Even Greater Things

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  John 14:12, 13.

Notice right after this last sentence, Jesus goes on to discuss something (seemingly) completely different—obedience.  It’s pretty important to note that God’s will comes above our wants, because our wants many times have to do with getting our own way rather than God’s glory.  O, we might smother it in rhetoric which sounds like it’s good for the kingdom of God, but in the end it’s only our desire for our own way speaking.  This is why it is so dangerous to take a promise like “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” out of context because we construe this to mean anything we want it to—even if our own way means something outside the spelled out will of God.

But Jesus doesn’t leave us blind to His meaning at all, just look at the first sentence in our text:  “…anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.” His very wording doesn’t leave room for any shenanigans on our part but focuses our attention what He has done as a prototype of what we should be aiming for as a target.  So does this mean we could raise the dead?  Yes.  Does this mean we could walk on water?  Yes.  Does this mean we could be outcasts from society, fought against constantly and held up for public ridicule?  No doubt about it!

No one should ever claim they have a comprehensive grasp of the Scriptures, but I don’t think it’s all that hard to grasp the significance of Jesus’ promise above:  We are being encouraged to be like Him to the glory of God the Father.

Yet there is a caveat/addendum/exception that we can’t ignore.

First our lives must jive with that of the Master; meaning, we must be seeking God day and night, spending hours in hearing God’s voice, adjusting our thinking to that of His Word and completely dispelling the motives we were born with to be replaced by His purpose.

Understanding the truth of this last statement doesn’t mean we can actually practice it right away.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet most truths we discover are impossible for us without disciplined effort and concentration.  Seeking God’s will for our lives may seem like  a given once we accept Christ, however, the reality is much different than the fantasy we’ve built up around it.  The fantasy preaches a victorious life but refuses to acknowledge the failures or blind alleys our choices will confront along the way.  It’s sad that so many people grow discouraged with following Jesus, since the change of our natures has nothing whatsoever to do with us anyway.  Our submission to God allows for His Holy Spirit to inhabit our being, which then brings about the change promised.

Submission to God’s will is the key and this submission equals obedience.

Many Christians act like people who know they need to exercise but just can’t find the time, energy or motivation to get into the habit.  Or, on the other side, they focus so much on the exercise they forget to have a life.  Balance is always the key here.  Either we tend toward works or welfare driven faith and neither equals a victorious life in Christ.

Jesus promises His disciples a miraculous life if they have faith in Him.  This means, of course, that our faith must be actively following the Master lifestyle, habits and outreach.  The only way we will do greater things than Jesus demonstrated is if we do the works of Jesus…this doesn’t mean just the miracles but follow His pursuits.  Jesus’ understanding of the Father’s will was absolutely in harmony with Scripture.  I dare say many of us find ourselves with relativism as a guide to our grasp of spiritual truth instead of a clear understanding of it from the context.  We bring to it our current state of mind then superimpose that state of mind onto the text.

It should work the other way around.  No matter what our spiritual context or mental state, Scripture must dictate our understanding.  It is the filter by which we see truth and the world around us.  We will never do the work of God as promised above until we master the perspective of Christ.

I don’t know that perspective fully and I doubt anyone else does either.  The body of Christ as a whole might have a pretty good grasp of it, but I’d bet it has holes in the explanation.

I’m not saying this to discourage anyone, rather I want to encourage us to earnestly seek to understand godliness from Christ’s POV.  Our lack is wrapped up in grace and our efforts used to the glory of God despite our inability to see clearly.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5, 6.


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