John 14:12
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.
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(12) Verily, verily, I say unto you.—Comp. Note on John 1:51.

He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.—He that by faith becomes one with the Son shall have the Son, and therefore also the Father, dwelling in him (John 14:11; John 14:20; John 14:23), and shall himself become an instrument through which God, who dwelleth in him, shall carry into effect His own works. He shall, therefore, do works of the same kind as those which the Son Himself doeth.

And greater works than these shall he do.—Comp. Notes on John 5:20, and on Matthew 21:21-22. The explanation of these greater works is not to be sought in the individual instances of miraculous power exercised by the apostles, but in the whole work of the Church. The Day of Pentecost witnessed the first fulfilment of this prophecy; but it has been fulfilled also in every great moral and spiritual victory. Every revival of a truly religious spirit has been an instance of it; every mission-field has been a witness to it. In every child of man brought to see the Father, and know the Father’s love as revealed in Jesus Christ, has been a work such as He did. In the world-wide extent of Christianity there is a work greater even than any which He Himself did in the flesh. He left His kingdom as one of the smallest of the influences on the earth; but it has grown up as a mighty power over all the kingdoms of the world, and all that is purest and best in civilisation and culture has found shelter in its branches.

Because I go unto my Father.—The better reading is, because I go unto the Father. The words are to be connected not with one clause only, but with all the earlier parts of the verse. They are the reason why the believer shall do the works that Christ does, as well as the reason why he shall do greater works. The earthly work of Christ will have ceased, and He will have gone to the Father. The believers will be then His representatives on earth, as He will be their representative in heaven. Therefore will they do His works, and the works shall be greater because He will be at the Father’s right hand, and will do whatsoever they shall ask in His name.



John 14:12 - John 14:14

I have already pointed out in a previous sermon that the key-word of this context is ‘Believe!’ In three successive verses we find it, each time widening in its application. We have first the question to the single disciple: ‘Philip! believest thou not?’ We have then the invitation addressed to the whole group: ‘Believe Me!’ And here we have a wholly general expression referring to all who, in every generation and corner of the world, put their trust in Christ, and extending the sunshine of this great promise to whosoever believeth in Him. Our Lord has pointed to believing as the great antidote to a troubled heart, as the sure way of knowing the Father, as the better substitute for sight; and now here He opens before us still more wonderful prerogatives and effects of faith. His words carry us up into lofty and misty regions, where we can neither breathe freely nor see clearly, except as we hold to His words. Therefore He prefaces them with His ‘Verily, verily!’ bidding us listen to them with sharpened attention as the disclosure of something wonderful, and receive them with unfaltering confidence, on His authority, however marvellous and otherwise undiscoverable they may be.

What is it, then, that He thus commends to our acceptance? If I may venture a paraphrase which may at least have the advantage of being cast into less familiar words, it is just this, that because of, and after, Christ’s departure from earth, He will, in response to prayer, work upon faithful souls in such a fashion as that they will do what He did, and in some sense will do even more.

I. We have here the continuous work of the exalted Lord for and through His servants.

These disciples, of course, were trembling and oppressed with the thought that the departure of Jesus would be the end of His ceaseless activity for them, on which they had depended implicitly for so long. Henceforward, whatever distress or need might come, that Voice would be silent, and that Hand motionless, and they would be left to face every storm, uncompanioned and uncounselled. Some of us know how dreary such experience makes life, and we can understand how these men shrank from the prospect. Christ’s words give strength to meet that trial, and not only tell them that after He is gone they will be able to do what they cannot do now, and what He used to do for them, but that in them He will work as well as for them, and be the power of their action, after He has departed.

For, notice the remarkable connection of the words with which we are dealing. ‘He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do,’ and the ground of that is ‘because I go to My Father,’ and whatsoever the believer ‘shall ask, I will do.’

So, then, there are here two very distinct paths on which Christ represents to us that His future activity will travel; the one, that of doing for us, in response to our prayers; the other that of working on us and in us, so that our acts are His and His acts are ours. We may look at these two for a moment separately.

Here, then, there is clearly stated this great thought, that Christ’s removal from the world is not the end of His activity in the world and on material things, but that, absent, He still is a present power, and having passed through death, and been removed from sense, He can still operate upon the things round us, and move these according to His will. We are not to water down such words as these into any such thought as that the continuous influence of the memory and history of His past will be a present power in all ages.

