A daily devotion for July 13th
12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).
This is one of the most startling promises in the Scriptures. Notice the reason Jesus gives for these greater works. It is because He goes to the Father. And when He goes to the Father, He will send the Spirit. He says later,
Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you (John I6:7b). He is referring here to the coming of the Spirit. As the Spirit of God comes into human hearts and dwells in them, these things will happen. The Spirit is releasing to us the life of Jesus, so that it is still Jesus who is doing these things.
Some people read this passage and think that we ordinary humans are somehow so capable that we can actually do greater things than the Son of God Himself did when He was here in the flesh. But what He is really saying here is that as the risen Lord, who dwells in us by means of the Spirit, He will do greater things through us than He did when He was here in the days of His flesh.
Jesus goes on immediately to say:
And greater works than these will you do. What are they? Obviously they can't be greater miracles. Can you think of anything greater than opening the eyes of those born blind or speaking a word and enabling a lame man to walk or raising the dead? Of course not. Then what are these greater works? The only answer that makes any sense at all is that they are greater in their significance and importance. They are spiritual accomplishments rather than physical. Anything done to the spirit of a person is far more significant than something done to the body.
As you read the account of Jesus' ministry, notice that the crowds followed Him when He did those amazing wonders, and entire cities would turn out to hear His message, yet when you come to the end of His life, where are all the crowds? Where are the hundreds He healed? They are gone. Only a handful stands at the foot of the cross. His miracles did not change people; they merely touched the surface of their lives.
But later on Jesus says to His disciples:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last (John l5:16a). Isn't it interesting that the ones whom Jesus healed would not stand with Him through the test of the cross, but that when these disciples went out and preached in the power of the Spirit, they won converts by the thousands? And when the testing came, these men and women were willing to face lions, to be pulled apart on the rack, and to be burned as living torches rather than deny Jesus?
Those are greater miracles. Anything done to the spirit of a person is permanent; that which is done to the flesh is merely temporary. All those whom Jesus healed or raised from the dead died again. So what is done to the spirit of a person is far greater, and this is what Jesus means by
Thank You for the miracles You are doing in me and through me. Only You can change my heart, O Lord! Only You can make me like Jesus.
Life Application: How are we an influence in the spiritual realm here on earth? Is our faith the center of this life and the basis of our desires?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.