The old cliche' goes something like this; 'the Bible says it & I believe it!' Well, if we are to believe the Bible, Jesus strongly implied, several times, that we have a Power Within ( John 14:23 ) that nothing is impossible for, so why aren't we doing greater things than Jesus, why are we not able to literally move mountains? 'Well', most would say, 'as to the latter, Jesus was using a figure of speech here, telling His disciples that they would be able to overcome any obstacle, with the right amount of faith. In fact, one would likely hear much the same explanation from most any modern ( American ) Christian. Others, including this blogger, attribute the words of Jesus here, to comforting His first-century disciples with the fact that they, through faith in Him, would be able to remove the Jewish economy, the Temple, specifically, which was an 'adversary' to them. Whatever the case may be, whether Jesus was simply instructing His first-century disciples on how to overcome their Adversary, or voicing a universal truth about how to overcome obstacles, we can certainly attest to the fact that the Jewish economy is no longer in force & we CAN ( metaphorically ) move mountains through faith!
One might pause to wonder, 'how will we accomplish greater things than even Jesus?' This is a daunting proposition, to be sure! We can speculate on what Jesus meant by these words, but there it is, in black & white. The argument might well be made here, that Jesus healed the sick, caused the blind to see, the lame to walk & even raised the dead; 'how does He expect us to top that? DOES He expect us to top that?! 'Well', it might be said, 'His words there, as in the previous quotation, were metaphorical'. In that sense, we might agree; metaphorically speaking, we HAVE raised the 'dead', caused the 'blind' to see, the 'lame' to walk & we DO heal the 'sick'. In a purely biological sense as well, Science & Technology have enabled us to literally bring people back to life, to bring sight to blind eyes, to make the lame walk again & doctors have learned to heal an amazing number of different diseases. But, Jesus said that we would do 'greater works'!
Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, our problem lies rooted in the fact that, for whatever reason & to whatever extent, we do not believe we are capable of such feats as He was able to accomplish. We have been so conditioned that we are what we eat, in other words, that we are so limited by this biology that nothing but the Power of God could ever do such things, even through our weak humanity. The truth of such a stance is self-evident, or so it would seem! We tend to think of ourselves as weak humanity, but it is only weak humanity that clothes us; our true selves, our True Being, is Pure Spirit, just like our Heavenly Father!
'Like Father, like Son'; so they say. Is this not what Jesus meant when He said that we would do 'greater works'? While this may be going a bit far, is it outside the realm of possibility, then, since, as Scripture says, 'All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made' ( John 1:3 ), that we might even be, or have been already, involved in the creation/formation of material things, the stuff that dreams are made of? That may be a bit much to swallow, but even if one denies that, cannot we see that we create our own 'world'? Through our personal decisions, or choices, we shape our own destiny, as well as having a greater or lesser effect on the world around us!
We do what we know! It is easy to say, 'I believe................', but unless we have that gut-feeling that we know it's true, we don't usually act on it. Many there are who claim to believe in a certain manner, yet act in contradiction to their stated belief when their mettle is tested. On the other hand, there are those who consistently manifest their stated beliefs. This is not always a good thing!
In his famous diatribe against those that say they have faith, the mere believer; the apostle James, Jesus' own brother, said, 'faith without works is dead' ( James 2:26 ). A blind faith, a faith which is not based in knowledge, which leads to action, is worthless! True Faith, on the other hand, is more than belief, for as James also said, 'Even the demons believe—and tremble' ( James 2:19 ); Faith is trust & what man, woman or child among us trusts what they do not know in the heart to be true? ( Wait, don't answer that! )
The Pharisees & thus many of the Jews of Jesus' day rejected Him as their Messiah because they could not wrap their tiny minds around the fact that Man could embody God. Jesus also tread on many of their false notions about the nature of things, but the main reason that they called for His death was that He, a mere Man, as they chose to see Him, claimed to be One with the Creator. In His humanity, Jesus was no stronger than you or I; it was through the Spirit Within, the same Spirit that resides in us, that in fact IS us, that He was able to overcome the pain & suffering of the cross & thus, death itself!
It is when we ourselves try to wrap our own tiny minds around the glorious fact that Jesus said we would do 'greater works' that we get into the same sort of trouble the Pharisees did. The mind, being the seat of the ego, tries to make sense of things from a purely human perspective, as did the Pharisees, yet we must remember that our humanity is simply our clothing; we are, as the saying goes, 'spirit beings having a human experience'. It is when we realize this that we are able to accomplish those 'greater works'. The blind will see again, the deaf will hear & the dead will live again; even better they will retain such high vibrations in their own biology that even that will defy the ravages of Time!
Realizing that we are Life itself helps us to manifest in our biology that which we know to be True! The knowledge that it is our beliefs that divide us should drive us to live beyond those beliefs, to see that, despite our differences, in color or creed, we are all of One; it is the same Spirit that drives us all!
An immediate objection will be, in other words, maybe, 'but what about those who do not/have not realized this?' People like Pol Pot, Hitler, etc. & groups of fanatical terrorists like ISIS come to mind here. 'What about them?' Remember that Jesus told His disciples, in that first century context, 'do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul' ( Matthew 10:28a ) Those in the past who have committed atrocities such as genocide, other forms off mass murder & those who continue to advance terrorism today can only kill the biological bodies that house our true selves, they can never harm us, unless we allow them to!
The knowledge that we can indeed 'move mountains', whether metaphorically or literally, should tell us something. Since it is the Spirit Within that drives us, we should know that it is the same which enables us to overcome those obstacles! Whatever physical strength we might possess in this relatively weak biological body, it is only our determination which pushes us past all others; any good & honest athlete will tell you that. The Works that we do, the things that we accomplish in this biology, in other words, are the manifestation of what we endeavor in the Spirit; our Inner World fashions our Outer World!
Charles Haddon Shank