Greater things

I know I’ve been away awhile, and that I really should explain myself and write a big, wonderful, moving post. But I’m not going to. 🙂

I’m thinking a lot about John 14, which we’ll be looking at next Sunday in worship. Jesus’ words are absolutely shocking: “The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to the Father.” See the whole passage we’ll be looking at here.

He’s just raised a man from death, he’s just entered the center of Jewish authority to the roaring of the crowds, the whole world has gone over to him…and we’ll do GREATER things? What in the world does that mean?

My brain sort of rebels against that very thought, filled with “buts” and “you don’t really mean…” and caveats and disclaimers that I wish Jesus would have given. But then I think about how Josh and Andy have followed God’s leading to Thailand and back, looking for how God might bring justice to the horror of child trafficking. I think of our friend Sarah and how she and a few friends are raising money to build a midwife center in a part of the world that desperately needs it. And I wonder if I sell short the power of Jesus in my life.

Will you help me? What do you think Jesus meant by “greater things”? What is he doing in you and the people you know? What do you do that helps remove the “buts” and disclaimers and allows the power of God to work in and through you?

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3 thoughts on “Greater things

  1. Richard Foster says, “I determine to learn to pray so that my experience conforms to the words of Jesus rather than try to make his words conform to my impoverished experience.” (Celebration of Discipline, p37, 1998). In the very next verse of John 14 Jesus says, “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. (Wow!) Later in John 15:7 he says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” I think this implies that we will know the right things to ask for because we know and are known by Christ intimately. I have started praying more consistently and some amazing things have been happening. God has been answering my prayers. Yes, great things will happen, but I believe it is Christ interceding for us and moving through us that gets all the Glory.

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  2. I’m not convinced Jesus meant “greater” in a qualitive sense; as many miracles as were performed by the apostles and early Christians after the resurrection, none really qualify as being greater than Jesus performed himself. Based on the context I’m more inclinded to think he meant it in a quantitive sense.

    Jesus was looking forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit and the creation of the Church. The clause “… because I go to the Father” ties in to vss 5-7 in chapter 16, “But now I am going to Him who sent Me;…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you”. Because of coming of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the Church, Jesus was looking forward to the message of His kingdom being spread around the world.

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  3. Reading through this passage again tonight I noticed something interesting. It’s like Jesus is asking us to believe this amazing thing (that he is in the Father and vice versa and we can be too) but if you can’t get your mind around that then at least believe in the miracles. I have always equated doing ‘greater things’ with the miracles but now I’m thinking that ‘greater things’ means so much more. For me it means extending Jesus’ reach into my time, into my culture, into my world – a place he can only get to through me.

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