In John 14:12, Jesus, while saying his good-byes to his disciples, makes an amazing statement: “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”.

Wait a minute… which “works” is Jesus referring to? Does he mean miracles? What exactly did Jesus mean by “even greater things”? How we answer these questions has profound implications for our life and ministry.

I’ve heard all kinds of answers being offered. I’ve heard preachers claim on the basis of this passage that all believers will perform miracles as long as they have enough faith. (Lack of miracles, must mean lack of faith on our part). I’ve also seen preachers perform “exegetical gymnastics” with this passage to say the exact opposite – to eliminate any expectation of supernatural works in a believer’s life. (Lack of miracles, must mean God doesn’t do that anymore.)

I don’t think Jesus meant we will perform greater miracles than he did (how do you rank miracles anyway?), but he certainly expected his mission to be continued and accompanied by supernatural works. After all, “the student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” I personally think “even greater things” refers to the growth of the movement and the scope and impact of the ministry to come.

But instead of theology, I’d like to share my experience from being involved in global missions.

I’ve had the unique privilege of traveling to many countries and seeing the global church in action on six continents. I’ve shared meals with amazing brothers and sisters in the world’s megacities and in tribal villages. I’ve met Christian leaders who oversee rapidly multiplying movements of thousands of churches and hundreds of thousands of disciples. They all believe that John 14:12 applies to all followers of Jesus, not just the first few. They believe that Jesus expects all of his followers to continue his mission, including continuing the works he did. Lastly, they believe that when Jesus said “and they will do even greater things than these”, he actually meant what he said! He certainly wasn’t trying to lower our expectations of what will happen!

They don’t just believe John 14:12 is true, they are living it and they have personal stories to back it up. Dreams, divine interventions, miracles big and small. God is doing “even greater things” every day around the world and he does it through ordinary men and women doing extraordinary works that can only be explained if God’s supernatural power was involved.

Meeting such believers around the world challenges my insufficient theology, limited experience, and relative lack of faith in what God can do in my life. It also encourages me, strengthens my faith, and raises my expectations. My prayer is that we as a church will see what God is doing around the world, allow ourselves to be challenged by it, and passionately pray for Him to do “even greater things” among us in Escondido. And that you will personally lean into the astounding invitation to continue what Jesus started, so you can see what God can do through you!

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