I am banking everything on Jesus.
The way I do life, finances, marriage, kids, work, and play, I seek to do things his way. If he says it, I am changed by it. That is not saying that I always do it, but I am at the place in life where I believe his ways are always better than mine even when they don’t make sense to me (Is. 55:10-11).
That’s why this verse has always troubled me:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
Think about it. Jesus fed 5,000, walked on water, and raised the dead. The deaf could hear, the lame could walk, and the blind could see. Everywhere he went, amazing things happened.
And we are supposed to experience greater works than his?
I believe John 14:12 theologically, but I deny it practically.
How This Works
How is this even supposed to happen? What does Jesus imply here? In order to see greater works:
- You must believe in Jesus.
- You must believe in the works he accomplished.
- You must believe that God inside you is better than God beside you.
In the surrounding verses of this teaching, Jesus keeps emphasizing that the Holy Spirit, the Helper, is going to come when he leaves. In fact, he says it will be to their advantage if Jesus leaves and the Holy Spirit comes (John 16:7). What?! Having God walking in the flesh beside you everyday must be the epitome of Kingdom work. Not according to Jesus.
Having God inside you is better than having God beside you.
- Did Jesus mean that we would accomplish things more significant than people being raised from the dead?
- Did he mean that in his absence, his work would be multiplied because the disciples would step up in the power of the Holy Spirit instead of relying solely on his personal activity?
- Did he mean that spiritual conversions would be more rampant than personal healings which have greater Kingdom value?
Maybe. Yes. Kinda. I don’t really know for sure, but I do know this:
I fail to believe Jesus on this issue.
Practically speaking, did I wake up this morning expecting to do works greater than what I read about in the Bible? Do any of us operate from this mindset? Most days, we are hitting the snooze button, grasping for caffeine, and burdened by the day ahead.
Shame on me. Shame on us.
We need to live and pray and work like we expect to see his Kingdom work come among us like it happens in heaven (Matt. 6:10). We should anticipate being amazed at what God can do around us (Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9). We should have faith that God is still going to do the impossible around us (Matt. 17:20; Matt. 21:21; Mark 11:23; Mark 16:17).
I don’t know all that John 14:12 implies, but I do know this: I don’t live most days as if I even believe it.
That needs to change.
Instead of trying to just “get through” the day, maybe I should start living with Kingdom anticipatory eyes at all that the Holy Spirit is going to do in me, through me, and around me.
[This thought came from an application point in the sermon, “When Goliath Is Yesterday’s News.”]