Summary: Jesus gives verses which are often misinterpreted in John 14 and answer the following questions: 1. What are the "greater works" of believers"? 2. What did Jesus mean by "ask anything in my name and you shall receive it?
“Faith, Works and Prayer”
Reading John 14:11-14: “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. 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. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Believe me: I am in the Father; The Father is in Me.
Last week we considered John 14:11: “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” Believing that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father is an essential part of true faith because it is part of the Gospel. It is never enough to “just love Jesus” without knowing and believing the truth ABOUT Jesus. Jesus’ urging is to continually believe, not only in or into Him, but specifically this truth about Himself: “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” If you can’t accept Jesus’ word for this truth, allow the works of Jesus to demonstrate and testify this truth: No one but God could do the works which Jesus did.
Greater Works than Jesus
Then Jesus continues in verse 12: "Most assuredly, (Amen, Amen) 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.”
Here is a verse which has caused much discussion, as you can well imagine. Have you or other Christians you know done “greater works” than Jesus? Notice that Jesus repeats two of the words which He used in verse 11, the words “believe” and the word “works”. Jesus’ works should inevitably lead a person to believe that Jesus and the Father are ONE.
So Jesus is not only addressing the disciples in verse 12, but He indicates that ANYONE who believes in Jesus in this way is included. When one believes into or in Jesus, he abandons all self-trust and abandons any hope of salvation apart from the saving work of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. It means trusting in the work of God alone for forgiveness and salvation, apart from your own works.
So what are the “greater works” which a believer in Christ will do? First of all we have to realize that Jesus is not referring to spectacular or supernatural works. All believers do not heal others, calm rough seas, walk on water, or raise people from the dead. So Jesus is not speaking of the “spectacular” which Jesus performed. Neither is He is speaking of accomplishing “More” or different works.
Jesus is most likely speaking of “greater works” in a wider sense. Jesus came in order to become the substitutionary sacrifice for sin for those who would believe into Him for forgiveness, life and salvation. By completing His atoning work, Jesus fulfilled the purpose and all prophecies concerning His appearance into the world. Jesus brings in the Kingdom of God. Because He lived a perfect life and completed His perfect work on the cross and arose from the grave, everyone who believes in Him inherits all of the blessings of the Kingdom.
When Jesus performed signs and miracles they pointed to a greater spiritual reality; now believers experience the greater reality. The UNVEILED reality is far greater than the VEILED hope: The “veiled” has become “unveiled”. The words and works of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and ascension make it perfectly clear to believers that Jesus indeed was the Word Incarnate, God in the Flesh, the promised Messiah of the Old Testament fulfilled in the New, the Yahweh of the Old who saves to the uttermost in the New!
Every believer also receives the gift of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus will introduce in verse 16. Every believer, as a follower of Jesus, fully declares and demonstrates Jesus’ true nature as they witness and testify to the life-changing power of the Gospel in this World. The “greater works” would be performed by the exalted Christ as He works through the power of the Holy Spirit, drawing others to Himself through the message of Jesus” life and death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.
The “greater works” is the privilege of being used by God to bring the message of salvation by grace in order to build God’s Kingdom, of which the Church is part. What a phenomenal and holy calling belongs to the Church, the Bride of Christ, and the qualifier is in the last words of the verse: It is “because I (the Son) returns to the Father.” Very few came to believe in the Son for forgiveness and life while He was on this earth. Remember when Jesus fed the 5,000 and they all went away in unbelief in John 6. Yet, after Ascension Day when Jesus returned to the Father, and at Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon believers and Peter preached that sermon, 3,000 came to faith in one day, and the Lord continued to bring believers into His Kingdom daily.