Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father (John 14:12 KJV)
Two classic interpretation options take the meaning of greater as we will do greater miracles qualitatively or quantitatively. What greater healing of human bodies, raising the dead, chasing demons etc can we do which are greater than what Jesus did? In John 5:20, Jesus uses the phrase “greater works” to refer to more impressive miracles He would perform later so this possibility is not totally ruled out. Furthermore, the word “greater” as used in this verse does not mean more in number, so the interpretation that assumes we will be more in number across the world doing more than Jesus could do as a single person is not tenable.
The word “greater” is from the Greek “megas” which means greater in size, importance or degree. A subtle clue to Jesus’ use of the word “greater” in this verse comes from Matt 11:11 where Jesus says there has not been any greater prophet than John the Baptist. In essence He said the works of John were greater than those of Moses, Elijah etc. That should make your head shake! John did no miracle( John 10:41). In what then was John’s works greater than those of the Old Testament prophets? That is a subtle clue to interpreting this verse. There is one thing Jesus could not do, which is greater than all the miracles He performed, whether healing, feeding thousands or casting out demons. He could not bring people to experience the new birth, receive the Spirit in their hearts and change them from sinners to children of God. This takes place so uneventfully and many of us do not realize how great this work is. Today, you can share the Gospel with a sinner, bring them to accept Jesus and make them children of God in minutes without drama or noise yet that is the greatest work or “miracle” that can ever take place in a person’s life!
Please take a moment to read the excellent commentary I have selected on this verse to review the major exegetical issues on this verse. It will be posted only on our Facebook Page(see my comment below the Facebook post).
APPLY THE WORD
Jesus said you will do two things. Frist, you will do His works. This includes the miracles. Second, He said you will do greater works. Jesus did not ask us to choose one. He wants us to get both. I have shared before that the greatest “miracle” in a person’s life is not healing of their body or supernatural provision. It is the transformation of their hearts. Frist, at the new birth and then by the powerful renewal of their minds and character by the Word of God. This is where the Church today, especially a major part of the charismatic circle, is failing tremendously. We have moved too far in the pendulum and become too obsessed with miracles and meeting peoples’ physical needs while their hearts and character remain unchanged. We have a double challenge. We need to perform the degree of miracles Jesus performed but above all else, unleash a radical transformation of men’s hearts by the undiluted and uncorrupted Word of God!
Ask the Spirit to take you into the realms of “greater works”.