That is true, gloriously and uniquely true, but that is not the truth which He speaks here. Over and above that perpetual influence of past recorded work, there is the present influence of His present work, and to-day He is working as truly as He wrought when on earth. One form of His work was finished on Calvary, as His dying breath proclaimed; but there is another work of Christ in the midst of the ages, moving the pawns on the chessboard of the world, and presiding over the fortunes of the solemn conflict, which will not be ended until that day when the angel voices shall chant, ‘It is done! The kingdoms of the world are the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.’ The living Christ works by a true forth-putting of His own present power upon material things, and amidst the providences of life. And therefore these disciples were not to be cast down as if His work for them were ended.

Now it is clear, of course, that such words as these do demand for their vindication something perfectly unique and solitary in the nature and person of Jesus Christ. All other men’s work is cut in twain by death. ‘This man, having served his generation by the will of God, fell on sleep and was gathered to his fathers, and saw corruption,’ that is the epitaph over the greatest thinkers, statesmen, heroes, poets, the epitaph for the tenderest and most hopeful. Father, mother, husband, wife, child, friend, all cease to act when they die, and though thunders should break, they are silent and can help no more. But Christ is living to-day, and working all around us.

Now, brethren, it is of the last importance for the joyousness of our Christian lives, and for the courage of our conflict with sorrow and sin, that we should give a very prominent place in our creeds, and our hearts, to this great truth of a living Christ. What a joyful sense of companionship it brings to the solitary, what calmness of vision in contemplating the complications and calamities of the world’s history, if we grasp firmly the assurance that the living Christ is actually working by the present forth-putting of His power in the world to-day!

But that is not all. There is another path on which our Lord shows us here a glimpse of His working, not only for us, but on and in and therefore through us, so that the deeds that we do in faith that rests upon Him are in one aspect His, and in another ours.

‘The works that I do shall He do also’; because ‘whatsoever ye shall ask I will do it.’

We have not to think only of a Lord whose activity for us, beneficent and marvellous as it is, was finished in the misty past upon the Cross, nor have we only to think of a Lord whose activity for us, mighty and comforting as it is to all the solitary and struggling, is wrought as from the heights of the heavens, but we have to think of One who is beside us and in us and knows the hidden paths that no eye sees, and no foot but His can tread, into the inmost recesses of our souls, and there can enter as King and righteousness, as life and strength. This is the deepest of the lessons that He would teach us here. ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,’ and through me, if I keep close to Him, will work mightily in forms that my poor manhood could never have reached. The emblem of the vine and the branches, and the other emblem of the house and its inhabitants, and the other of the head and the members, all point to this one same thing which shallow and unspiritual men call ‘mystical,’ but which is the very heart of the Christian prerogative and the anchor of the Christian hope. Christ in us is our present righteousness and our hope of a future glory.

And now mark that a still more solemn and mysterious aspect of this union of Jesus Christ and the believer is given, since it is set forth as resulting in our doing Christ’s works, and Christ doing ours; and therein is paralleled with the yet more wonderful and ineffable union between the Father and the Son. It is no accident that in one clause He says, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works’; and that in the next He says, ‘The works that I do shall he do also’; and so bids us see in that union between the Father and the Son, and in that consequent union of co-operation between Him and His Father, a pattern after which our union with Him is to be moulded, both as regards the closeness of its intimacy and as regards the resulting manifestations in life. Christ is in us and we in Christ in some measure as the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son. And the works that we do He does in some fashion that faintly echoes and shadows the perfect co-operation of the Father and the Son in the works that the Christ did upon the earth.

All the doings of a Christian man, if done in faith, and holding by Christ, are Christ’s doings, inasmuch as He is the life and the power which does them all. And Christ’s deeds are reproduced and perpetuated in His humble follower, inasmuch as the life which is imparted will unfold itself according to its own kind; and he that loves Christ will be changed into His likeness, and become a partaker of His Spirit. So let us curb all self-dependence and self-will, that that mighty tide may flow into us; and let us cast from us all timidity, distrust, and gloom, and be strong in the assurance that we have a Christ living in the heavens to work for us, and living within us to work through us.

