Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Often these words of Jesus troubled me; that the one who believes in Him would do the works He did, and even greater. What was wrong with me, I wondered. Didn’t I believe! Didn’t I have enough faith! I didn’t walk on water, change water to wine, make the blind to see, or raise the dead.
Then I saw that I was missing what Jesus is talking about. Jesus had come to earth not to reveal the Father’s power, but to reveal the Father’s love (John 1:14-18; 17: 17:26). Jesus said that people would know His disciples by the love they showed to others. Again and again on this evening in the Upper Room, He commands them to love (John 13:34-35; 15:12-13; 17:20-21). This is the one essential. Note the many times Jesus did some miraculous work and then commanded the people to “say nothing to anyone” (Matthew 8:4; Mark 1:41). He never wanted his miraculous powers to detract from the one fact that they were loved.
When Jesus walked this earth He showed love to one person at a time. But now because he is “going to the Father” He will send the Holy Spirit, who will fill up His followers with His love (Romans 5:5). Then in ever growing numbers they will do this greater work of revealing His love.
It is important that we see that Jesus links these greater works of love to praying in His name: “If in my name you ask me anything I will do it”. To ask in Jesus’ name is not just a phrase we tack on the end of prayer. To ask in Jesus’ name is to ask as Jesus would ask. It is to ask in keeping with His loving character. Jesus then assures answered prayer “so that the Father will be glorified in the Son”. As we ask Jesus to love others through us, the Father will be glorified in Him.
A young priest went to India and told Mother Teresa that he wanted to do a great work for God in India. In her Christ-like spirit she encouraged him rather “to find something small to do and do it with great love”. This kind of love performed by the greater number will reveal the Father’s heart to all.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?