Greater Works


Jesus promised his disciples that they would be doing greater works:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.   (John 14:12-13)

That promise also extends to us if we are his disciples. Let us take the example of the Apostle Philip. Philip was having doubts and he asked Jesus:

“Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”   (John 14:8-14)

When the words of Jesus sank in this same Philip became a great evangelist. He began performing the “greater works” which Jesus promised. The signs and wonders he performed made a great impact on the people of Samaria when he preached the word there:

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.   (Acts 8:4-8)

How did the skeptic Philip grow into such a powerful ministry? He meditated on the teachings of Jesus. Jesus explained that the greater works that Philip and others were called to do would be accomplished in the same manner as Jesus’ own ministry on earth. Jesus did not do the works. He explained:

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”   (John 14:10)

Are we ready to step into the “greater works” ministry? We must first step into Jesus and the Father by faith. Then we must receive the promise from the Father which is the Holy Spirit. If a skeptic like Philip could answer the call then why should we remain a skeptic when there is an exciting ministry ahead?

What is very important is that we realize the ministry is not ours but God’s. We cannot do miracles but God can. In Acts we read of a crippled beggar:

When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us. And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.   (Acts 3:3-8)

Peter was careful to set the record straight when people thought he and John had performed a miracle:

While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished. When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?   (Acts:11-12)

God gives us the power in the name of Jesus and we must give God all the glory. Peter would not allow anyone to believe that he was the cause of or power behind the miracle. He pointed out that the miracle was by faith in the name of Jesus:

And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.   (Acts 3:16)

The greater works are do by the power of the Holy Spirit and though faith in the name and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot do any greater works on our own. In fact, discernment must be coupled with faith. Peter and John were able to make the determination that God wanted to heal the crippled beggar and that this man would be able to receive that healing. They first examined the him carefully:

And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”

In one glance they were able to tell by the Holy Spirit that this man had the eyes of faith. Again Jesus said:

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”   (John 14:10)

There is always this question about the greater works: How can we do anything greater than Jesus? What can compare to the work that Jesus did for us on the cross? Nothing! Nonetheless, we are called by God to extend his work. We are not spectators in  this world. Rather, we are called to mobilize the resources which God gives us in Christ. We are called to live the life in the Spirit which Jesus lived and thereby multiply the works of the Father.