There is no record of the Ascension in John’s Gospel, but these words of my text unveil to us the inmost meaning of that Ascension, and are in full accord with the great picture which one of the Evangelists has drawn-a picture in two halves, which yet are knit together into one. ‘So then, after He had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God; and they went forth and preached everywhere.’ What a contrast between the two-the repose above, the toil below! Yes! But the next words knit them together-’The Lord also working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.’

II. Note, in the next place, the greater work of the servants on and for whom the Lord works.

‘Greater works than these shall he do.’ Is, then, the servant greater than his Lord, and he that is sent greater than He that sent him? Not so, for whatsoever the servant does is done because the Lord is with and in him, and the contrast that is drawn between the works that Christ does on earth and the greater works that the servant is to do hereafter is, properly and at bottom, the contrast between Christ’s manifestations in the time of His earthly limitation and humiliation, and His manifestations in the time of His Ascension and celestial glory.

We need not be afraid that such great words as these in any measure trench on the unique and unapproachable character of the earthly work of Christ in its two aspects, which are one-of Revelation and Redemption. These are finished, and need no copy, no repetition, no perpetuation, until the end of time. But the work of objective Revelation, which was completed when He ascended, and the work of Redemption which was finished when He rose-these require to be applied through the ages. And it is in regard to the application of the finished work of Christ to the actual accomplishment of its contemplated consequences, that the comparison is drawn between the limited sphere and the small results of Christ’s work upon earth, and the worldwide sweep and majestic magnitude of the results of the application of that work by His servants’ witnessing work. The wider and more complete spiritual results achieved by the ministration of the servants than by the ministration of the Lord is the point of comparison here. And I need only remind you that the poorest Christian who can go to a brother soul, and by word or life can draw that soul to a Christ whom it apprehends as dying for its sins and raised for its glorifying, does a mightier thing than it was possible for the Master to do by life or lip whilst He was here upon earth. For the Redemption had to be completed in act before it could be proclaimed in word; and Christ had no such weapon in His hands with which to draw men’s souls, and cast down the high places of evil, as we have when we can say, ‘We testify unto you that the Son of God hath died for our sins, and is raised again according to the Scriptures.’ Nor need I do more than remind you of the comparison, so exalting for His humility and so humbling for our self-exaltation, between the narrow sphere in which His earthly ministrations had to operate and the worldwide scope which is given to His servants. ‘He laid His hands on a few sick folk, and healed them’; and at the end of His life there were one hundred and twenty disciples in Jerusalem and five hundred in Galilee, and you might have put them all into this chapel and had ample room to spare. That was all that Jesus Christ had done; while to-day and now the world is being leavened and the kingdoms of the earth are beginning to recognise His name. ‘Greater works than these shall he do’ who lets Christ in him do all His works.

III. Lastly, notice the conditions on which the exalted Lord works for and on His servants.

These are two, faith and prayer.

‘He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also.’ Faith, the simple act of loving trust in Jesus Christ, opens the door of our hearts and natures for the entrance of all His solemn Omnipotence, and makes us possessors of it. It is the condition, and the only condition, and plainly the indispensable condition, of possessing this divine Christ’s power, that we should trust ourselves to Him that gives it. And if we do, then we shall not trust in vain, but to us there will come power that will surpass our desire, and fill us with its own rejoicing and pure energy. Faith will make us like Christ. Faith is intensely practical. ‘He that believeth shall do.’ It is no mere cold assent to a creed which is utterly impotent to operate upon men’s acts, no mere hysterical emotion which is utterly impotent to energise into nobilities of service and miracles of consecration, but it is the affiance of the whole nature which spreads itself before Him and prays, ‘Fill my emptiness and vitalise me with Thine own Spirit.’ That is the faith which is ever answered by the inrush of the divine power, and the measure of our capacity of receiving is the measure of His gift to us.

So if Christian individuals and Christian communities are impotent, or all but impotent, there is no difficulty in understanding why. They have cut the connection, they have shut the tap. They lack faith; and so their power is weakness. ‘Why could we not cast him out?’ said they, perplexed when they had no need to be. ‘Why could you not cast him out? Because you do not believe that I, working in you, can cast him out. That is why; and the only why.’ Let us learn that the secret of Christians’ weakness is the weakness of their Christian faith.

