Greater Works than these

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do
shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my
Father" (John 14:12).

These words must be among the most amazing ever uttered by our Lord.
They were addressed to a group of very ordinary people, gathered from very humble
circumstances, and yet they were being told that believers in the Lord, like
themselves, would perform greater miracles than those performed by Christ Himself!
We need to remember, also, that those addressed had recently witnessed miracles
unprecedented. They had seen Christ raise Lazarus from the dead, -a man who had
been in the grave four days, but, at a word from Christ's lips, he had emerged from
the tomb, still bound in grave- clothes (John 11: 44). Just prior to that, again, the
Lord had given sight to a man who was born blind (John 9:1-7). They had actually
seen Christ feed a multitude of 5000 people from only five loaves and two fishes
(John 6:11-13). On that same day, Christ had walked on the sea to rescue His storm
-tossed disciples (John 6:19), and there had even been times when Christ had
positively rebuked the wind and the sea, and they had obeyed Him (Mark 4:39)!

Everywhere, people were saying, "We have seen strange things today" (Luke
5:26), and even the disciples had to ask, "What manner of man is this, that even the
winds and the sea obey him!" (Matt.8: 27). These are but a few examples, but now,
in John 14, Christ is telling them that they would do GREATER works than these!
Strange word, indeed, and calling for some explanation. With the help of the Lord,
we shall now share what has come to us regarding it.

Let us first say that we ourselves have never questioned that "working of
miracles" was one of the GIFTS given by our Lord to His Church (1 Cor.12: 10), -or
that miracles were performed, -but it is still a fact that 2000 years of Church history
make no mention of miracles commensurate with those performed by our Lord. We
must therefore look DEEPER for the true explanation, and this we shall now seek to
do.

First, we need to realize that, in this whole section of John's Gospel, (chs.14-
16); our Lord was approaching the matter of A GREAT AND GLORIOUS TRANSITION
that was about to take place among His people. It was, indeed, the dawning of a new
era, when "things physical " would give way to" things spiritual ". The physical works
and wonders that they had seen had been great indeed, but now they could expect
those SPIRITUAL COUNTERPARTS which would be far greater; -and that would be
the area where their ministry, in due time, would centre. They would "perform" those
GREATER WONDERS of the Spirit, and they would witness those MIGHTIER MARVELS
of the inner man. In that sense, they would be accomplishing greater miracles than
those that had been performed by Christ.

No doubt we would all agree that WHILST the raising of Lazarus from the
dead was something immeasurably great, -the bringing of "dead souls" into
"newness of Life", in Christ, is something even greater, -certainly in the light of a
coming ETERNITY! What a privilege it is to see our fellow- men BORN AGAIN, as we
give out God's glorious Gospel among them! And it is the same with the matter of
giving sight to the blind; -great indeed, but still not to be compared with the opening
of men's inward eyes through the giving out of God's Word! Paul, we remember, was
sent to the Gentile world "TO OPEN THEIR EYES, and to turn them from darkness to
Light, and from the power of Satan unto God" (Acts 26:18). And did not the same
Paul "feed" multitudes of inward "spirits" through the writing, and sending out, of his
inspired Epistles? And, thank God, we also may have our part in the same miraculous
ministry, as we pass on the loaves and fishes of God's Truth. Yes, even we are called
to perform "GREATER WORKS"!

We feel we must now say a little about an especially important point, which
the Lord carefully made when giving His original promise. The FULL statement
actually occupies THREE verses (12-14), and we have to keep the WHOLE passage in
view when looking into this subject. In verse 12 (where we have the mention of the
"greater works"), the Lord concludes the promise with the important words, -"
BECAUSE I go unto My Father", thereby indicating, (to start with), that those "works"
would be related to His ascension; -they would, in fact, be the happy issue of that
triumph. Then, in the two verses that follow, He takes us still further, and lets us
know that it will be HE, The Ascended Lord, Who will be The Accomplishing Worker
behind everything that will take place! His words are, "Ye shall ask, and I WILL DO".
The full truth of the matter, then, is that it is still HE Who will be doing those greater
works, -but working, now, from the GLORY through the instrumentality of His
people! All will be Heaven -based, and it is in that way that His earlier works on
earth will be surpassed by what HE will do FROM THE THRONE, - through people like
us! They will be inner and spiritual wonders indeed.

A verse, which greatly helps us here, is Luke 12:50, where our Lord says, "I
have a baptism to be baptized with; and HOW AM I STRAITENED till it be
accomplished!” He was referring, of course, to the "BAPTISM" of His Cross, which
was then drawing near, and He says that He was enduring a great "straitening" until
it was all over. He was alluding to those very severe restrictions which He took upon
Himself for the period of His sojourn on earth, and which it is so difficult for us to
understand. Imagine it! -The Great Creator of this vast universe, held within the
confines of the tiny land of Palestine! All power was His, and yet we find Him
"Wearied with his journey", and having to rest on the well of Samaria! (John 4:6).
Such was restriction indeed, but, in Luke 12, He was saying that the chains would
soon be off, and He would be moving again everywhere in the full majesty of His
power.

