May 23, 2017
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 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. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes 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. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I remember the first time I came across this text years ago. I’m sure I had read it before but for some reason on that occasion it jumped off the page.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes 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.
I remember filing it into a growing collection of scripture texts I categorized as follows: This is either not true or I am not getting it. I believed it then just as I believe it now, and I think I get it more than I got it then, but if I’m honest, I must admit to you I still think I’m missing something here.
How about you? Have you been doing the works of Jesus and even greater works than he did while on Earth? I’ve had people try to let me off the hook by saying Jesus wasn’t exactly talking about greater, as in works of greater magnitude. They said he meant greater as in quantity of works. Nice try, but I don’t buy it. I’m convinced he meant greater in every respect.
Honestly, I would settle for simply doing the same works Jesus did. Those would be great enough for starters don’t you think? So what’s the problem. Why aren’t the uncommon works of Jesus more commonplace in our time? I will risk a diagnosis. We aren’t seeing the greater works because we don’t yet possess the greater love.
Return again with me to those days when I first discovered this text. I diagnosed my deficit as a power problem, which quickly led me to believe I had a faith problem. I didn’t have enough faith. After all, Jesus did say, “whoever believes in me,” so I focused on believing more thinking I would gain more power. It didn’t work.
Finally, the obvious occurs to me that John 14 is couched between John 13, of which v.34-35 reads:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
and John 15, of which vv.12-13 reads:
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
It’s interesting too to note this movement between 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Remember what chapter 13 is all about? You got it. Love.
I am convinced Love is the power. We will finally see “greater things” when we learn the ways of “greater love.” It makes sense doesn’t it? When we finally break into the rarified air of loving others as Jesus has loved us, we will discover the only true power and that it has been waiting on us the whole time.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is the love of God. Thank you that to love as he loves is impossible apart from his presence. Teach us to love his presence more than his power and in doing so to discover the power of his love in our presence. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
- Can we really do greater things than even Jesus did? Is it true? Or are you just not getting it?
- Can you recount a time when you saw greater love lead to greater things?
- What holds you back from the way of “greater love?” Will it be worth it in the end to have held back?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.