And the other condition is prayer. ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name I will do it,’ and He repeats it, for confirmation and for greater emphasis. ‘If ye shall ask anything in My name,’ or, as perhaps that clause ought to be read with some versions, ‘If ye shall ask Me anything in My name I will do it.’

Three points may be named here. Our power depends upon our prayer. God’s and Christ’s fullness and willingness to communicate do not depend upon our prayer. But our capacity to receive of that fullness, and so the possibility of its communication to us, do depend upon our prayer. ‘We have not because we ask not.’

The power of our prayer depends upon our conscious oneness with the revealed Christ. ‘If ye shall ask in My name,’ says He. And people think they have fulfilled the condition when, in a mechanical and external manner, they say, as a formula at the end of petitions that have been all stuffed full of self-will and selfishness, ‘for Christ’s sake. Amen!’ and then they wonder they do not get them answered! Is that asking in Christ’s name?

Christ’s name is the revelation of Christ’s character, and to do a thing in the name of another person is to do it as His representative, and as realising that in some deep and real sense-for the present purpose at all events-we are one with Him. And it is when we know ourselves to be united to Christ and one with Him, and representative in a true fashion of Himself, as well as when, in humble reliance on His work for us and His loving heart, we draw near, that our prayer has power, as the old divines used to say, ‘to move the Hand that moves the world,’ and to bring down a rush of blessing upon our heads. Prayer in the name of Christ is hard to offer. It needs much discipline and watchfulness; it excludes all self-will and selfishness. And if, as my text tells us, the end of the Son’s working is the glory of the Father, that same end, and not our own ease or comfort, must be the end and object of all prayer which is offered in His name. When we so pray we get an answer. And the reason why such multitudes of prayers never travel higher than the roof, and bring no blessings to him who prays, is because they are not prayers in Christ’s name.

Prayer in His name will pass into prayer to Him. As He not obscurely teaches us here {if we adopt the reading to which I have already referred}, He has an ear to hear such requests, and He wields divine power to answer. Surely it was not blasphemy nor any diversion of the worship due to God alone, when the dying martyr outside the city wall cried and said, ‘Lord Jesus! receive my spirit.’ Nor is it any departure from the solemnest obligations laid upon us by the unity of the divine nature, nor are we bringing idolatrous petitions to another than the Father, when we draw near to Christ and ask Him to give us that which He gives as the Father’s gift, and to work on us that which the Father that dwelleth in Him works through Him for us.

Trust yourselves to Christ, and let your desires be stilled, to listen to His voice in you, and let that voice speak. And then, dear brethren, we shall be lifted above ourselves, and strength will flow into us, and we shall be able to say, ‘I can do all things, through the Christ that dwells in me and makes me strong.’ And just as the glad, sunny waters of the incoming tide fill the empty places of some oozy harbour, where all the ships are lying as if dead, and the mud is festering in the sunshine, so into the slimy emptiness of our corrupt hearts there will pour the flashing sunlit wave, the ever fresh rush of His power; and ‘everything will live whithersoever it cometh,’ and we shall be able to say in all humility, and yet in glad recognition of Christ’s faithfulness to this, His transcendent promise, ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,’ ‘because the life which I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God.’

