John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Should we conclude from this that every word spoken by Jesus was directly from the Father?
While in human form, Jesus of course had physical needs just like the rest of us. For example, when he said “excuse me” to those around him to go relieve himself, were those words directly from the Father? Of course not…Jesus was not a mechanical robot through whom the Father spoke. He was a human being like us, and in some ways he spoke like us.
So how do we decide when it was Jesus speaking and when it was the Father speaking directly through him? Who among us is qualified to decide…where do we draw the line between the two?
The point we are trying to make is that the Father lived in Jesus and that He was doing his work through Jesus—whether or not He gave him specific words to say.
In the same way, Jesus and the Father live in us disciples. They are speaking and doing their work through us—whether or not they give us specific words to say.
We can apply the same thinking to John 5:19.
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, 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.
What Jesus did—whether in the realm of the supernatural or the realm of the natural—was not necessarily what the Father specifically commanded him to do or showed him. When Jesus performed miracles, often it was the simply Father doing His work through him. If Jesus was simply willing to heal the sick or cast out a demon using the Father’s power and authority, he could.
Luke 5: 12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
In the same way, disciples do not necessarily need a specific word or leading from the Holy Spirit before speaking or ministering in the supernatural—like sharing the gospel or healing the sick. Since we have already been given a measure of supernatural power and authority to cast out all demons and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1-2; 10:9), we can do so if we are willing. Since we are authorized to preach the gospel, we can do so wherever and whenever we are willing—in accordance with the Lord’s command in the Word: “heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you‘” (Luke 10:9).
What did Jesus mean by “apart from me you can do nothing”?
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
When Jesus says “apart from me you can do nothing,” he is of course not saying that apart from him and his leading we cannot (and should not) even move a muscle—whether in speech or deed. But within the context of the verse we can rightly conclude that apart from Jesus we cannot bear fruit for the eternal kingdom of God. Apart from its vine, a branch can still survive and stay green for a while before it withers. People who do not know the Lord can still live their lives on earth. But after that is over, they will “wither.”
But disciples who remain attached to the vine—who truly remain in him obeying his commands—will “automatically” (so to speak) bear fruit for the Lord.
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. …10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
Such disciples do not always (or necessarily) need a rhema, a word of knowledge, or the leading of the Holy Spirit before saying something or performing some action for the kingdom of God. They already have his words and commands in them as recorded in Holy Scripture.
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “the kingdom of God has come near to you.”