Tim explains what Jesus means by believers doing "greater things" in John 14:12.
00:01 Jesus said that believers would do greater works than the works of Jesus.
00:05 Does that mean that every believer will do signs and wonders? Let's talk.
00:14 In John 14:12,
00:15 Jesus is in the upper room giving His final instructions to His disciples, and
00:20 He tells them, "Truly truly I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the
00:25 works I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the
00:30 Father." Some take this passage to mean that all believers will do greater
00:35 miracles – signs and wonders – than Jesus. I see a number of problems with this
00:40 interpretation. First, this interpretation goes against our experience. If Jesus
00:45 meant that all believers would do greater miracles than Him, why don't we
00:50 see that happening today? In fact, our experience is that most people cannot work
00:55 miracles. Second, this interpretation goes against what was happening in the early
01:01 church. The book of Acts records some miracles performed by some individuals,
01:06 but it was not the case that everyone who believed did miracles. Third, Paul
01:14 tells us that not all will do miracles. Writing to the church at Corinth, Paul
01:19 says, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Do all work miracles? Do all possess
01:26 gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" The clear answer to all
01:31 these rhetorical questions is "no." Do all do miracles? No. Do all possess gifts of
01:37 healing? No. Therefore, if we want to be consistent in our interpretation of
01:42 Scripture, then Jesus cannot be saying that whoever believes will do miracles
01:47 like Him. That would be to put Jesus' words in opposition to Paul's words.
01:53 Fourth, if Jesus is talking about believers doing greater miracles, then
01:58 what do these greater miracles look like? Think about the kinds of miracles that
02:03 Jesus did. John tells us that He turned water into
02:06 wine. He read someone's mind. He heals an official's son. He healed the lame man, fed
02:12 5,000, He walked on water, healed the blind, and even raised people from the dead.
02:18 That's a pretty impressive list. In fact, I don't think there's an individual who
02:24 has a miracle list as impressive as that, let alone more miraculous. This seems to
02:31 be another strike against this interpretation. So if Jesus isn't talking
02:36 about greater miracles, then what's He talking about?
02:39 Well, here's a thought. Jesus says, "and greater miracles than these will he do
02:45 because I go to the Father." I think that last phrase is significant.
02:49 Jesus goes to the Father after He finished His work on the cross. When He
02:55 goes to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come and empower believers for life and
03:00 evangelism. After His resurrection, Jesus tells His disciples, "but you will receive
03:06 power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in
03:10 Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. The works
03:16 of believers aren't greater in miraculous quality, they're greater in
03:21 worldwide scope. After three years of ministry, Jesus had a small group of
03:26 disciples contained in a tiny geographic location. However, once the Holy Spirit
03:31 comes at Pentecost, More believers are added in one day then during Jesus' entire earthly
03:36 ministry. And the Gospel continues to spread around the world to hundreds of
03:41 millions of people coming to believe. Jesus' works were always a witness
03:46 intended to lead people to faith in Christ. Because of the Holy Spirit,
03:51 believers are able to do even greater works in leading people to the faith in Christ.