John 14:12-14. Verily, he that believeth on me, &c. — Having mentioned his miracles, Jesus proceeds to promise, that he would endow his apostles with a power of performing even greater wonders than any they had ever seen him do. He made them this promise to animate them in their work, and that they might not despond in his absence, when they received such tokens of his remembering them, and such proofs of his power with the Father. “How fully,” says Macknight, “Jesus performed this promise, is plain from the history of the Acts throughout, particularly John 5:15, where we find, that the very shadow of Peter, passing by, cured the sick on whom it fell, and who were laid in the streets for that purpose: also from John 19:12, which informs us, that handkerchiefs and aprons, which had touched the body of Paul, being applied to the sick and possessed, banished both the diseases and the devils. Nor should we, on this occasion, forget the gift of languages bestowed on the apostles, and which they were enabled to communicate unto others. Yet if these miracles are not thought to show greater power than Christ’s, we may refer the greatness, whereof he speaks, to the effect which they were to produce on the minds of men. For, in that respect, the apostles’ miracles were vastly superior to Christ’s; converting more people in one day, than was done by all the miracles that Jesus performed during the course of his ministry. They converted thousands at once, made the gospel to fly like lightning through the world, and beat down every thing that stood in opposition to the faith of their Master.” And whatsoever ye shall ask — Under the influence of my Spirit, and subservient to the great end of your life and ministry; that will I do — Although the promise is here conceived in general terms, yet the subject treated of directs us to understand it especially of miracles wrought in confirmation of the gospel; that the Father may be glorified in the Son — Who, when he is ascended up to heaven, will from thence be able to hear and answer prayer, and, even in his most exalted state, will continue to act with that faithful regard to his Father’s honour, which he has shown in his humiliation on earth. If ye ask any thing, &c. — I repeat it, for the encouragement of your faith and hope, that I will be as affectionate and constant a friend to you in heaven, as I have ever been on earth.

14:12-17 Whatever we ask in Christ's name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ's name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer for ever.He that believeth on me - This promise had doubtless special reference to the apostles themselves. They were full of grief at his departure, and Jesus, in order to console them, directed them to the great honor which was to be conferred on them, and to the assurance that God would not leave them, but would attend them in their ministry with the demonstrations of his mighty power. It cannot be understood of all his followers, for the circumstances of the promise do not require us to understand it thus, and it has not been a matter of fact that All Christians have possessed power to do greater works than the Lord Jesus. It is a general promise that greater works than he performed should be done by his followers, without specifying that all his followers would be instrumental in doing them.

The works that I do - The miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, etc. This was done by the apostles in many instances. See Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12; Acts 13:11; Acts 5:1-10.

Greater works than these shall he do - Interpreters have been at a loss in what way to understand this. The most probable meaning of the passage is the following: The word "greater" cannot refer to the miracles themselves, for the works of the apostles did not exceed those of Jesus in power. No higher exertion of power was put forth, or could be, than raising the dead. But, though not greater in themselves considered, yet they were greater in their effects. They made a deeper impression on mankind. They were attended with more extensive results. They were the means of the conversion of more sinners. The works of Jesus were confined to Judea. They were seen by few. The works of the apostles were witnessed by many nations, and the effect of their miracles and preaching was that thousands from among the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the Christian faith. The word "greater" here is used, therefore, not to denote the absolute exertion of power, but the effect which the miracles would have on mankind. The word "works" here probably denotes not merely miracles, but all things that the apostles did that made an impression on mankind, including their travels, their labors, their doctrine, etc.

Because I go unto my Father - He would there intercede for them, and especially by his going to the Father the Holy Spirit would he sent down to attend them in their ministry, John 14:26, John 14:28; John 16:7-14. See Matthew 28:18. By his going to the Father is particularly denoted his exaltation to heaven, and his being placed as head over all things to his church, Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:9-11. By his being exalted there the Holy Spirit was given John 16:7, and by his power thus put forth the Gentiles were brought to hear and obey the gospel.

8-12. The substance of this passage is that the Son is the ordained and perfect manifestation of the Father, that His own word for this ought to His disciples to be enough; that if any doubts remained His works ought to remove them (see on [1851]Joh 10:37); but yet that these works of His were designed merely to aid weak faith, and would be repeated, nay exceeded, by His disciples, in virtue of the power He would confer on them after His departure. His miracles the apostles wrought, though wholly in His name and by His power, and the "greater" works—not in degree but in kind—were the conversion of thousands in a day, by His Spirit accompanying them. He that believeth on me; not every individual soul that believeth on me; but some of those, particularly you that are my apostles, and shall be filled with the Holy Ghost in the days of Pentecost; you shall preach the gospel, and work miracles for the confirmation of the truth of the doctrine of it. Yea, and you shall do

greater works than I have done: not more or greater miracles: the truth of that may be justly questioned; for what miracle was ever done by the apostles greater than that of raising Lazarus? Much less do I think that it is to be understood of speaking with divers tongues. It is rather to be understood of their success carrying the gospel to the Gentiles, by which the whole world, almost, was brought to the obedience of the faith of Christ. We never read that of Christ which we read of Peter, viz. his converting three thousand at one sermon.

