The weekend offers a little extra time to consider, to perhaps dive a bit deeper into the Scriptures. Schedules can slow down a bit and offer more opportunities to think. So here is a topic and several scriptures to consider. Please share your own thoughts or comments.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:11-12
The other day I was writing down notes on this place in John where Jesus says some pretty amazing things. I mean, have you ever really considered what Jesus is saying here in John 14? We will do greater things than Jesus did?!
That must be hyperbole right? Jesus just being Jesus—saying things for shock value and to get people’s attention, and then later it turns out he means something different than what it sounded like. That has to be it, right?
But it doesn’t seem so. You don’t see the subtle reveal and it turns out that what he really meant was a little different than first appeared. There isn’t the gathering of the disciples off to the side where Jesus helps them put the pieces together and explains it all. We don’t find this being one of the things that disciples misunderstood until after the resurrection and then suddenly it all clicks and they realize he meant something different than they thought. No, he just leaves it at this. And so do the disciples. And so does Paul. The Bible doesn’t offer further commentary on what jesus says here. At least not direct commentary.
So I was pondering this and questioning and considering what Jesus must mean and how could I do greater things than Jesus when I definitely don’t even do “as good as” things. And I was wondering at how frustrating it is to read things like this and considering just moving on and chalking it up to the millions of things in the Bible I don’t understand.
Then, later in the day I found myself reading Ann Voskamp’s writing on this same subject, on the same day I was reading about it. Weird. Or maybe God. Sometimes I’ve found it’s harder than you might think to distinguish between the two!
Ann wasn’t looking at the passage in John, but a related passage in Mark. It reads like this:
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18
You can read Ann’s whole writing on this passage here. It is well worth your time. And helpful in considering the words of John 14.
As for John 14, where does this leave us? What does it look like to do greater things than Jesus? I’ve never healed the sick. I’ve never commanded the dead to rise again. I’ve never walked on water. How could I do greater things than these?
I have however, had moments—brief though they may be—of living with resurrection power. With Jesus in me I have forgiven when it was beyond painful to do so. I have let go of habits and bitterness and hate. I have carried the whole of God in my heart and walked roads I would rather have run from. I have watch myself heal and heard the Spirit speak.
Is that what Jesus means? Are the greater things than what he did things we can do because of what he did?
Consider these words from John 14: “…all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
What does that mean? What should we expect?
Please share your thoughts and questions.