The Greater Works

April 27, 2022

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 (John 14:12).

This text has caused a lot of discussion on the part of modern-day Christians. Was Jesus speaking about His disciples, or was He speaking about all Christians beyond the 1st century? Was Jesus saying Christians would be able to do everything He did (i.e., raise the dead, walk on water, etc.), or was He saying Christians would be able to do only those works that minister to people (i.e., feed the poor, care for the sick, etc.)? What greater works are Christians capable of that Jesus Himself did not do?

A.T. Robertson believed, “Not necessarily greater miracles and not greater spiritual works in quality, but greater in quantity (i.e., Peter at Pentecost and Paul’s mission tours). Albert Barnes wrote, “The word ‘works’ here probably denotes not merely miracles, but all things that the apostles did that made an impression on mankind, including their travels, their labors, their doctrine, etc. The word ‘greater’ cannot refer to the miracles themselves, for the works of the apostles did not exceed those of Jesus in power. No higher exertion of power was put forth, or could be, than raising the dead. But, though not greater in themselves considered, yet they were greater in their effects. They made a deeper impression on mankind. They were attended with more extensive results. They were the means of the conversion of more sinners.”

It is evident from the remainder of the New Testament that the Apostles were able to perform miraculous works as they ministered the Gospel to their world. Peter healed a crippled man (Acts 3:1-11), healed Aeneas of palsy (Acts 9:33-34), and raise Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-41). Paul healed a crippled man (Acts 14:8-10), cast out a demon out of a slave girl (Acts 16:16-18), and raised Eutychus from the dead after the young man fell out of a window and broke his neck (Acts 20:7-12). Many other miraculous works the Apostles performed that verified their ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But these were not things the Apostles gloried in. Their ability to do miraculous works was empowered by the Holy Spirit, to the glory of Jesus Christ, to the salvation of souls, and to the spread of the Gospel throughout the region.

Unlike today, where certain ‘ministers of the Gospel’ are known for their healing ministries, all attention is brought to them. They become rich off of the crowds that come to watch them ‘perform miracles’. People flock to hear them, see them, touch them, and be touched by them. As in the days of Jesus, when people came to Him for what He could physically do for them, people are drawn to these ‘workers of miracles’ for what can be done for them physically. What about the spiritual condition of the people? What about their salvation. The greater work that Jesus has promised that we would do is the bringing in the harvest of souls that are ripe for salvation. Very few were saved by the ministry of Jesus, but in the 2 millennia since then, the followers of Jesus have brought a multitude of souls into the Kingdom. Let us glory in this rather than the ability to heal a person of a crippled foot. Amen.


Share this with your friends