Because I go unto my Father, he afterwards expounds, telling us, that if he did not go away, the Comforter would not come. The pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, was the proximate cause of those great works. Now Christ’s going to the Father had an influence upon that mission of the Holy Spirit.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me,.... Having mentioned his miracles as proofs of his deity, he assures his disciples, in order to comfort them under the loss of his bodily presence, that they should do the same, and greater works; for we are not to understand these words of everyone that believes in Christ, of every private believer in him, but only of the apostles, and each of them, that were true believers in him: to whom he says,

the works that I do shall he do also; he shall raise the dead, heal all manner of diseases, and cast out devils; things which Christ gave his apostles power to do, when he first gave them a commission to preach the Gospel, and when he renewed and enlarged it: and which they did perform, not in their own name, and by their own power, but in the name, and by the power of Christ:

and greater works than these shall he do; meaning, not greater in nature and kind, but more in number; for the apostles, in a long series of time, and course of years, went about preaching the Gospel, not in Judea only, but in all the world; "God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost", Hebrews 2:4, wherever they went: though perhaps by these greater works may be meant the many instances of conversion, which the apostles were instrumental in, and which were more in number than those which were under our Lord's personal ministry: besides, the conversion of a sinner is a greater work than any of the miracles of raising the dead, &c. for this includes in it all miracles: here we may see a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, quickened; one born blind made to see; one who was deaf to the threatenings of the law, and to the charming voice of the Gospel, made to hear, so as to live; and one that had the spreading leprosy of sin all over him, cleansed from it by the blood of the Lamb yea, though a miracle in nature is an instance and proof of divine power, yet the conversion of a sinner, which is a miracle in grace, is not only an instance of the power of God, and of the greatness of it, but of the exceeding greatness of it: and the rather one may be induced to give in to this sense of the passage, since it is added, as a reason,

because I go to my Father; and upon my ascension the Spirit will be given, to you, which shall not only enable you to perform miracles, as proofs of your apostleship, and the doctrine you preach, but which shall powerfully attend the Gospel to the conversion of multitudes of souls.

{5} Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and {f} greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

(5) Christ's power is not only shown within his own person, but it is spread through the body of his entire Church.

(f) That is, not only do them, but I can also give other men power to do greater.

John 14:12-13. Truly, on the compliance with this πιστεύετέ μοι there awaits an activity like my own, yea, and still greater. What encouragement to fidelity in the faith! Schott, Opusc. p. 177, imports the meaning: “neque ad ea tantum provoco, quae me ipsum hucusque vidistis perficientem, imo,” etc. Comp. also Luthardt, according to whom Jesus proceeds to a still further demonstration of His fellowship with God.

ὁ πιστ. εἰς ἐμέ] intended not to have a general application, but to refer (comp. John 14:11; John 14:13) to the disciples. On εἰς ἐμέ, Bengel aptly remarks: “qui Christo de se loquenti (see πιστ. μοι, John 14:11), in Christum credit.”

κἀκεῖνος] he also, in comparison, emphatically repeating the subject. Xen. Mem. i. 2. 24.

καί] heightening the effect: and besides, indeed. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 145 f.

μείζονα τούτων] greater than these, ἂ ἐγὼ ποιῶ, comp. John 5:20, and on the thought, Matthew 21:21-22. It is not, however, to be referred to single separate miracles, which are reported by the apostles; Ruperti names the healing power of Peter’s shadow, Acts 5, and the speaking in foreign tongues, which latter Grotius also has in view; Bengel appeals to Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12; Mark 16:17 ff. A measuring of miracles of this kind by their magnitude is throughout foreign to the N. T. Rather in μείζονα τούτων is the notion of ἔργα expanded, so that its predominant signification is not that of miraculous deeds in the narrower sense (as in ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ), but in a broader sense, the world-subduing apostolic activity. generally, produced by the Holy Spirit (John 16:18 ff.) in the diffusion of the gospel, with its light and life, amongst all peoples, in the conquest of Judaism and paganism by the word of the cross, etc. The history of the apostles, and especially the work of Paul, is the commentary thereon. These were ἔργα of a greater kind than the miracles proper which Jesus wrought,[146] and which also, categorically, those of the apostles resembled.