We must emphasize, of course, that the "limitations" we have mentioned
were willingly accepted, and patiently endured, until the "baptism" was, indeed,
accomplished. And we should also add that it was a merciful self-limitation", for, had
He come and moved around in the full blaze of His Eternal Being, all would have
been consumed before Him. But, thank God, the "baptism" is now accomplished, and
our Risen and Ascended Lord is limited no more. As the enthroned Lord of All, HE is
now knowing anew-glorious RELEASE, and, wonder of wonders; His believing people
are the very instruments for the expression of that RELEASE! Now, He will perform
those new, and inner, and greater wonders through us. Indeed, He will "DO
MARVELS”! (See Exodus: 34:10). That, we say, is the FULLER secret behind the
promise of John 14:12-14. It is linked with His ascension, and with His resultant
union with His people.

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father
may be glorified in the Son. "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do
it". (John 14:13,14)

We shall now consider something, which, in some respects, must be the
greatest marvel of all, certainly something, which carries the most solemn and
practical challenges. We have in mind our Lord's references (in John 14:13,14) to the
"ASKINGS" of His people; -"If ye ASK, I will do".

We need to see that, in adding those words, our Great Lord was again
"limiting Himself"; -this time restricting what would be His great Ascension Powers to
the prayers of His people. Evidently, He plans to do ONLY what His people ASK Him
to do! This is gracious self-limitation indeed, and it bespeaks the measureless
preciousness of His people to Him, and also shows His inseparable union with them!
We repeat, -He plans to do, from the GLORY; only what His people will ask Him to
do.

We believe that Christ has held Himself to this principle from the very
beginning of the Church age. If we but knew the WHOLE story, we would see that
there never has been an activity of our Ascended Lord, towards the consummation of
His purpose, without there being, SOMEWHERE BEHIND IT, some praying person, or
some group of praying persons. They may have prayed tremblingly in some obscure
or hidden place, but it has been PRAYER IN THE NAME, and the Great Ascended Lord
has been "freed to move", --mightily!

We ask, then, would we not all do well to pause quietly here and face up to some
very serious questions, --such as: --

• What release of our Lord's ascension powers has been brought about through MY prayers?
• What have I dared to ask Him to do?
• Have I given to PRAYER the priority it should have?
• What, really is the "level" and "nature" of the praying at OUR church Prayer Meetings?
• What is the measure of the "vision" behind those prayers? Are they being linked to the FACT of our Lord's ascension?
• Is there any "echo", for instance, of prayers like that in Psalm 45; - "Gird
Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O MOST MIGHTY, with Thy glory and THY
majesty...ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness"
(Psa.45: 3,4). For our comfort and encouragement (and I most certainly include
myself), let me say that we do not need to be "prayer-experts" of some kind; -for
the promise of John 14 is for those who will simply "believe on Christ" (v.12). That is
all that is needed!

O Lord. TEACH US TO PRAY.
O Lord, graciously do Thine own "GREATER WORKS".
Do them today, through whomsoever Thou choosest,
We "ASK", -in Thine own Great Name! Amen. Hallelujah! WE BELIEVE!
Perhaps this is an appropriate time for me to "share around" the words of a song,
which the Lord put into my heart just recently.

MAKE ME A MAN OF PRAYER

My Father Who in Heaven art
Make me a man of prayer
This longing overwhelms my heart
Make me a man of prayer.

O grant me my petition
Make me a man of prayer
'Tis all my life's ambition
Make me a man of prayer.

While Christ the Lord has power to save
Make me a man of prayer
And lift poor sinners from the grave
Make me a man of prayer.

While men still seek the world's acclaim
Make me a man of prayer
And see no beauty in Christ's Name
Make me a man of prayer.

While churches bear the marks of death
Make me a man of prayer
And lack the Spirit's vital breath
Make me a man of prayer.

While millions lie in awful need
Make me a man of prayer
And few the Master's call will heed
Make me a man of prayer.

While hellish legions hold the field
Make me a man of prayer
And few the Spirit's sword can wield
Make me a man of prayer.

While God's great purposes are sealed
Make me a man of prayer
And Christ the Son is unrevealed
Make me a man of prayer.

Till comes the Bride in spotless white
Make me a man of prayer
All precious in the Savior’s sight
Make me a man of prayer.

While faithful promises still stand
Make me a man of prayer
And faith can move God's Mighty Hand
Make me a man of prayer.

While Christ Himself lives just to pray
Make me a man of prayer
And grants His Spirit day by day
Make me a man of prayer.

(May be sung to the tune of "Near to the heart of God").

"Verily, verily, I say unto you... the works that I do shall he do also; and greater
works than these Shall he do: because I go unto My Father.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may
be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My Name. I will do it" (John
14:12-14).

Note: "Prayer in the Name" is prayer prayed by those who are IN UNION WITH THE
LORD. The fact is that, after His ascension, Christ poured out the Holy Spirit, -
thereby implanting His own Risen Life into the hearts of those who believe on Him.
He thus became the Vital Head of a CORPORATE ORGANISM, -and all who are part of
that organism rightly share the NAME of Him Who is its Head. This glorious reality
also eliminates all thought of selfish or superficial prayers, as such cannot even exist
in an Organism, where a Selfless Christ is the Head and the Life. This is a great
secret in the matter of prevailing prayer.

The basic call to the CHRISTIAN, now, is to "DO ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD
JESUS, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Col.3: 17). We just ABIDE IN
HIM, --by faith.
Hallelujah!

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.   Matthew 24: 42