“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father” (Jn 14:12).
This verse connects our faith to a stunning promise of Jesus. Jesus says that if we believe in Him, we will do works such as His and in fact do even greater works. How is this even possible?
The key is in the second prerequisite to the greater works after our faith; Jesus going to the Father. Because Jesus is going to the Father, His followers will do greater works than He.
The fulfillment of the promise is clear to us now, but its first utterance had to be confusing to the disciples. But it did not take long to be fulfilled.
Following Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, His band of followers numbered around 120 people. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit – only available now because Jesus went to the Father (Jn 16:7) – fell as a rushing wind and indwelt Jesus’ disciples. A Spirit filled Peter preached a message of repentance and forgiveness in the person and work of Jesus and 3000 souls were saved. The church was born.
Jesus’ work on earth was limited to a specific time and place and reach that one man, even the Son of God, “could” (or more accurately “chose”) to accomplish. This was part of God’s plan when He sent His Son in the form of a man. But now, on the day of Pentecost and hereafter, God was no longer working on earth through one man, Jesus. God was actually indwelling and working through 12 apostles, and 120 people, and 3000 new believers, and by today in the billions.
God can be a lot of places and be doing “greater works” when He lives and works through a billion believers. Jesus said, “The works that I do shall you do also.” These “greater works” are still the work of Jesus. But they are no longer accomplished by His presence among us. They are accomplished by His Spirit within us.
Take courage. God is still at work in this world. And you are a part of that work. You are a recipient of the work of God and an agent of the work of God. His work is all around and in you. You are part of God’s “greater works”.