Without me ye can do nothing - Χωρις εμου ου δυνασθε ποιειν ουδεν - Separated from me, ye can do nothing at all. God can do without man, but man cannot do without God. Following the metaphor of our Lord, it would be just as possible to do any good without him, as for a branch to live, thrive, and bring forth fruit, while cut off from that tree from which it not only derives its juices, but its very existence also.
Nearly similar to this saying of our Lord, is that of Creeshna (the incarnate God of the Hindoos) to his disciple Arjoon: "God is the gift of charity; God is the offering: God is the fire of the altar; by God the sacrifice is performed; and God is to be obtained by him who maketh God alone the object of his works." And again: "I am the sacrifice; I am the worship; I am the spices; I am the invocation; I am the fire; and I am the victim. I am the Father and Mother of this world, and the Preserver. I am the Holy One, worthy to be known; the mystic figure Om; (see on John 1:14; (note)) I am the journey of the good; the Comforter; the Creator; the Witness; the resting-place; the asylum, and the Friend. I am the place of all things; and the inexhaustible seed of nature; I am sunshine, and I am rain; I now draw in, and now let forth." See Bhagvat Geeta, pp. 54 and 80. Could such sentiments as these ever come from any other source than Divine revelation? There is a saying in Theophilus very similar to one of those above: Θεος ου χωρειται, αλλα αυτος εστι τοπος των ὁλων . - God is not comprehended, but he is the place of all things.
I am the vine - John 15:1.
Without me ye can do nothing - The expression “without me” denotes the same as separate from me. As the branches, if separated from the parent stock, could produce no fruit, but would immediately wither and die, so Christians, if separate from Christ, could do nothing. The expression is one, therefore, strongly implying dependence. The Son of God was the original source of life, John 1:4. He also, by his work as Mediator, gives life to the world John 6:33, and it is by the same grace and agency that it is continued in the Christian. We see hence:
1.that to him is due all the praise for all the good works the Christian performs.
2.that they will perform good works just in proportion as they feel their dependence on him and look to him. And,
3.that the reason why others fail of being holy is because they are unwilling to look to him, and seek grace and strength from him who alone is able to give it.
Christ says, “Without Me ye can do nothing,” and He has provided the Holy Spirit as a present help in every time of need. But many have a feeble religious experience because, instead of seeking the Lord for the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, they make flesh their arm. Let the people of God be educated to turn to God when in trouble and gain strength from the promises that are yea and amen to every trusting soul. TM 381.1
The word of the Lord is to us, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” TM 381.2Read in context »
Paul, when speaking to the Corinthians, says, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” This is what Christ taught His disciples: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Paul would impress upon the minds of the ministers and people the reason why the gospel was committed to weak and erring men—that man might not receive the honor due to God only, but that God might receive all the glory. The ambassador is not to congratulate himself and take to himself the honor of success, or even to divide the honor with God, as if by his own power he had accomplished the work. Elaborate reasoning or argumentative demonstrations of doctrines seldom impress upon the hearer the sense of his need and his peril. Simple, brief statements, from a heart made soft and sympathetic by the love of Christ, will be as the grain of mustard seed, to which Christ Himself likened His utterances of divine truth. He throws into the soul the vital energy of His Spirit, to make the seed of truth germinate and bear fruit. TM 154.1
Will my brethren take heed that no glory is given to men? Will they acknowledge that Christ does the work upon the human heart, and not they themselves? Will my ministering brethren plead with God alone in secret prayer for His presence and His power? Dare not to preach another discourse until you know, by your own experience, what Christ is to you. With hearts made holy through faith in the righteousness of Christ, you can preach Christ, you can lift up the risen Saviour before your hearers; with hearts subdued and melted with the love of Jesus you can say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” TM 154.2Read in context »
The converting power of God must come upon the hearts of the ministers, or they should seek some other calling. If Christ's ambassadors realize the solemnity of presenting the truth to the people, they will be sober, thoughtful men, workers together with God. If they have a true sense of the commission which Christ gave to His disciples, they will with reverence open the Word of God and listen for instruction from the Lord, asking for wisdom from Heaven, that as they stand between the living and the dead, they may realize that they must render an account to God for the work coming forth from their hands. Ev 643.1
What can the minister do without Jesus? Verily, nothing. Then if he is a frivolous, joking man, he is not prepared to perform the duty laid upon him by the Lord. “Without Me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” The flippant words that fall from his lips, the trifling anecdotes, the words spoken to create a laugh, are all condemned by the Word of God and are entirely out of place in the sacred desk.... Ev 643.2
Unless the ministers are converted men, the churches will be sickly and ready to die. God's power alone can change the human heart and imbue it with the love of Christ. God's power alone can correct and subdue the passions and sanctify the affections. All who minister must humble their proud hearts, submit their will to the will of God, and hide their life with Christ in God. Ev 643.3Read in context »