Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Greater things than these ..."

Everything Jesus said was true - everything!!  Right?  So someone asked me today, "What did Jesus mean when He told His disciples that they would do greater things than the things HE had done?"  Those words are found in John 14:12.

Phillip had asked Jesus to show them the Father.  Jesus answered, "Don't you know me, Phillip, even after I have been among you such a long time?  Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. ... The words I say to you are not just my own.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing HIS work.  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 miracles themselves.  I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"   (John 14:9-14).

So what did Jesus mean when He said those who had faith in Him would do greater things?  Where are the "greater things?"  Where are the miracles?  Ah, the miracles.  Is THAT what Jesus was talking about?  Not really.  He was talking about the Father's work and He said the miracles were just evidence of the Father's work.  What was the Father's work?  The WORD!!  Jesus wanted them to believe His Word, His message.  When Phillip wanted to see the Father, Jesus said, "The words I say to you are not just my own.  Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work."  HIS words were His Father's words.

God's desire is to make Himself known.  This IS the "greater work" which we are called to do - to carry the message of God the Father to the entire world!  That takes us right to Psalm 73, where we looked at verses 25-26 yesterday.  When God is all we need and we set our minds on things above, we show that we are living in His kingdom, under His reign, right now, even as we live in this world.  God in all His glory is in heaven, but through His Church, His people, the "called-out ones" (the literal translation of the word, "church" ... "ekklesia"), God continues His work on the earth - the work of making Himself known.  That's what Psalm 73 is about.

The Psalmist was distraught because evil seemed to be winning.  He was ready to go to his friends and to the world and say, "Believing in God doesn't help.  What good does it do?  Bad things still happen; in fact, those who DON'T believe in God have it easier than those who do.  This doesn't make sense!"  But then he entered the sanctuary of God (Psalm 73, verse 17).  He set his heart and mind on things above and he shut his mouth long enough to LISTEN to God's still small voice.  The result was that he gained understanding about how God works in the world and it led him to say, in verses 23-24:  "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory."

Now he was ready to testify.  Before, he was, in his own words (verses 21-22), "senseless and ignorant" ... "like a brute beast."  God's work is making Himself known in and through His people.  Jesus told the disciples that they would do more of that work than HE did because He was going to ascend into heaven and pour out His Holy Spirit to give them wisdom, courage and boldness.  Notice the result of God's teaching in Psalm 73, verses 27-28:  "Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.  But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will TELL of all your deeds!"

"He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."  What an honor, what a privilege, to be an instrument in the Father's hands to proclaim His name to the world.  As you live to do that, ask for whatever you need, and the Father will give it to you in the name of Jesus!!

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