In John 5 Jesus makes a mind-blowing statement. The gospel of John is full of mind-blowing statements by Jesus, so that opening line is more dramatic than informative. Jesus says in John 5:19, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” He then repeats that declaration in verse 30, “I can of Myself do nothing.”

Jesus is the eternal God (John 1:1-2), the Creator of everything (John 1:3) and the One who holds all the universe together (Colossians 1:17). The limits of Jesus’ power do not exist. The Sun burns with an intensity that if it’s energy could be harnessed one second’s worth of it’s output would power the world for one million years. The Sun sprang into existence at the command of God the Son. All the energy and mass in the Sun exists by the power of the Son. The Sun is one of a truly uncountable number of stars (estimates start at 1 septillion stars in the known universe). Each of those stars sprang into being at the precise moment when God the Son commanded their existence. The matter and energy in ever star is there by the power of God the Son. Creating all the stars in the one day makes walking on water and turning water into wine sound kind of easy, doesn’t it?

Jesus is infinitely powerful, yet He declared, “I can of Myself do nothing.” In His fantastic humility Jesus set aside His own infinite power. During His earthly ministry Jesus relied entirely on the power of God the Father worked out through the ministry of God the Spirit.

Christians do not have infinite power. Not one person has ever created a star, even a little one, with a command. No Christian can even create a damp match by his own command and power. If the infinitely powerful God the Son relied on the Spirit to do the work of the ministry, why then do so many Christians rely on themselves for the work of the ministry?

The goal of all Christians ministry is to exalt the glory of God through edification and evangelism. The Christian’s ministry is focused on believers being transformed into Christlikeness and on the unsaved being forgiven of sin and given eternal life. Success in Christian ministry is measured by changed hearts as evidence by changed lives. What Christian can convert the sinner or transform the believer? Every Christian is powerless to do the work of the ministry.

Jesus was not powerless, but chose to act as if He was. Christians are powerless but persist in acting as if they are not. Why? Actively and persistently refuse to attempt minister in your own ability. Do all ministry in conscious dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit. Do everything with prayer and nothing without it. Confess the tendency to self-reliance. Make the confession of Jesus your personal conviction, “I can do nothing of myself.”

The practice of confessing weakness is not paralyzing, it is empowering. The Christian who relies fully on the power of God to do the work of the ministry will go out in the Spirit’s strength with confidence that He will do all He intends. The confession of powerlessness results in boldness and fearlessness because the Christian is no longer responsible for the results. He knows he can do nothing. He also knows faithful ministry is possible because, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)