus has come among us to free us from anxiety. He is quite capable of caring for me as I face this operation. He is ready to care also for you in every crisis you face today. Ponder with me seven signs John records, signs that point to Jesus' power.

  • John 2:1-11 - He turned water into 190 gallons of the best wine. Consider His control over all sources of food, all plants and animals and everything we need to feed, nourish and heal our bodies and bring joy to our hearts. 
  • John 4:46-54 - As He healed a nobleman's son, He is ever ready to hear our pleas for help and healing. 
  • John 5:1-9 - Even a helpless paralytic was healed at the Bethesda pool. However helpless we feel, Jesus is ready to rescue and restore us. 
  • John 6:1-14 - If He could feed over 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish, He can surely provide for us this day. 
  • John 6:15-21 - As Jesus calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee, so He comes to us in the midst of our extremities to remind us of His presence and power to make everything calm. 
  • John 9:1-12 - Jesus healed even a man blind from birth
  • John 11:1-44 - And above all, behold how He raised Lazarus from the dead. Here is a wondrous sign to us that we who are in Christ will never die, even though we set aside this body. 
For behold, Jesus rose from the grave Himself! All that I have written above hangs on this. If Christ is not risen, then your and my faith in Christ is empty, pointless and foolish. Everything flows to and follows from this greatest of all signs. When attacked by His earthly contemporaries Jesus said, 
"An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. - Mat 12:39 ESV 
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. ... An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed. - Mat 16:1, 4 ESV
Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, essentially dead and without hope of life (Jonah 1:17). But then the fish vomited him out on dry land. Likewise Jesus was dead and for three days He was in the belly of the earth. But on the third day He rose from the dead. No one can and ever will be able to prove otherwise. As Paul says, 
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. - 1Cr 15:14-20 ESV
This is the same Jesus who meets us all as we gather in His name to worship Him. He is with us to heal our wounds and bind up our broken hearts with His word of forgiveness and His promise to bring us safely to our Father's home. This is my faith as I face yet another operation. This is my comfort amidst all dangers and doubts. I pray that it is yours as well.