Thursday, January 16, 2014

Greater Works

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
“Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
The works that Jesus does, the question to be asked is, what works are these? People often think based on verses like these that having faith will give you special powers to perform miracles and so on. Of course when people find that they don’t have the power to heal, or actually move mountains, they begin to wonder if they even have faith. But those aren’t the works that Jesus is talking about and the works that we do, are greater than his.
The work that Jesus does, the main work, his purposeful work is to save man. The work that he has in view is his death and resurrection. That is the immediate context. He will die for the salvation of man. And this is the work that we join in when we come to believe in him. These are the works that we do, that are even greater than his, because he goes to the Father. Because Jesus goes to the Father, we who believe in him are able to now bring his word to the ends of the earth and through his word save so many more. This we do together in Christ, with Christ and through Christ who is at work in and through us, but it is no longer limited to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and every bit as miraculous as water changing to wine.
Whatever you ask in my name, this is will I do. I’ve noticed something as of late. People treating the name of Jesus as some sort of magic talisman. This too leads to all sorts of confusion. I mean because people ask for all sorts of things and tack on a little “in Jesus name,” at the end and think they have prayed in his name. Name means a whole lot more than moniker here. Praying in his name means more than repeating a few words. The name of God is his essence and being, Christ shares this name as the son, with the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is this name that takes it’s dwelling place in the temple. It is this name that takes up its residence in us in baptism incorporating us into the temple which is the body of Christ. But then the name being the essence and being of God incorporates his will that cannot be separated from his being. So when we ask for something in his name, we ask for these things according to his will. Those things will be done. Just be warned, his will brought Jesus to the cross and the student is not above the teacher. His will will be done in and through us. It will require bearing a cross, but the end will justify the means, and angels rejoicing will be our joy.

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