Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
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.
He was my quintessential quirky professor. Sometime he lectured standing up and sometimes lying sideways on his desk. But he always carried a cap pistol for emphasizing points in his lectures. He fired the cap pistol once to tell us that we better wake up and listen. He fired twice to emphasize that the point he was about to make was very important. And he fired the cap pistol three times to let us know that what he was about to say would be on the final exam.
Jesus wanted people to wake up and listen to Him. Sometimes for added emphasis He would say “Very truly” (Greek: amen amen) He wanted listeners to know that what He was about to say was critically important. Thus, Jesus begins today’s scripture with emphasis: “Very truly, I tell you”, then continues, “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these…”
Now that Jesus has our attention, we might wonder how we could do “greater works” than He did. If Jesus means “greater works” to be more miraculous, it would be difficult to improve upon walking on water, stilling a storm, feeding multitudes, and raising the dead. It is essential to see that Jesus relates doing “greater works” with His “going to the Father”. Jesus will later connect His going to the Father with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all believers (John 16:7). The “greater works” will be the expanded work of the Holy Spirit while Jesus reigns at the right hand of the Father. “That which was done by St. Peter at Pentecost, by St. Paul all over the world, that which is effected by an ordinary preacher, a single believer, by bringing the Spirit into the heart, could not be done by Jesus during His sojourn in this world.” (Frédéric Godet, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Vol. 3)
Jesus’ brief three-year ministry was limited to Galilee and Judea. By today’s standards He did not travel far or minister and preach to that many people. But through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all believers, Jesus will continue to minister and preach throughout the world. In the Book of Acts we see how “all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning” goes out “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:1, 8). That means that God delights in using you and me to do His “greater works” around the world! Teresa of Avila said it well:
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.”
Just think: “Very truly” Christ is pleased to do His work in the world through you and me!
- How do I sense Christ might want to use me today to do His work in the world?
- What do I want to say to Christ about doing His work through me?
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)