“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12
As I prayed and sought God over what this passage really means I was ever so gently lead to the following picture of what it may have been like if Jesus had not died on the cross, but instead had stayed here on earth, continuing His ministry over the thousand plus years up until today.
When that thought popped into my head, I imagined a very old man who was left to only minister to the privileged few who could find their way into His presence. A man limited by the press, the crowds, and the needs of those who by some way or means could find a way to come close to Him. He would have been seen as the greatest prophet of all time, one who could defy death by the example of His long life, one who was filled with great teaching, and one who could heal any sickness. This picture of what could have been made me realize all the more the importance of the truth taught in John 14:12.
Jesus had to die and rise again to be our Savior, so living on and on would have left His greatest goal unaccomplished. But also, Jesus had to go to the Father so the Holy Spirit could continue the work He had started, a work that would bring truth, life, and healing to the masses – not just the privileged few.
This essential progression of the work God was about to begin was what Jesus was trying to convey to His disciples.
As the body of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are not limited to occupying one place at a time. If Jesus was still alive today He would have only had the time to minister to those who came to hear Him or had a desire to be ministered to by Him – those who realized they had a need for Him. But as believers who have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, we are able to be Christ to those who have no idea they need to hear the words of Jesus or be ministered to. We are able to reach the masses because we can blend in and since our works are only part of the great work God is doing we are not tied down by the world and its propensity to elevate people by the great works they do.
Also, if Jesus was still alive today He would have only had time to touch the lives of those who had the physical and financial means to come near Him. But as believers who have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, we are able to go to the prisons and minister the their thirsty souls of inmates, we are able to visit the shut-ins and heal their broken hearts with our time and attention to their needs, and we are able to bring hope and healing into the hospitals, group homes, nursing homes, and even our own homes just through our acts of service and time.
When Jesus said that we would do greater works than He, He did not mean as an individual you or I could do greater work than He did alone, but rather that we as the collective body of Christ could reach out and minister to so many more and in so many more places than He would have been able to in His human form.
Today you are Christ to those around you and to those God puts a yearning in your heart to minister to. Each of us are equipped differently, led differently, and used differently because we each play a unique role in God’s work here on earth. Where ever the Holy Spirit leads you to be today and whatever He asks of you to do, it is your calling, your essential part to contribute to the great work Christ is doing through His body of believers.
You are important to God and more than that He desires to use you just as you are today for His glory.