Greater Works Than These John 14:12 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jesus said, “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,” [Jn 14:12].
Jesus didn’t say that they who believed on him would be greater than he is by the works they do [Matt 10:24-25a]. He said, “greater works than these shall he do.” Many today who want to do greater works than Jesus did are looking to the Holy Spirit to make them great. They have more ambition for the power, and the recognition they can gain from that power, than they have compassion for those they could help if they had that power.
Jesus didn’t say that they who believed on him would do miracles that were more powerful than the greatest miracles that Jesus did. Many today who have a desire to do greater works than Jesus did want to do miracles that are more powerful than he did. But, the statement Jesus made reminds us of the “greater works” of Elisha following the ministry of Elijah. Elisha requested a double portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah [2 Ki 2:9]. Thus, his recorded miracles are twice as many as Elijah did. The types of miracles Elisha did were similar to Elijah’s. For example, both of them raised a boy from the dead.
Jesus didn’t say that they who believed on him would all do greater works than these. Spiritual gifts differ [1 Cor 12:1-4; 28-31]. Some would have you believe that you are a second class Christian, if you don’t demonstrate some miraculous gift of the Spirit, like speaking in tongues or healing people. But, even during the apostolic age, not all had the gifts of healing and not all spoke with tongues.
Jesus didn’t say that they who believed on him would do greater works throughout the entire church age. The disciples were commanded to perform miracles in Matt 10:8 for the benefit of those to whom they were preaching. Paul could heal people and cast out demons by sending handkerchiefs and aprons from his body [Acts 19:12]. Yet, with all that power, he didn’t heal Trophimus [2 Tim 4:20] or Timothy [1 Tim 5:23]. Late in his ministry, as God’s dealings with the Jews waned and the gospel turned to the Gentiles [Acts 28:25-28], Paul’s gift of healing waned.
What Jesus was getting at in Jn 14:12 is this. After his ascension, the apostles did the same kind of works that Jesus did, only more of them, like Elisha did following Elijah. In that sense, their works were “greater.” They didn’t do these works to demonstrate their spiritual superiority. They did these works because the people needed to believe and be healed.
Furthermore, in Matt 10, where the disciples were told to preach the kingdom and do “these works” [Matt 10:7-8], you also see references to the Tribulation [Matt 10:22-23]. By comparing Mk 16:17-18, we see that those preaching in the Tribulation are going to do the works that Jesus and the disciple did. In addition, they will speak with new tongues, take up serpents and drink deadly things without dying. Do you know why they will be doing these things? They will do these “greater works,” practically speaking, because they will be necessary.
According to Rev 6:8, a fourth part of the earth will be killed by, among other things, the beasts of the earth. Snakes will be biting and killing people and those preaching in the Tribulation will be able to take up those snakes without dying. In Rev 8:9-10, Wormwood will poison the drinking water. Those preaching in the Tribulation will be able to drink the water without dying. Plus, they will speak in new tongues because the Tribulation saints will be from every tongue [Rev 7:9, 14]. There will be no time for language school during the short duration of the Tribulation. Thus, the gift of tongues will return. To my knowledge, Jesus never had to speak in tongues; but the apostles had to and the Tribulation preachers must, as well.
As you can see, the “works,” of which Jesus spoke, were never to prove the superior spirituality of those who performed them. They were always practical works for the benefit of those to whom he and the disciples ministered. The “greater works,” like the works that Elisha did when he succeeded Elijah in the ministry, are for practical purposes. They are for the problems with which those who preached during the early Jewish ministry of the church age had to deal and those who will preach during the Tribulation must deal.