Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he says that we will do even greater things than what he did? Was this hyperbole, or did he literally mean this? And how is this possible? I camped out at this chapter recently because it hit me that this is a crazy passage!
Reading in John 14 first Jesus says he is speaking on the Father’s authority, so this is directly from God the Father himself. This is the God of the Old Testament, the Father of Israel – remember the OT is the only “bible” they had back then. And Jesus is speaking with unparalleled intimacy with the Father in verse 11, so we can see that Jesus and God the Father are indeed one making this is very authoritative. We can be sure and secure in this!
But just to be sure… if the disciples (or us) have any doubts he says: “or at least”, believe in the evidence (vs 11b), that being what he has been showing the disciples (and us) for the past 3 years! Here he is asking for faith, but not blind faith, rather it is faith based on what he has shown them (and us) over the years of his ministry.
Then the zinger – he says you will do more than me because I am leaving! What? Once again Jesus is counter culture, counter intuitive.
He is leaving and giving us the Holy Spirit: “the advocate to help you and be with you forever”. And he says we can know the Spirit because he lives with us and is in us, verse 17b. You know how you teach and empower someone to do a job by showing them then leaving them to do it for themselves? You give them training, a manual, model it then leave it to them to actually do it. Then they become the experts. Seems this is what Jesus did.
We can do more than Jesus, because we will carry on the ministry broader than one man could because as Believers we go with the Spirit going with us. John Piper (Desiring God, 11/17/14) adds that we get to do “greater things” than even the miracles of Jesus. because miracles are just signs in the physical world. Our greater “thing” is to participate with Jesus in drawing people to him resulting in their being able to know and worship God. Accepting Jesus is qualitatively greater than any physical miracle.
Think about this… Jesus was here three years and left, passing on his ministry to us.
Wow! We GET to do this! We are privileged to take the message of Jesus beyond where he reached. He equipped us to do this by modeling it for 3 years, gave us the bible as a record of it, then gave us his Spirit to reside in us, and guide us wherever we go. We get to do more because he has done it all.