Mighty Deed

“Mighty deed” is the word that stands out in today’s readings because, in the original Greek text, it’s not two words but one. When John tells Jesus that he tried to stop someone exorcising demons in Jesus’s name, Jesus tells him, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”

This phrase “mighty deed” (dynamin) is where we get our word dynamic! Essentially, it means power, yet not power in the ordinary sense of muscle power, but in the extraordinary sense of mystical power. The gospels often use this word to describe the power of God, such as when Jesus tells the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, that their beliefs are wrong because they “know neither the scriptures nor the power [dynamin] of God” (Matthew 22:29), and when Jesus tells Caiaphas the high priest that he “will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power [dynamin], and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64).

In a theologically powerful (pun intended) passage, St. Paul explains that God’s unseeable, unsearchable nature is tantamount to an unlimited, unselfish power. “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature—namely, his eternal power [dynamin] and deity—has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). It is this very same dynamic power that St. John describes at the very end of the book of Revelation, when, after the fall of Babylon, all heaven is rejoicing: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power [dynamin] belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just” (Revelation 19:1—2). 

The power that Jesus is talking about in today’s reading is an eternal power, an undefeatable power, an all-loving power, the only power that will bring true justice upon the earth, the only power that will bring true comfort in the hearts of all, and the only power that will satisfy the hungry and thirsty soul.

Today, lean on that power—that mighty and dynamic power—that is doing more mighty deeds than can be seen in this fleeting life. Depend upon God’s power to be at work in your life dynamically!