Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…
What were the works that Jesus did? What was their very essence? We must look a little beneath the surface. Some minds are apt to confine their attention to the surface results of our Saviour's wonderful course. They think of the leaping of the lame, the seeing of the blind, the hearing of the deaf, the speaking of the dumb, the rising of the dead, the conscious strength of the paralytic, and the emancipation of the demoniac. It is befitting to think of these things. Our Saviour wished them to be considered. They were as a voice from the excellent glory and drew attention to the fact that a gracious Divine Person was at work among men. And yet, comparatively speaking, they were but a voice drawing attention to something else. They pointed to something that was really higher and greater than themselves. It is good indeed that the lame should leap; but surely there is something better even for the lame. What if after leaping they hasten away to the haunts of dissipation! Of what very great benefit will their leaping be to them? It is true, too, that it is good for the blind to see, and to see clearly. But what if, after the first transports consequent on the restoration of vision, the eyes neither read the glory of God in the heavens, nor the glory of His grace on the pages of revelation? What if they lower with passion, or look out for opportunities of alluring the unwary to their destruction? There are surely better things still than mere seeing, hearing, speaking. Even life from the dead, if merely physical, is not the highest conceivable blessing. A new lease of life, if it turn, as may too often be the case, to be a lease misspent, is not the greatest possible benefit which can be conferred upon an immortal man. Neither is deliverance from demoniac torture and oppression the most glorious emancipation of which we can conceive. Surely, then, there was scope for the apostles doing even greater works than our Saviour performed when He scattered miracles of power all along the pathway of His terrestrial career. There was scope for those greater works, because the Saviour was resolved to go on, and yet further on, till He went up to His Father. Had He faltered in this resolution, had He shrunk when the crisis became imminent, had He refused to suffer and to die as an atoning Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, then, not only would there have been no provision in Divine moral government for a repetition, or continuance, of such miracles of power, as were also miracles of mercy, but the door would have been actually closed upon hope in reference to deliverance from spiritual lameness, blindness, deafness, dumbness, paralysis, and death, and from all the spiritual demons of dis. cord, and passion, and hate, and intemperance, and licentiousness, that are making demoniacs of myriads, and that would be in danger but for Christianity of making demoniacs of us all. Our Lord did not, however, repent of His high resolve. He did not draw back from the completion of His enterprise when the difficulty was at its climax, and the hosts of darkness had gathered around Him in their serried and most formidable array. Oh, no! He strode on to victory. And it was in view of that victory, and of its mighty moral influence in the Divine government, that He promised that all the blessings which He had conferred on individuals during the brief period of His own personal and preliminary ministry, should be but the precursory drops as compared with the plenteous rain that would by and by descend and refresh, not the laud of Palestine alone, but all the dry and thirsty lands on the face of the earth. The Saviour looked far and wide from His elevated standpoint and saw, as the consequent of His triumphal ascent to His Father, the overthrow of Phariseeism and Sadduceeism. That was a very great work. He looked further and saw the overthrow of Roman and Grecian and Scythian idolatry. What great works were these! He looked further and saw the destruction of slavery through the influence of His gospel of love as preached by His disciples. He saw too the gradual emancipation of the masses from the tyranny of tyrants, and their elevation into political and social privileges. He saw, besides, the erection of hospitals and other institutions of benevolence wherever His Cross should be planted fast and firm. He saw the establishment on the one hand of home missions descending to the hundreds of thousands who have lapsed, and the establishment, on the other, of foreign missions sending the gospel of His grace to the ends of the earth in hundreds of tongues. What wonder that He spoke of "greater works" than He Himself had performed on a few impotent folk round about the Sea of Galilee, and in a few other insignificant places within the narrow radius of the Holy Land? And then He looked still further forward, and saw His Church everywhere purified after it had passed through fiery trials. He saw, in that future, that just because He was about to go up to His Father, all demonism would be vanquished, all diseases would be healed; men and women everywhere would see right, and hear right, and speak right, and act right. He saw, as the grand conclusion of His enterprise, that men everywhere would be a brotherhood of love, no one acting selfishly, but each ministering benevolently to all around.
(James Morison, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.