In today’s text we see an interesting charge be given to the master’s disciples, for the purpose of God the father being glorified in the earth.
Jesus has announced that he is leaving them. He has spoken of going back to be with the Father in Heaven, and preparing them a place that they may also be with him there.
The news of this departure has made these brothers fearful, disappointed and filled them with sorrow.
Then, the conversation takes a turn; Jesus begins to give them promises of unseen power to do things that will impact the future, bring glory to God and change their lives forever.
Not only is he leaving them and their earthly times of communion, but he is leaving them to continue the work that he started and confusion fills the disciples.
- He has given them a mandate to follow.
- He has trained them for a mission that they did not want.
- He has assured them that the Father would be pleased if they moved on his command.
The text opens up with a testament to the power of Jesus:
12“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.’
According to the text there is a condition applied to those who will work for the Father.
- It is a condition of belief. One who works for God must believe that He is God.
- They must also believe in the work of God.
The power that Jesus gives to his disciples is shown as he states, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also;”
- If they believe in Him, the works that they saw Him do, they will do also.
- The phrase written here “Will he do also” is what we call an emphatic pronoun (ekeinos), “that one also.”
It makes claim that what Jesus did, they can do! This is a promise, a fact, a proven claim! It is given that their discouraged hearts might be lifted from the despair of the bad news that they just received!
The good news for the disciples is that they will be able to do what Jesus did, in his absence. Not only will they be able to do what he did, but they will be able to do more of it!
“And greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean that their miracles or spiritual works will be greater in quality, but that they will be greater in quantity. Greater works would definitely happen for the apostles because Jesus’ works were limited to Judea only—theirs would turn the world upside down. Here, we can historically compare Peter at Pentecost and Paul’s missional tours.
Jesus did these miracles first, so there is no one that can beat what he did in quality. Because he was the Son of God, His works are done by the hand of triune God. The disciples work will be done with their hands through the triune God.
The disciples who came after Jesus would be able to do more than he did, because of their earthly life span, ministry time on earth, and the impact of global communities. They would travel further, see more people, touch more lives, and therefore do greater works, than the Christ did in quantity, not quality.
We also see here the reason Jesus gives them as to why and how they would be able to do greater works—“because I go”! The reason for this ministry promise is made possible by the Holy Spirit as Paraclete, the Greek word for advocate or helper (Jn. 16:7).
When Jesus says that the disciples will do “greater works than these,” he is also implying that the same omnipotence working through Him will also work through them, enabling them to do greater work because of the duration of their service on earth.
Jesus is reminding the disciples that those who believe in His name shall, through his almighty power, be enabled to work greater miracles than those which He has performed.
We can see the New Testament account of the greater works by the first disciples:
- Peter’s shadow healed the diseased in Acts 5:15 (power).
- Diseases were cured and demons were cast out by the applying of handkerchiefs and aprons that had come in contact with the body of Paul in Acts 19:12 (power).
- By the word of Peter Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead in Acts chapters 5, 9 & 10 (power).
- Elymas, the sorcerer, was struck blind by the word of Paul in Acts 13:11 (power).
Christ only preached in Judea, and only in the language of that country; but the apostles preached through the world, and in the languages of all countries.
This power comes as Jesus states, “because I go,” it is because of this statement that the works will be done!
I’m happy today because I believe in HIS name—I have seen his power take place as I travel around the world!
- I’ve seen the sick get well in other parts of the world (power).
- I’ve seen the gospel change lives in new church plants (power).
- I’ve seen the hungry get fed and meals being served (power).
- I’ve seen the truth and bible lessons being taught (power).
- I’ve seen the power of God in prayers being prayed (power).
- I’ve seen the power of forgiveness and broken marriages saved (power).
- I’ve seen the promise of grace and babies born, baptized and taught to obey (power).
- I’ve seen the power of wisdom in every sermon preached (power).
- I’ve seen the hope of salvation and lives being changed (power).
- I’ve seen the assurance of peace and every heart encouraged (power).
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I’ve seen these great works done, and am looking for more to be done by the disciples!
This is a promise to the believer who is committed to working for Christ in the earth.
Jesus goes on to mention the power of a promise to the believer who is committed to working for Him in the earth in verse thirteen:
13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
- Here we have the divine promise and assurance of asking and receiving.
- The language he is using here is the language of a mediator (a person who goes on another’s behalf).
- The request of the disciples, are to be submitted to the Father, and done in the name of the Son.
- According to this procedure, there is a divine Promise that the believer can count on!
Jesus also says that whatsoever you ask—this statement aligns itself with the previous verse that speaks of our works that will be done!
So in other words, whatever we need to accomplish through His will and plan, he will do it, give it, open it and bless it. He will provide it, heal it, and allow it so that the Father’s name may be glorified!
In looking at verse thirteen, I notice a few things:
- Jesus as OUR Mediator is also our Head and Lord of the Kingdom of God.
- That makes this promise a promise! It cannot not be granted!
- It’s God divine Word!
This type of praying is dangerous praying for the believer! It’s dangerous because if they really believe it, then they are all in when it comes to the things of God! This type of praying implies that the believer wants what God wants, and their desires are God’s desires!
This is the formula for kingdom praying!
- This is the way to lose yourself in God!
- This is the way to die to one’s own selfish life! For the things of God!
- This is the way to abandon the things of this world for the things of God!
- This is how you give up your ‘thing’ in exchange for the Kingdom!
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
What does it mean to be glorified in the Son? Here it implies that the Father, will receive the glory from the Son’s work in our lives; Jesus will work in us, but the Father will receive the glory because the Son gives all glory to the Father!
This comprehensive statement and promise of the Christ is emphatically stated again in the following verse which involves the permission of Jesus.
14If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
As we come to a close, we hear and see again the promise, power and permission given to the disciples to participate with the Divine and His work on earth!
The statement is said to confirm what was spoken and to encourage them to believe in what was said.
Because of the doubt, fear, trouble and sorrow in their hearts, Jesus yet again gives them the power, promise and now permission to try him and the Father in prayer.
The emphasis in this verse is put on the latter end of the sentence
- “I WILL DO IT (in the name of Jesus)!”
- “I WILL PERFORM IT (in the name of Jesus)!”
- “I WILL BRING IT TO PASS (in the name of Jesus)!”
- “I’LL MAKE IT HAPPEN (in the name of Jesus)!”
- “I WILL SEE THAT IT GETS DONE (in the name of Jesus)!”
It is here where the curious believer gets to try God at His word; it is where the skeptic gets to test the mandate; it is where those who are on the fence get to try God at his word, all in the name of Jesus!
About 15 years ago a group of us young preachers got together in a few all night prayer sessions. In these sessions, we began to ask God to use us for His honor and His glory.
As time went by we began to go into some of California’s deadliest prisons and preach the gospel to lifers, killers, rapists, drive-by shooters, and gangsters from all walks of life!
We also began crusades in local cities, and saw street gangs, prostitutes, drug dealers, and everyday people give their lives to the Lord!
It all started with a few ‘dangerous prayers’! Some of us kept praying, and God sent us into different cities and countries, and we haven’t stopped asking for ‘dangerous things’.
When you take advantage of the promises in God’s word, God moves upon those who really desire what he desires! God moves within those who are really trusting him at his word! God’s word cannot lie; his promises are that he will hear us and he will do it!