"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask anything in my name and I will do it." John 14:12-14 NIV.
At face value there was nothing unusual about Jesus' statement that His disciples would do greater things than He was doing. This was what was expected of the disciples of rabbis who had authority. They would take their disciples beyond where they were.
But there was something more than what was expected of the ordinary disciples of a rabbi with authority. This was Jesus speaking, not just any rabbi. "Going to the Father" had greater implications than just dying and was the key to the "greater things".
1. Going to the Father meant that He was returning to the one who sent Him. Jesus was on a mission to the earth. He did not come into existence at His conception.
"He was with God in the beginning" John 1:2 NIV.
2. He had come from the Father to accomplish something and He was returning to the Father because He had completed what He had come to do.
"Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burn offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am -- it is written about me in the scroll -- I have come to do your will, my God'" Hebrews 10:5-7 NIV.
3. The Father had sent Him to the earth to reveal Him to His people. He had become distorted in the minds of His people through centuries of rabbinic study and interpretation which had overlaid their ancient Scriptures with layers and layers of rules and additions until He was no longer recognizable as the God who revealed Himself to His people through the prophets.
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being..." Hebrews 1:1-3a NIV.
4. He came to restore what was broken at the Fall. Adam and Eve broke the unity between themselves and God through their disobedience, and brought the whole universe into disrepair. They incurred an unpayable debt which Jesus came to pay to restore them to unity and fellowship with the Father so that they could fulfil the Father's will.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NIV.
"For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." Romans 8:20, 21 NIV.
5. He came to create a body (the church) of which He is the head, to reproduce Himself on the earth and to bring heaven to earth by the way they live. Through His death which provides forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to the Father, He is building a family of sons and daughters who are just like Him to represent Him to the world and to do the works He did and much more.
How can we do greater things than He did? Perhaps not greater in nature but greater in volume because, wherever His children are, He is by His Spirit in them and He is able to spread His message of God's kingdom by multiplying Himself through them across the entire globe.
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