ὅτι, κ.τ.λ.] assigns the reasons of the preceding assurance, τὰ ἔργα ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶμείζ. τούτ. ποιήσει (not merely the μείζονα, for which limitation no reason presents itself), and this statement of reason continues to the end of John 14:13, so that καὶ ὅ, τι ἂν still depends on ὅτι. Since He is going to the Father, and is thereby elevated to the position of heavenly rule, He will do all that they shall ask in His name, there can be no doubt that the assurance of those ἔργα will be justified. So, substantially, Grotius, Lücke, Olshausen, De Wette, Ewald, Godet, comp. already Cyril. Considering the internal coherence, and the immediately continuative καί, John 14:13, it is incompetent to separate John 14:13, as if it were independent, from John 14:12, whereby ὅτι ἐγὼ πρὸς τ. π. πορ. is taken either merely in the sense: ὑμῶν λοιπόν ἐστι τὸ θαυματουργεῖν, ἐγὼ γὰρ ἀπέρχομαι (Chrysostom, so Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Wolf, Kuinoel, Ebrard, and several others); or more correctly, because really assigning a reason, with Luther: “for through the power that I shall have at the right hand of the Father, … I will work in you,” etc. Comp. Calvin and several others, including B. Crusius, Luthardt, Hengstenberg.

ἐγώ] In opposition to the πιστεύοντες, who continue their activity on earth.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου] Comp. John 15:16, John 16:23. The prayerful request to God (for it is to God that the absolute αἰτήσητε refers, comp. John 15:16) is made in the name of Jesus, if this name, Jesus Christ, as the full substance of the saving faith and confession of him who prays, is in his consciousness the element in which the prayerful activity lives and moves, so that thus that Name, embracing the whole revelation of redemption, is that which specifically measures and defines the disposition, feeling, object, and contents of prayer. The express use of the name of Jesus therein is no specific token; the question is of the spirit and mind of him who prays. The apostolic mode of expression is analogous: to be, have, say, do, anything, etc., ἐν Χριστῷ, ἐν κυρίῳ. Comp. on Colossians 3:17, and see also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 357, and generally Gess, d. Gebet im Nam. Jesu, 1861. The renderings: invocato meo nomine (in connection with which reference is irrelevantly made to Acts 3:6, Chrysostom, Nonnus, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Maldonatus, and several others); me agnoscentes mediatorem (Melanchthon); ut mea causa faciat (Grotius); per meritum meum (Calovius and several others); in my mind, in my affairs (De Wette), and the like, are partly opposed to the words, partly too narrow, and comprised in the foregoing explanation. But if we proposed to interpret, with Godet: in my stead, that is, in such a way as though I myself were the subject that prays through you,[147] the first person ποιήσω would be inappropriate to a self-hearing; and essential prayers like those for the forgiveness of sin would be excluded.

τοῦτο ποιήσω] nothing else. This definite and unlimited promise rests upon the fact that the petition of him who prays in the name of Jesus is in harmony with the will of Christ and of God, but in every case subordinates itself in the consciousness of him who prays to the restriction: not my, but Thy will! hence also the denial of a particular petition is the fulfilment of prayer, only in another way. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.

That Christ asserts the ποιεῖν of Himself (John 15:16, and John 16:23 of the Father), lies in the consciousness of His unity with God, according to which He, even in His exalted condition, is in the Father, and the Father is in Him. Hence, if, through the fulfilment of these petitions, the Son must be glorified, the Father is glorified in the Son; wherefore Jesus adds, as the final aim of the τοῦτο ποιήσω: ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ πατ. ἐν τῷ υἱῷ. Comp. John 13:31. The honour of the Father is ever the last object of all that is attained in the affairs of the Son, John 12:28; John 11:4; Php 2:11; Romans 16:25 ff.; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21. Note the emphatic collocation ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ, where, however, the main stress lies upon ὁ πατήρ.

[146] “For He assumed only a small corner for Himself, a little time for His preaching and working of miracles; but the apostles and their successors went through the whole world,” etc.—Luther.

[147] So also Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 272, who regards the works only as the object of prayer. But for this the expression is too general; just as general, John 16:23 ff. The works are subsumed under the general statement.

