(See also Jesus on Raising the Dead)
Jesus was a miracle worker. Consistently. With intent to manifest God’s kingdom power, He confronted the limiting factors of demons, disease, deficiency, and death. He ministered in the power of Holy Spirit. He ministered in this way because this is how things work in His kingdom; He ministered this way because He intended us to minister this way.
“Dunamis” is the Greek term translated “power” in Jesus’ promise to His original representatives: “You shall receive dunamis when Holy Spirit comes upon you.” The term means “being able, capacity, ability, to be capable of.”
Jesus functioned in spiritual power, capacity or capability, and ability that did not come from Him personally that was released through Him. God put dunamis into Jesus so He could release dunamis through Jesus. This power is present to accomplish. Jesus has the capability to do things by spiritual power.
This is a kingdom norm originated with Jesus to set a new norm for the kingdom that He makes eternal. This is the kingdom power with which Jesus intends to influence and impact every nation on earth. This is the kingdom power that is released into the ecclesia and its leaders so this power can be released through the ecclesia and its leaders into every part of the earth.
Dunamis in the Ministry of Jesus
Jesus’ ministry built upon a strong declaration and demonstration: preaching and power. He would demonstrate and preach from the demonstration; He would preach and demonstrate from the preaching.
Jesus released power with His words. He did no magic tricks. He would touch people for sure as well as spit, make mud, send people to wash, forgive sins, and send His Word to places other than where He was. Still, He didn’t use formulas and incantations, release secret sayings, or invoke imagined controllers of the “powers of heaven.”
We often use the word “miracle” as a hyperbole with meanings that range from every baby born is a little miracle to “I am a miracle of grace.” The use of the term in so many ways that do not involve dunamis power shouldn’t keep us from understanding what dunamis power is, how it works or operates, and what the charismata of miracles is.
The word “miracle” is translated from three or four Greek words. So, the “miracles, signs, and wonders” terms are all needed to speak of what the Bible says of miracles. Jesus did signs, wonders, and miracles, and the terms are somewhat mixed together in terms of translation.
John 2:11 – “This is the first of the signs that He did.” [semeion, sign, only translated 2 times as miracle in KJV, actually speaks of something God does to mark, signify, and confirm that what is happening, the cause being pursued, and the message are God’s, and the person speaking and acting is sent by God.
Acts 2:22 – “You men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by Him among you, even as you yourselves know;”
2 Corinthians 12:12 – “Certainly, the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and miracles.”
The ecclesia prayed that these acts of God would continue and expand, and they did. Through the hands of the apostles, through those who were not called apostles, and recorded to have occurred wherever the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached and demonstrated.
Dunamis Power is in You!
Jesus made it apparent that the power He was releasing was the power He was carrying. Power came upon Jesus to rest within Jesus so that wherever He was that power was available.
Jesus wasn’t the only One releasing spiritual power in His generation. The Greek and Jewish cultures were filled with miraculous happenings and miracle-workers. Yet, the miracles of Jesus were different:
- No connection with magic;
- Miracles happened by spoken words;
- Faith of Jesus and faith of the one receiving were operational.
The New Testament knows the word “magic,” and notably avoids using this term with respect to Jesus. In fact, the New Testament uses the word “magic” in contrast with and to miracles, signs, and wonders. Jesus is accused of using magic but the charge never sticks.
Jesus gets into trouble over miracles, signs, and wonders: deliverances, doing miracles on the Sabbath, and
The release of power came predominately through commands. He didn’t use potions and pronouncements. He didn’t use magic phrases or ancient sayings that commanded spiritual forces. He was unique in a time of history filled with magic shows.
Jesus made it very clear that He expected people to believe God sent him because of this power demonstration, among other things. He also made it clear that He expected people to believe in God’s power, have faith in addition to His faith both to do miracles and to receive miracles.
Jesus made it clear that faith to engage dunamis power was a kingdom norm.
Dunamis Power is Transferrable and Tangible
Jesus gave power and authority to His disciples while here on earth, then declared that a greater operations of miracles, signs, and wonders would occur after He was gone. He made the clear statement, “Greater than these shall you do.” Jesus always made it clear that the power was working through people, that they were doing the miracles, signs, and wonders because His power was in them.
Jesus miracles could be categorized in this way:
- Deliverances, as many as seven stories
- Healings, many – blind, deaf, diseased, crippled, sickness, ear restored
- Raising the Dead – three stories
- Nature miracles, signs, and wonders – coin in fish, walking on water, feeding thousands by multiplication, miracle fish catch, quieting the storm, water to wine, fig tree dies
Each and all of these miracles, signs, and wonders occur today! The very same anointing that was upon Jesus is available in the kingdom through the ecclesia so that in the Body of Christ, everything Jesus did can be done, and the greater works that He did also can be done. Here and now!
Miracles, Signs and Wonders Have Purpose
Beware the tendency “to do miracles” and “raise the dead” for its own sake. That is, the “forget the big stuff and just go heal somebody” mentality is juvenile, even childish, in motivation and ministry outcome. It is as silly to ignore the strategy of miracles as it is to not do them. As beautiful as the miracle is, a greater purpose awaits: Jesus wants you to know what to do when a miracle happens, because many people don’t. Jesus wants you to be big enough as a person doing miracles to be able to handle what happens after the miracle.
The road is already strewn with the twisted, wreckage of delusion, miracle workers who bought into the hype and press of their groupies, men and women who began to see themselves and their power as the end of the matter more than the kingdom, leaving piles of people used and abused like circus freaks. Because they could see, speak, do, and perform like spiritual X-men, they wanted to treat like rock stars; they avoided accountability.
Beware the tendency to make a “life on assignment to do miracles” proof that “God still does miracles.” (God is doing no such thing!) Suddenly the confirmation gets misplaced. A couple of steps later, you will be using these miracles as proof of something other than the assignment. The timing of miracles and raising the dead will always function consistently with the greater setting of assignment, synchronizing with assignment.
So, this response, valid and Biblical, to set a place and time never detracts from the greater timing of you being “on time” with a miracle! This never detracts from you being trained through shared spiritual experiences, through what happens in front of you and around you as you follow leaders who disciple you. This never detracts from you releasing the same power anywhere, anytime! However, the timing of miracles isn’t in your control. Remember the example of Paul being troubled by the Python oracle girl in Philippi before he releases deliverance; he didn’t do the miraculous the first time he encountered her.
Changing water into wine is a good example. Jesus says to Mary, “It is not My time.” And, the miracle creates a wonderful, glorious mess. In fact, the miracles Jesus did contributed more to His death than what He said; they used His words against Him but the motivation for His death came from His miracles. Because of the undeniable-ability of the miracles, His enemies were pressed to the wall. The raising of Lazarus brings the whole thing to its ultimate.
If you are thinking that I am detracting from the concept that every Christian should be a carrier of miracles and dead-raising power, forget it! The only reason I’m talking to you like this is to prepare you to live with that power released because when you start releasing it your life will be turned upside down! Most of you are not releasing this power within you because you are not ready for the mess miracles create. You want it both ways: “Lord, do miracles through me but don’t make a mess.” Sorry, not gonna happen!