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…
I. ITS REALITY AND CERTAINTY. Vers. 13, 14 show that Christ regarded Himself as the worker and His followers only as His agents.
II. ITS ORGAN AND INSTRUMENT. Our Saviour's language —
1. Does not mean that He will work through no other way than the collective Church, which is His body, and the believer who is a member of it; because in point of fact He does, as the Governor of the universe which He summoned into being.
2. Nor that everything done by the Church or the believer is a manifestation of His activity. To maintain this would be to open a wide door to fanaticism.
3. It does signify, however, that Christ uses His Church collectively and individually to operate on the earth; and that not merely as His representative, but as His body, pervaded by His power and swayed by His will. His own works indicate His unity with the Father (ver. 11): the works of believers their unity with Himself (vers. 12, 20).
III. ITS NATURE AND EXTENT.
1. Its nature — "The same works," etc. This was fulfilled in the miracles of the disciples after Pentecost. But that they performed no works, except as they were employed by Christ is shown by the fact they wrought no miracle to cure their friends (Philippians 2:26, 27; 2 Timothy 4:20). They had no power to work indiscriminately.
2. Its extent. "Greater works" — not greater miracles, but such works as Peter's at Pentecost, and Paul's in his missionary journeys.
IV. ITS MODE AND CONDITION. If Christ is the prime worker and the believer the instrument, connection must be established between them.
1. Christ must be able to reach the believer. This He does by the impartation of the Spirit (vers. 16, 171.
2. The believer must be able to communicate with Christ. This he does by prayer (vers. 13, 14). Nothing could be —
(1) Simpler — it would be only needful that they should ask (Matthew 21:21, 22; Mark 11:23, 24).
(2) Ampler — all things should be done (Matthew 7:7; Matthew 18:19).
(3) Surer — Christ would Himself do what they asked.
(4) Freer — the only stipulation was that they should ask in Christ's name.Lessons —
1. The supreme divinity of Christ involved in all He here says about Himself.
2. The essential dignity of the Christian — a fellow worker with Christ.
3. The true doctrine of prayer — asking in the name of Christ.
4. The reason why miracles have ceased — the Holy Ghost does not consider them necessary.
(T. Whitelaw, 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.