Greater Works than These

Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, do you believe him when he said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do"? (John 14:12 NKJV) That's a tall one considering the miracles he did. I believe in Jesus, but I haven't healed anybody from palsy, and I haven't cast out any demons, and I haven't raised anybody from the dead.

Admittedly, Jesus was speaking to the apostles when he said those words, and in fact the Acts of the Apostles records instances of healing and even of resurrections. But although we can say that they did the same works that Jesus did, is it possible to say that they did greater works?

Jesus did great things, but there was a greater thing that he was reserving for his disciples. That greater thing is a lesson in matters of relative importance, for greatness in our eyes is not necessarily the same as greatness in God's eyes.

Shortly after Jesus' ascension, the disciples gathered together in one place. All those who had committed themselves to his teachings and as witnesses to his resurrection were there, including the apostles. After his years of miracles and preaching, and even after his resurrection, "the number of names together were about one hundred and twenty." (Acts 1:15)

Considering the multitudes that Jesus had encountered during his ministry, and all that he had done in their presence, a total following of 120 followers is not all that impressive and is certainly not enough to shake the world. Yet from this mustard seed beginning a mighty work was launched and shortly thereafter thousands came to a knowledge of their sins and accepted the way of redemption.

Surely that is a great work!

Since those days the gospel has been preached on every continent. The Bible has been translated into virtually every language. Followers of Jesus are found from Alaska to Zimbabwe, often enduring persecution and death for their faith in the Carpenter from Nazareth. The greater works of which Jesus spoke does not of necessity mean more healings or mass resurrections from the dead. In God's eyes it is the greater thing to bring many sons unto glory, and that is precisely what the apostles did.

Lenny C.

Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, May 13, 2005, by Lenny Cacchio. 

Editors note: This essay was originally run in Vol. IV Issue 6