Letting the Father Lead
Jesus only did what the Father was doing and only said what the Father was saying (see John 5:17–18; 8:26). This sets a pretty high standard for how to live. While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7). It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.
No two miracles of Jesus recorded in Scripture were done in exactly the same way. I cannot help but wonder if our tendency to get locked into patterns and principles, though they have value, might work against our need to stay connected to what the Father is doing. It is no longer a question of whether it is God’s will to heal. Now it is only a question of how.
Developing an ear for His voice seems to be at the heart of this issue, for faith comes by hearing, not having heard (see Romans 10:17). Faith implies a present-tense relationship with God. What we know can keep us from what we need to know if we do not stay childlike in our approach to life and ministry. Past success is often what prevents us from greater success. Our first breakthrough came because we heard from God, but when we create a pattern out of what we last heard, we create a problem. The key for Jesus was not putting mud in a man’s eye or telling him to wash in the pool of Siloam (see John 9:6–7). It was not the action done. It was hearing the voice of the Father and doing what He said that made that particular act powerful. As Luke 4:4 says, we live by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth.
We can see how the Father directed Jesus to do certain things to bring a breakthrough. Whether it was the spit that Jesus put on the mute man’s tongue or simply saying to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed,” Jesus acted from the Father’s direction (see Mark 7:33; Matthew 8:13). But what about the woman who touched Jesus’ clothing? Or what about the Syrophoenician woman who wanted her daughter healed, even though Jesus said the time was not right because He needed to minister to the Jew first? (See Matthew 9:21; Mark 7:24–30.) The Father did not direct Jesus to either of them, yet in both cases Jesus recognized the Father’s gift of faith functioning in them and brought the breakthrough they cried out for—one before the fact, the other after. It greatly encourages and helps me to see through these examples that God’s will is not always made known to us directly. Sometimes we must learn to recognize what He is doing by watching how people respond to the Holy Spirit. Knowledge of His will is always available for those who want to see it. It is a very important part of the “normal Christian life” of signs, wonders and miracles.