Cooperation (Matthew 13:54-58)

Photo by Mitchell Trotter on Unsplash

We can know that Jesus would’ve known the Word of God on account of His Jewishness  . In fact, we know He had great respect for the Word because Scripture records how He said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” 

We can also know that Jesus was baptized by the Spirit of God, for the Gospel says, “Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.” To have the Spirit descend upon you is to have the Spirit fill you, so we know Jesus was baptized in water and in Spirit at the same time. 

These facts tell us how Jesus came to have the wisdom and power He so obviously exercised: Being aligned with the Word and filled with the Spirit, He simply had to walk in obedience to the Word of God and obediently respond to the Spirit’s promptings (speaking or acting accordingly). 

He did that. So one might think that Jesus could do all manner of miracles wherever and whenever He felt like. Yet Jesus did not always heal, and Jesus did not always perform miracles. There were times and places He did, but for much of His ministry life He only taught. This was certainly true in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. Matthew writes, “Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”

You cannot create a miracle. Even Jesus – the embodiment of the Word of God and full of the Holy Spirit – did not do miracles at will. As He Himself testified, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” One could say that Jesus did not ‘do’ miracles, He just cooperated with the Spirit of God in the Father’s accomplishment of miracles. 

In His hometown, Jesus continued to operate according to Spirit and Word, but found Himself restricted to speaking instead of working miracles on account of the lack of faith He found in the villagers. For God can always work, but He purposefully chooses to work only with the faith He finds. Even then, Jesus only spoke in agreement with the Spirit and Word, for He Himself testified, “I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” 

That truth teaches us that if our faith is too small for a great work of the Spirit, the Lord starts by merely speaking truth. 

We should not look down at that and take offence. 

It is after all, a start! Amen. 

The effective minister of the Word uses words the way a craftsman uses tools—the right word for the right job.

Warren Wiersbe

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Jesus knew when to use words and when to cooperate with the Spirit in a miracle because He was always listening to the Father’s voice. How is God guiding you today?