What Are the “Greater Works”?
James R. Aist
“Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father.” (John 14:12)
During His ministry, Jesus performed many “miracles” that were evidence that He was a man sent from God. These miracles were works that were outside the realm of naturally occurring events, such as healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, raising the dead, and casting out demons. These were all works done in the realm of created things, and they were amazing to see. Nevertheless, these were not the greatest works that Jesus was doing.
In Luke 17-20, seventy of Jesus’ disciples had just returned from an evangelistic campaign. They returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name.” He said to them, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Let me unpack this passage in Luke, and I will show you what Jesus was referring to when He said in John 14:12 that His disciples “…will do greater works than these.” The seventy disciples returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name.” They were amazed that this man, Jesus, was able to give them power to do miracles in the realm of created things. Upon hearing this, Jesus proceeded to explain to them that He was no ordinary man, but the very Son of God, and, as such, has innate power over all created things, saying “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.” In other words, why were you surprised that I was able to give you power to perform miracles in the created realm, as I have been doing? There is an even greater miracle that you will have a role in: that is, the miracle of salvation. This miracle occurs in the spiritual realm and is a “greater thing” than the power I gave you over created things.
The take-home message is that miracles that manipulate the natural world, while impressive, are of lesser importance than the spiritual miracle of salvation. Remember, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Those are the “greater works.”