Jesus told His disciples, 'I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [ works ] than these he will do' ( John 14:12 ) The question has been presented here before, 'how will we do works greater than Jesus Himself did?' How could we, mere human beings, do greater works than the Son of the Living God, the Creator of Heaven & Earth?! It's almost unthinkable ( when you think about it ) but there it is, in black & white! Jesus said it, I believe it & that settles it, right!? Well, it's not quite that simple!
In this day & age, there is an alarming tendency to think of 'termination' when someone mentions 'fulfillment'! Although in a contractual sense & only in a contractual sense, when something is fulfilled, it usually does mean the termination or completion of a project or job. However, when a covenant is fulfilled, the work continues! In a marriage, for instance, when the vows are fulfilled, the marriage is not over, but every day, those wedding vows are filled up, renewed. In a good, covenantal marriage, anyway, both husband & wife will remember each one of the sacred vows they made to their spouse on that wonderful day & will perform ( fulfill ) accordingly!
How can any one man or woman ever hope to do these greater works that Jesus talked about?! Now, in context, we must remember that He spoke these words to His disciples in the first-century. It was for the Purpose of the Eschaton that He spoke these words! One might object; 'well, are we not His disciples today?' Yes, we are His disciples today & we do continue His work; in a certain sense, as well, it IS greater than He did: in the sense that it is a fulfillment of His work of reconciliation. This is not something that happens all by itself either; although a person must him or herself make the decision to reconcile with his or her Heavenly Father, it is most often the result of manifold experiences!
To further clarify, it is corporately, as the Body of the Christ that we continue, or fulfill His work! Individually speaking, yes, we each bear our part, but 'here a little, there a little'; it is as the Whole that the job gets done. Many Christians, in particular evangelicals, feel that unless one devotes their time expressly to the work of evangelism that one is not doing their job. However ( thank our Heavenly Father ), it is not up to just one ( individually ) to 'save souls', it is a group effort ( corporate ) & when each does their part, then the work that Jesus started in the first century is fulfilled!
On the Cross, as well as in the Revelation, Jesus said, 'it is finished'! The work, however one qualifies or quantifies that work, was done, completed; does that mean, however, that Jesus stopped working, that He was now done? Did He, as in the beginning, rest on the seventh day, or did He take us into a New Day, one in which we are at Rest & having become, as was intended from the beginning, the Dwelling ( place ) of God in the Spirit? Yes, we are in that New Day & have reached the Promised Rest, but there is still work to do; though He finished His work on the Cross ( reconciled the world to Himself ), we must continually fulfill that work, first by reconciling ourselves to that Blessedness, then by reconciling those around us!
In a way, the words that Jesus spoke, as recorded in John 14:12 are true today; we do greater things than Jesus! Doctors have gained much knowledge over the past several hundred years; the sick are healed, those who were blind see again, the lame walk, the deaf hear again & yes, the dead are brought back to life! Although it is through the advances in modern medicine & technology that these modern miracles are taking place, they are miraculous nonetheless! Even 'demons' are being cast out, not so much like we read about in the pages of Scripture, although occurrences like this happen ( most often in third-world countries, strangely enough ), but, again due in large part to advanced medical technologies, people are being freed from manifold addiction ( cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, etc. ). We understand that these 'demons' that Jesus was casting out were metaphorical for the most part, of certain addictions or idols that people had erected in their lives, either directly or indirectly! However, though they were not necessarily quite the picture that most theologians draw for us today, these were demons nonetheless & Jesus cast them out!
Can we do the same & greater today, casting out the demons that surround us? Certainly, in our own lives, we can dismiss them with the wave of a hand ( or a finger ), but can we do the same with others who suffer the same afflictions & worse? You better believe it! By ourselves, the task often seems insurmountable, but then we must realize, WE are not alone! Not only are we eternally in the Blessed Presence of our Creator, but we are members of the Body of His Only Begotten Son: HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Charles Haddon Shank