Greater Things; September 8, 2021

John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

The Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) is so rich you could spend a lifetime meditating on it. There is so much content that we tend to tune it out, because we can’t absorb it all. This verse is one that has challenged countless people for the past 2000 years and it still challenges us today. The “variable,” if you will, in this verse would seem to be our faith. When we look at what we have done and look at what Jesus did, we are forced to concede that our faith is pretty small. It comes down to our definition of “greater.” The Japanese says “bigger,” and from that standpoint we can think of various people throughout Church history who have had bigger numbers at some things than Jesus did in His earthly ministry. Billy Graham, for example, spoke to bigger crowds than Jesus did and brought more people to repentance and faith for salvation. That is in no way to suggest that he was greater than Jesus, just that his numbers were bigger. At the same time, if we get hung up on numbers we miss out on a great deal of what Jesus was all about. I think the point is to trust Jesus more and more and be available for Him to do through us whatever He wants to do. A few years ago the idea of “What would Jesus do,” abbreviated as WWJD, was quite the fad. Such fads, with bracelets, hats, and things like that are of minor lasting impact, but the concept of being God’s agent in the same way Jesus was is something we need to work into our spirits. There will never be, nor could there ever be, another Savior; we must never be deceived about that. But if we look at ourselves instead of at Jesus, we limit our activities to what we think we can do, instead of trusting Him to do whatever He wants to do through us. I think that’s what having faith in Jesus is all about.

This certainly applies to me! I have come back to this verse many times over the years, and it always impresses me with how much room I have to grow. I have been blessed with more abilities than many, but in a way that’s dangerous, because I am more tempted to depend on myself. I learned a long time back that I can’t save anyone, even myself, but God can and does save people through me. The more I depend on myself, the poorer the results. That should never be an excuse to be irresponsible or lazy; faithfulness is always called for. As Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) When I turn 73 next week, I have a lot of examples in my own life to look back on. I am amazed at some of the things God has done through me, and I am also saddened at some of the ways I have failed to follow through on what He was saying to me. I have no idea how much longer He will keep me here, but I do know that it is never too late to be used by Him. I must not demand to be used, but I must also not draw back from anything He leads me into.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the richness of Your Word. Help me indeed let it dwell in me richly, (Colossians 3:16) producing the fruit that You desire and intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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