Thursday, June 08, 2006

You Will Do Greater Works Than Jesus?

What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples in John 14:12,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father" (ESV).

Below are links to three articles by fine NT scholars attempting to answer the question for us:

Darrell Bock (recent article in CT):
". . . the works of Jesus' followers are of a greater quality, since they belong to the era of God's promises fulfilled. These works also reflect God's power in a special way, since every good work is made possible by what Jesus did both for the Twelve and for everyone who chooses to follow him.

Andreas Kostenberger (Didaskalia 6 [1995]: 36-45):
"John’s focus is . . . on the substantially superior quality of works performed in the era subsequent to the period of the earthly Jesus, without elaborating upon the specific shape such works will take. . . . Works done in the era subsequent to that of the earthly Jesus are greater, not because of the human being doing them, but owing to Jesus’ exalted position with the Father and to his complete authority, as well as on account of Jesus’ answering of the disciples’ prayers in his name and his sending of the Spirit as a helping presence for his followers."

Tom Schreiner (unpublished essay):
"I think the greater works Jesus has in mind are not greater miracles in terms of signs and wonders. Instead, the greater works done by those who believe in Jesus refer to the work of the Spirit in people's hearts, a work of the Spirit that has greater dimensions now that Jesus has ascended to the Father. . . . the greater works refers to the work of the Spirit through believers in convicting unbelievers of their sin, and mediating forgiveness of sins in the name of the risen

You can click on the links above to read fuller explanations and argumentation for their positions.