“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 anything in my name, I will do it.”
It is very powerful. It isn’t about prosperity. It isn’t about winning football games or climbing mountains. It is about evangelism. It is about obeying Jesus' command to love people and leading them to God. When Jesus said this, He was answering Phillip’s request to see The Father, during a conversation about following Jesus.
Verses 4-11 precede these verses and gives us the context,
“And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”
Jesus wants us to follow Him. Following Him means walking as He walked, doing as He did in His name and by His authority. He is our God, our King, Our Lord and Master. So when we go where He goes we act in His authority, we act in His name.
In order to really read the passage in its full context we also need to see what Jesus said after this amazing promise. Verses 15-17 read,
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
What great things are you asking in Jesus’ name? Are you loving Him and keeping His commandments? Are you revealing The Father to world by living for Jesus through The Spirit? That is at the heart of this passage. It is not about asking for stuff, or asking to be successful. It is about loving people by doing what Jesus did.
What did He do? He loved people. He was moved by that love to action. If they were hungry He fed them. If they were sick, He healed them. If they were broken, He restored them. If they were alone, He befriended them. If they wanted to know God, He taught them. He tells you and me to do these things as well. He equips us to do them and He even promises we’ll do more than He did.
Does your mind lie to you and tell you that you aren’t good enough to do the works Jesus did? Are you filled with doubt about who you are? Maybe you think that only some people are able to love others the way Jesus did. Perhaps you imagine only the very best Followers can heal or prophesy or do that most miraculous work of all, lead someone to the saving grace and truth of Jesus. But that is a lie.
1 John 3:19-22 reads,
“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him”
God is greater than the lies and doubts of your heart. He promises again that whatever we ask we receive. Let’s look at the context of this promise too. Is it about wealth? Is it about achievements? It is about love.
Verses 16-18 pave the way for this beautiful promise,
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
It is about living out that love the way Jesus did. It is about obeying Jesus. The passage continues with verses 23-24.
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us,by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
You are called for a great purpose. It is a purpose much greater than sitting in a church pew. It is a call bigger than inviting a person to church. It is a job more wonderful than giving the waitress a tract. You are commanded to love others as Jesus loves you. He didn’t love in a small way, He loved in a big way. He spent time, He healed, He spoke truth, and He laid down His life. You are commanded to love the same way. You are commanded to reveal God to the lost by loving the way Jesus did.
John 15:12-17 reads,
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
So go, love, bear abiding fruit. Go, lay down your life for the lost. Ask Jesus to let you heal people. Ask Jesus to speak the truth to people through you. Ask Jesus to allow you to feed the hungry and warm the cold and comfort the hurting. Ask Jesus to save people. He will. Love them the way Jesus loves and see what Jesus will do.