Together in Christ: 'Greater Works?!' — John 14:12

Thursday, September 21, 2023

[Jesus promised his disciples,] "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"
— John 14:12 NLT

Key Thought

I am not sure why we often gloss over this statement and write it off as hyperbole. Maybe we excuse ourselves from expecting much from this promise by saying Jesus only made it to His apostles or the first-century church? Maybe in a world where something that seems too good to be true can't be? Maybe our own failures in ministry and our personal lives lead us to disbelieve or ignore this promise. I want to be both a troubling voice and a comforting voice.

I want to trouble us enough to realize we cannot dismiss this promise so quickly or the responsibilities that go with it. Paul's words that close His prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 will not allow us to ignore Jesus' promise. In fact, I believe Paul penned this close to his famous prayer with the help of the Spirit to remind us of Jesus' promise in John 14:12. Remember what he prayed?

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. [1]

I also want to bring comfort and remind us that the promises of the Helper, the Comforter, the Counselor, and the Advocate [2] we have in the Holy Spirit assures us of this power inside us. In addition, Jesus promises that all the Godhead, Father-Son-Spirit, make their home in us and won't leave us. [3] This powerful presence empowered a bunch of "loose lugnuts" [4] we call apostles to turn the world upside down for Jesus. [5] Of course, they did this because Jesus was faithful to His promise to pour out the Holy Spirit on them, [6] and to us, [7] with power to do what He called us to do.

Jesus is our Lord, Savior, Friend, and indwelling presence. Let's believe Him — despite what current circumstances may suggest — when He promised us:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
[1] Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT. We looked at these verses yesterday.
[2] These are English words frequently used to translate παράκλητον — paraklaeton — a Greek word that catches up all of our words in its meaning and nuances.
[3] John 14:16-17, 21, 23; Romans 8:32-39.
[4] This is one of my cornbread English expressions I like to characterize the apostles. Lug nuts hold a wheel onto a vehicle, and when they come loose, the wheel wobbles, the car vibrates, and when they come off, they make a terrible racket, and the vehicle crashes.
[5] The "loose lugnut" apostles became world-changers — Acts 17:6 ESV.
[6] The apostles' transformation occurred when the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to live out their mission given by Jesus — Acts 1:8, 2:1-17.
[7] Titus 3:3-7.

Today's Prayer

Father, we believe Jesus, but help our unbelief and forgive our lack of boldness in response to this promise. Open our eyes, Lord, and empower us Holy Spirit to live into this promise in our time. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ephesians 3:14-21
  • John 14:15-23

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Illustration

Illustration of John 14:12 NLT — [Jesus promised his disciples,] "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.