This may be one of the most enigmatic passages in Scripture! How will we do greater things than the Son of God Himself? In context maybe, some may rectify these mysterious words by reasoning that Jesus was referring to the growth of the early Church as indicative of the 'greater works' His Disciples would accomplish. Others may even place the fulfillment of this prophecy into the future, attributing it to our perfected state, after Jesus' supposed 'second coming'. Whatever the case, do not physicians today, at least biologically speaking, have the ability, through Science & Technology, to do many of the things that Jesus did? But He said we would do 'greater works'!
The many different religions of the world, to whatever extent, all have different concepts of & names for the Creator of all life. Some may refer to Him/Her/It as Allah, YHWH, Krishna, or even simply, God.The American Indians, what most in their political correctness call 'Native Americans' refer to this Source of All as 'The Great Spirit'. Whatever word these different religions use to refer to their God, 'it is what it is'; the Creator God is THE Source of all Life, the Energy that makes up the Universe, or multiverse, as the case may be!
It has become clear to this blogger that we are more than what can be seen, even through a microscope. Our humanity is undeniable, but what drives that humanity, what sets & keeps it in motion is beyond the reach of even the most powerful microscope. It is the Source which powers All, the Energy that sustains all Life, through Whom we 'live and move and have our being' ( Acts 17:28 ). Our biological bodies are simply a part of 'us'; they are merely what houses our spirit/Spirit. Notice, I did not say they are 'the prison-house for the soul', as some have accused us! All I mean to say is that we are not mere human beings; first & foremost, our Origin is with the Source, the Originator of All. As Jesus said, 'My Father is greater than I' ( John 14:28); we are not the Source of all Life, though we ARE One with that Source.Using the same Greek word ( meizōn ) in both instances, was Jesus implying that we would do 'greater works'' than the Creator Himself?!
I must say, before I began to open my mind to the possibilities, that when people would approach me with the notion that we, ourselves, are 'God', I would immediately rebut their ridiculous proposal with something like, 'I didn't put that mountain there; did you?!' Approaching the subject with a ready mind, though & using our 'God-given' logic, is it truly that ridiculous to understand that we do create our own existence, biologically speaking? We have created the circumstances of our own lives, to a large extent. Now, there are certainly things that seem to be beyond our control, but are they really? Things do not just happen; it is through the engine of choice that people are motivated to do this or that, one thing or the other. It is by choice that we decide to eat one thing or the other; one may taste better to us or be more convenient, while the other may take a bit longer to prepare & may not be as tantalizing, but on the whole is more nutritional. Is is through our choices that we create our reality!
Before I go too far down this path, let me just clarify that there are actually some things that ARE beyond our control, at least, biologically speaking. For instance, you might say, 'I did not choose to be born into this body that is wracked with whatever particular disease, or has a genetic predisposition to...............' This may be true enough, biologically speaking, but are we not more than this biology?
If we take Jesus at His word, assuming that His meaning has not been 'lost in the translation', what are we to understand by 'greater works than these he will do'? Are we left with either the early growth of the Church or some future vision? Can we indeed do more? Christians love to quote Philippians 4:13, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' & while there may be some debate over exactly what the apostle meant by 'all', it is safe to assume that 'nothing will be impossible' for those connected to or in Communion with this Source. Here again, of course, we must take into account the context of His words, while at the same time understanding that His true intent might have gotten 'lost in the translation'.
The notion that we could simply call forth from the grave one who has been dead for four days, restore a limb, or the eyesight of one born blind is utterly fantastic to most of us, but Jesus said it would be done! Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus was not dead, but simply sleeping; He knew, as He later told His Disciples, that Lazarus' biological body had ceased to function, but by telling the Disciples that Lazarus was sleeping, Jesus was not lying to them or giving them false hope; He was reassuring them that Lazarus was more than his biology. The Disciples, like many or most Christians today, could not understand this glorious fact & so Jesus stooped to their level, so to speak, telling them 'plainly' that Lazarus had died.
Getting back to the point, it is difficult for us, in our humanity especially, to realize the magnanimity of Jesus' words. Since we are told we will accomplish 'greater works' than Jesus, God Himself, then why is there no historical evidence of it? What is hindering us from realizing our true potential? My contention is that there are those, even biologically speaking, who have done, not only what Jesus did, but have accomplished these 'greater works'. 'Where is the proof?', you may ask: as someone once said, 'the Truth is out there!'
Charles Haddon Shank