When I think about the miracles of Jesus, walking on water, healing people. bringing Lazarus back from the dead, to name a few, a statement by Jesus in John 14 seems impossible.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these,
If we consider the statement in light of the context, it sheds light on it for us. The context is about being in relationship with and empowered by Jesus.
First let’s consider Psalm 37
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
If we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, our hearts will change to desire what he desires.
If we have a relationship with Jesus, we change. The context of Jesus’s statement about doing greater works is relationship with God.
First Jesus’s relationship with God the Father. Philip had asked Jesus to show the Father and in response Jesus said.
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 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.
The Father and Jesus have had a perfect relationship for all of eternity. When Jesus was on earth, he spent time with the Father. It was out of that relationship with the Father that Jesus’s ministry flowed.
Jesus’s statement gave the reason we can do greater works.
because I am going to the Father.
Because Jesus ascended to heaven, he advocates for us, he empowers us through the Holy Spirit, and he intercedes for us.
Jesus also said
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
The purpose of everything we do is to glorify God. When we ask in the name of Jesus, it is not some incantation to bring about a miracle. It is not like rubbing a lamp and the genie appears.
When we ask in his name, we first have to know him. It is out of our relationship with Jesus and spending time in prayer that we ask. When we ask in his name, we are aligned with his will, his purpose which is the glorify God not ourselves. Our relationship with Jesus changes us to become more like him.
About that greater works part. We tend to focus too much on the “miraculous” and lose sight of something. Think of the schools, ministries for orphans, hospitals etc that have shared the love of Jesus. Think of ministries like Samaritans Purse.
Think of the Christians who have been oppressed through the centuries and yet by trusting God the gospel flourished.
Think of the patient Sunday School teacher, the patient youth group volunteer, the person hosting backyard bible clubs,
There is one thing we can do that Jesus can never do. That is to share with others how Jesus changed us, how it feels to be forgiven by him. and our testimony.
Whatever we do in serving Jesus, it is because he empowers us.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.