Some people say that the kind of vehicle you drive says much about your personality. I wonder what someone would make of my 1996 Ford Crown Victoria that is pushing 200,000 miles. For my critics, I have two words to offer- paid for. I am not a mechanic, but it seems to have a great engine. For the most part, this golden beauty of a boat needs two things from me: a turn of the key and some gas in the tank.
Jesus states in verse twelve of John 14:12 that His disciples “will also do the works that I do.” The works of Christ have included teaching and miracles. Yet, His greatest work is to glorify God and carry out the mission: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10, HCSB) According to the book of Acts, the disciples will perform miracles and teach. “As a matter of historical fact the apostles were to perform nothing more spectacular in their ministries than Jesus had done in His, and so greater things obviously cannot mean ‘more spectacular miracles.’” (Milne, 215) Miracles and teaching are not the totality of Jesus’ surprising promise: “greater works than these will he do…” (ESV)
These “greater works” coincide with the “Great Commission” found in Matthew 29:20 and Acts 1:8. Bruce Milne suggests, “The ‘greater works’ therefore are the works of the greater mission in ‘Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.’” This is the calling for every Christian.
Jesus establishes the fact that something greater will occur and the work will be accomplished by present and future followers. Yet, this promise has two conditions. Like the key to my car, believers need to get the work started. To keep the “greater works” running, they need to keep the key in place and put some gas in the tank.
Jesus follows the promise of “greater works” with the statements, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (verse 14) and “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (verse 15) These two conditional statements are prerequisites to achieving greater works. The first requirement is prayer. Like a car key, this gets the works started and keeps believers connected to the will of God. Pastor Ray Stedman once stated, “It is significant to note that, though Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, he did teach them how to pray.” The second condition is the requirement of obedience. This is the on-going “gas in the tank” for the believer. There is an inseparable link between love for God and obedience. Christ will do “greater works” in and through one who yields to His will.
How does this affect volunteer ministry? Can we lead people in effective and joyful ministry service without these? How has prayer affected your ministry? God wants to do “greater works” through our lives. What do you find to be the greatest hindrance?
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Follow One, Lead Others