Summary: Understanding our Calling
Do you get excited about Jesus? What I mean is this, are you crazy exited about Jesus? John the Baptist was overwhelmed at the mere presence of Jesus that he leaped for joy, while still in his mothers womb! That is a picture of excitement! Being close to the presence of Jesus caused John to leap for joy, even before his own physical birth had taken place.
John lived a secluded lifestyle in the wilderness. No matter what his lifestyle was, he remained faithful in calling people to repentance and baptizing those who would call on the name of the Lord.
Faith and repentance were central in John’s messages to the people. Yet, the foundation of his message was Jesus. John would often speak of and allude to another prophet who is greater than he was. When John saw Jesus on the shore, John spoke to those who followed him and said to them, “Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am…” (John 1:15) Later in John’s ministry when his followers were dwindling down and more were going to Jesus, John said this, “He (Jesus) must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30)
Can you relate to John’s testimony? Is it in you to exalt the name of Christ above all else, including yourself? Jesus was never one to be self absorbed but consistently gave himself away. During his ministry, he spent time with people, speaking to their needs and teaching them about kingdom values, healing diseases, raising the dead and revealing the very heart of God to the people.
When I first became a believer, I was excited to read about the stories of Jesus and the signs and wonders he performed. I was amazed, I was shocked and often I would day dream of what it would have been like to be there, as an eye witness, sharing in these things.
Over time, these became nothing more than stories and nothing else. It was as if the Bible was a long list of God ordained miracles that happened in the past. I, on the other hand, live in the real world. I live in the world where people don’t have enough food to eat and die because of that. I live in a world where I have missed rent payments and suffered the consequences for it. I have grown accustomed to the notion that we should “Believe there are better days ahead but don’t expect them.” I bought into that mentality.
Reality check-Jesus is real and he is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Heb. 13:8) It is not an issue of whether or not God can still do the same things today as he did in ancient times but rather, will you and I rely on him to accomplish greater things in and through us?
You see, it is easy to point to Jesus and say, “He is greater!” Truth be told, he is. His ministry is greater for he is the one who spilled his own blood which introduced the new covenant. Yet, Jesus spoke to his own disciples and to those of us who follow him now and made a statement that is mind blowing.
As Jesus’ (earthly) ministry is drawing to a close, he is preparing himself and the disciples for what is next, namely, his arrest and crucifixion event. For the disciples, this was a time of great distress. These men, who had given up everything and left their lives behind to follow Jesus, were facing an uncertain future. So, Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, spoke words of encouragement over them. He spoke to them about the promise of the Holy Spirit who would lead and guide them. Then, out of the blue, Jesus drops this on his followers. “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.” (John 14:12)
There are times when Jesus states things that make me scratch my head. You see, Jesus isn’t offering a suggestion to believers but rather making a bold statement towards his followers (including us) that our belief in him will lead us into greater works. Our faith in Christ results in greater works. That is Jesus’ mission statement to us.
What does it mean to do a greater work? If I may simplify this, God moves in us when we move in faith. Faith reacts to Christ. When we step into our callings and live out our faith, God works through us.
The greater work(s) God desires to accomplish in our lives unfolds when we obey the command(s) of Christ which reflect our love for God. Greater works are accomplished by the Spirit of God and unveil the truth that “…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (1 John 4:4)