By Brooke Holt
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14
In 2017 my family moved to Houston. Within three weeks of our arrival, we experienced the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Now I have lived through many hurricanes, but Harvey was unlike any other for me. The rain continued, not just for hours, but days. Literally, a hurricane stalled right over the city of Houston causing massive devastation! For weeks, military helicopters flew over the city bringing supplies and workers. We desperately needed every bit of help we could get.
While we had a very difficult time, I also watched amazed as churches pulled together, organizations drew together, and officials worked as a corporate whole. Teams went into homes to begin the work of removing wet furniture, tearing up floors, and pulling down drywall. Much of Houston looked like a war zone, not only because of the helicopters flying overhead, but also because of the massive piles of household items and construction debris strewn in front of homes. What no one could accomplish on his or her own, these groups accomplished by working together.
Throughout Jesus’ three years of ministry, he never left Israel, yet the Gospel message was intended to go to every nation (see Matthew 28:19). When Jesus told the disciples they would do greater works than these, they must have felt astonished. Jesus had just spent three years healing lepers, paralytics, blind people, the deaf and the mute. He had raised people from the dead; he had fed thousands with just a few fish and loaves of bread; Jesus had calmed storms and driven out demons. How could the disciples do greater works than these?
One way the disciples would see their great impact was in taking the Gospel beyond the nation of Israel. Not only did these eleven men go beyond Israel, so did their disciples and the ones to follow. Paul, the last of the apostles, would take the Gospel from Israel to Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Some scholars speculate that Paul traveled over 10,000 miles to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Greater works did occur in the spread of the Gospel. Beyond preaching and teaching, the disciples also continued to perform many signs and wonders (see Acts 5:12). People continued to receive healing, to see demons driven out, and many other demonstrations of God’s power working in them and through them. The disciples were so highly esteemed that Acts 5:15 reports people bringing sick people out on mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall upon them. Clearly these disciples continued the great works of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Those great works are to continue today so that the Father is glorified through the Son. Like these disciples of Jesus, you have been given the Holy Spirit. You have the same power working in you that raised Jesus from the dead which means you are now to do these greater works: to proclaim the Gospel, build the church, pray for healing, and cast out demons. The work of Jesus is to continue with you today!
Are you faithfully using the power entrusted to you to build God’s kingdom and to glorify the Father through the Son? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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