Summary: Jesus tells us through prayer, His followers would do greater works that He did during His earthly ministry.
In this passage Jesus tells us that those who have faith in Him will do greater works than He did while on earth. Just what did Jesus mean by “greater works?” How could those of us who believe on Him possibly do greater works than those Jesus performed during His ministry on earth? After all, Jesus gave sight to the blind; He made the lame walk; He raised the dead. Just what could His followers do that was greater?
First - They would be greater in quantity. Miracles performed by His followers would be greater in number than those done by our Lord.
Second - They would be greater in quality. The saving of a lost
sinner is a far greater miracle than healing the lame, deaf, or blind.
Third - They would be greater in nature. Jesus was referring to the miracle of the transformed lives of His followers. We aren’t surprised that God performed miracles through Jesus, but to perform miracles through you or me is a wonder, indeed.
Each of these is true. But I am also convinced God wants to perform miracles in the same sense Jesus performed them and on a greater scale than Jesus performed them through His church. The Scripture says that in the last days, God’s people will be used by Him to perform miracles that will cause unbelievers to wonder at His power and come to Christ.
“The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits and those of the people who understand shall instruct many.” - Daniel 11:32-33 (NKJV)
I realize that this is speaking of the church in the last days. But who knows whether or not we might be that generation?
The point is, I guess, that we really should spend less time trying to define the “greater works” that Jesus is referring to and more time learning how these miracles are supposed to come about through our lives as God’s people. Let’s just obey Jesus and leave the results to Him. Then we will then know for sure, exactly what Jesus meant by “greater works.” Jesus tells us that there are two reasons why God’s people can do “greater works.”
1. The Lord’s Presence With The Father - v. 12b
We understand far more than the disciples did when Jesus spoke these words, because we are living on this side of the cross.
We know the road Jesus traveled to go to the Father. It took Him through Calvary and an empty tomb. Along the way, He defeated sin, Satan, death, and Hell. Now He reigns as King and Lord over all. And since Jesus is Lord, there are two things we must we willing to do if we are to experience miracles in and through our life by His power:
A. We must submit to Him.
Jesus is Lord! That means that He performs miracles according to His agenda, not mine. He works in His timing, not mine. He does things for His purposes, not mine. Too few understand this truth. They want God to do things how they want them done, when they want them done.
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” - James 4:3 (NIV)
If we are to see God work miracles, we must be willing for the Lord to work when He wants, how He wants, the way He wants.
One night a father overheard his young daughter praying. As he passed by her room, saw her kneeling by her bed. He was puzzled to hear her reciting the alphabet: “A, B, C . . .” He didn’t want to interrupt, but curiosity got the best of him and he asked, “Honey, what are you doing?” “I’m praying, Daddy,” she replied. “Why are you praying the alphabet?” he asked. She explained, “I wasn’t sure what to pray. So I decided to just say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however he thinks best.”
B. We must commit to pray.
By virtue of Christ’s victory, the Father has decreed Satan’s power to be bound and the Spirit’s power to be released. All authority is given to Jesus, who has delegated His authority to us. We are now responsible to enforce the Father’s decrees resulting from the victory won by the Son, as we are led by the Spirit in prayer.
Five Levels of Growth in Prayer:
Level One: Imitation
Level Two: Initiation
Level Three: Intercession
Level Four: Invasion
Level Five: Invitation
"When man works, man works; when man prays, God works." - Anonymous
This brings us to the second reason why miracles are possible today.
2. The Power Of Prayer - vs. 13-14
Jesus repeats Himself here. If He says something once, it is enough. If He repeats Himself, we know we should really pay attention. Notice how He encourages us to approach Him in prayer.