“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.”
When Jesus spoke these words, He was in the Upper Room with His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion. This intimate evening was meant to be a time for comforting (or encouraging) the men he had invested in for three years and was about to leave. And the word found in vs. 12 was a statement greatly misunderstood and widely misinterpreted by some to mean that all disciples can do miracles or works that Jesus never had the power to do.
Now, what exactly are these “greater works” promised to those who believe?
First of all, the word “greater” doesn’t mean “better.” The Greek word means “more extensive.” The ministry was to be “greater” in its extent or the number of people reached.
Second, there is debate about the type of “works” Jesus is referring to. Some say Jesus is promising the ability to do “greater” miracles, but this was not Jesus primary ministry. Some say Jesus is promising the disciples they would lead more people to salvation, which could be since we have 8,000 converts by Acts 4:4. Some say (and this seems like the best option) these “works” include both miracles and converts but also include the writing of new revelation.
There are many “works” the disciples were called to do that Jesus was not. So these works are “greater,” not because the disciples were better than Jesus, but because their ministry was more extensive.
Jesus is simply saying, “Look. If you choose to believe the words I have been saying to you regarding the true nature of my person and the authority by which I gain power to perform miracles, then you will witness an even greater work than this: great works of salvation and the pouring out of the Spirit upon your life to perform miracles and to add revelation.”
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