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#271: WHAT ARE THE “EVEN GREATER THINGS” JESUS PROMISED?

WHAT ARE THE “EVEN GREATER THINGS” JESUS PROMISED?

There are worrying tendencis in recent popular church movements where this biblical truth is ignored and instead there is much more enphasis on enticing experiences, dellusion and false hope of revival, and rulership of the entire world by spirit-filled Christians here and now in this world...

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. … Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
‘If you love me, keep my commands.
 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. … On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’ …
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.       JOHN 14:1-27.

Christians commemorate ‘Pentecost’ as a feast observed seven weeks after Easter Day. On this fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the first Century, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and they began to speak in ‘other tongues’, i.e., many languages they had not previously learned. Due to this miraculous intervention of God, all the people there of different nationalities and languages could hear their own languages and understand the main point of the gospel on the day. The thrust of the messages heard on the day can be summed up as follows:
(1)an explanation of the events which happened in Jerusalem,
(2)the gospel of Jesus Christ; His death, resurrection, exaltation and descent of the Holy Spirit
(3)repentance and baptism in His name. The Pentecost in 2018 falls on Sunday, 20th May.

On the night He was betrayed and arrested, Christ taught His disciples about the Father’s promise of the Holy Spirit who was to come after His death. In the passage quoted above, Christ comforted His disciples and instructed them of the way of the Spirit. His emphasis in the whole discourse in the upper room is on love, and the definition of love is to obey God’s Word:
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me (vs.23-24, Line added).

This is the essence of faith in Christ.

Christ taught that the indwelling God within Him is doing His work in vs.10 and11. and that the same can be applied to the faithful followers of Christ. In verses 12 to 15, He taught that whoever believed in Christ would do “even greater things” than the works He had been doing, by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Greek word ‘ἔργα’ in verse12, translated as ‘the works’ in English refers to NOT miracles or wonders but the salvific work by the Messiah, and the following word of ‘things’ in English in the same verse simply does not exist in the Greek text. In the same way, ‘even greater things’ (Line added) is ‘μείζονα’ in Greek and it refers NOT to quality but quantity. In other words, verse 12 plainly tells us that we would see greater numbers of sinners converting until Christ’s Second Coming. This is in sharp contrast to the commonly held belief by the majority of evangelical and Charismatic leaders that this passage is interpreted as Jesus promising greater miracles, signs and wonders than ever in the last days.

In vs. 16 and 17, Christ referred to ‘advocate to help you’ or ‘counselor’ , i.e., ‘παράκλητος’ in Greek, in other words, ‘the Spirit of truth’, and He explained how God’s Spirit who lived with the disciples (‘παρ᾽ ὑμῖν’) before His Ascension would be transferred to Christ’s spirit who will live in them (‘ἐν ὑμῖν’) eternally. It is apparent in the context that Christ’s promise prerequisites for his followers’ wholehearted obedience to His commmands. i.e., not only accepting them but also keeping them, because this is the evidence of our love for Him as described above.
Christ assured His disciples that even if He left them they would not be led astray because the Holy Spirit within them would instruct them to the end. In the end of the discourse of Chapter 14, He assured His disciples that He taught everything they needed to maintain faith and peace in Christ to the end of the world. This is the main thrust of the gospel and we should not add anything to His teachings and promises.

There are worrying tendencis in recent popular church movements where this biblical truth is ignored and instead there is much more enphasis on enticing experiences, dellusion and false hope of revival, and rulership of the entire world by spirit-filled Christians here and now in this world, instead of calling out for Christ’s Second Coming from utter helplessness. They are more expectant of external miracles, signs and resources rather than depending on believer’s inner witness of the Holy Spirit. We must test everything by the Word of God, be it prophecy, healing, or miracles.