Jesus here states that “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do.” If he has stopped there, it would have been amazing. But he didn’t. He goes even further: “and greater works than these will he do.” I’ve read some faith-challenged bible teachers downplayed this declaration because they have not done anything even quite near what Jesus has done—and to believe that we are able to do even “greater works” seems preposterous! So such bible scholars who generally reject “experience” as evidence of God’s power at work now use their own non-experience as evidence of God’s non-power at work. Does Jesus really mean what he says—that any believer can perform the “works that I do, and greater works than these will he do”? I believe so—because He justifies this statement with a powerful reason: “because I am going to the Father” (v.12).
What does it mean by that expression “because I am going to the Father”? The answer is found in John 16:7 where Jesus said: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” So, Jesus is saying that the same Spirit that has anointed him for all his works will now come to anoint every believer: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
Now it makes sense: the Helper that anointed Jesus of Nazareth with power to heal all who were oppressed by the devil is now in every believer to do the same--and then some more! And since there are more believers than there was the man Jesus, His works will be greater in quantity (and maybe even in quality), for Jesus' ministry was limited to Israel during his lifetime.
But the Church of Jesus Christ with millions of believers anointed by the Spirit can and will do the "greater works" in Jesus’ name. The Helper (Holy Spirit) has come! And on the Day of Pentecost, he came to “be with you forever, 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” (John 14:16-17).
Yet the traditional Church has generally ignored the Helper's ministry and treated him more like a “ghost” than a divine presence among us. But on the Day of Pentecost, the the Spirit has come to usher in the dispensation of grace. And to reject the Holy Spirit ministry is to reject the “greater works” that Jesus has promised that all believers are to do. No wonder the devil stirs up so much controversy about the Holy Spirit in the churches—it is a threat to his works. For just as the Spirit anointed Jesus to destroy the devil’s works, so now the Spirit has anointed the Church, Jesus’ Body, to destroy the devil’s works and to set captives free.
May we arise and take seriously Jesus’ promise: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). James 4:2 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask.”
Let’s resist the devil, not the Holy Spirit who is here to heal all who are oppressed by the devil. Let’s not do the devil’s work by resisting the Spirit. Instead, let’s do the Spirit’s work by resisting the devil.
Lord Jesus, thank You for sending the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit of God to be in us. Empower us to resist the devil and heal all who are oppressed by him. Amen.