John 14:12. ἀμὴνποιήσει. The first encouragement is the assurance that through Christ’s absence the disciples would be enabled to do greater works than Jesus Himself had done. These “greater” works were the spiritual effects accomplished by the disciples, especially the great novel fact of conversion. See this developed in Parker’s The Paraclete. Such works were to be possible ὅτιπορεύομαι. It was by founding a spiritual religion and altering men’s views of the spiritual world Christ enabled His followers to do these greater works. Here this is explained on the plane of the disciples’ thoughts and in this form: “I go to my Father, the source of all power, and whatever you ask in my name I will do it”.

12. Verily, verily] See notes on John 1:51.

the works that I do shall he do also] i.e. like Me, he shall do the works of the Father, the Father dwelling in Him through the Son (John 14:23).

and greater works than these] There is no reference to healing by means of S. Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15) or of handkerchiefs that had touched S. Paul (Acts 19:12). Even from a human point of view no miracle wrought by an Apostle is greater than the raising of Lazarus. But from a spiritual point of view no such comparisons are admissible; to Omnipotence all works are alike. These ‘greater works’ refer rather to the results of Pentecost; the victory over Judaism and Paganism, two powers which for the moment were victorious over Christ (Luke 22:53). Christ’s work was confined to Palestine and had but small success; the Apostles went everywhere, and converted thousands.

because I go unto my Father] For ‘My’ read ‘the’ with all the best MSS. The reason is twofold: (1) He will have left the earth and be unable to continue these works; therefore believers must continue them for Him; (2) He will be in heaven ready to help both directly and by intercession; therefore believers will be able to continue these works and surpass them.

It is doubtful whether there should be a comma or a full stop at the end of this verse. Perhaps our punctuation is better; but to make the ‘because’ run on into the next verse makes little difference to the sense.

John 14:12. Ἀμὴν, ἀμήν, verily, verily) There follow most sweet promises and exhortations mixed together; and in such a way, that, whilst speaking, He from time to time [“subinde”] touches upon those topics, which in the progress of His discourse form the very subjects proposed for discussion.[348] For instance, John 14:15, as to love, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments:” with which comp. John 14:21, “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.” And He also repeats some things by way of recapitulation. The Evangelist and Apostle also imitates this method of our Lord: 1 John 2:20, note.—, those which) i.e. equally great. [Comp. ch. John 5:20; John 5:25, “The Father showeth the Son all things that Himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these:—The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”]—μείζονα, greater) for instance, Acts 5:15, “They brought forth the sick into the streets, that at the least the shadow of Peter in passing by might overshadow some of them;” John 19:12. “From Paul’s body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed;” Mark 16:17, the end of the ver., “They shall speak with new tongues.”—ποιήσει, he shall do) through faith in Me.

[348] Propositiones; the Statements of His subject.—E. and T.

Verses 12-15. -

(b) The greater works, and their conditions and issues, He offers a fresh ground of consolation, based on the double consideration, first of his departure from them and abiding presence with them, and then on the reflex effect on their own faith and on the world of their consciousness of union with him. He throws the arms of his love round about, not only the eleven disciples, but all believers on him, and in a sense draws them up into his own Divinity. With these words must be compared the closely parallel words addressed to them (as preserved by Matthew 21:22, 23) a few days before. This was a saying at once explaining the reference to the "greater works" and also to the power of prayer (see Hengstenberg's masterly treatment of this passage). Verse 12. - Verily, verily - with a fresh emphasis he turns now, not from Philip to the eleven, but from the eleven to all who will believe on him through their word - I say unto you, He that believeth on me - observe here a nominative absolute, which gives great emphasis to the universality of the reference; the form is slightly varied, εἰς ἐμέ, in place of μοι, Ver. 11, - believeth, trusteth on me, confides in me, by reason of believing me - he also shall do the works that I do (see for similar emphasis procured by the word κὰκεῖνος, John 6:57; John 9:37; John 12:48). The disciples might naturally have reasoned on this wise: "Our Master is the incarnate Word, the very Hand and Grace of the Father; but he is going to the invisible Father, and wilt be lost in light. His series of proofs will be at an end; we shall only have the memory of them. The glory of God is great, but, like a gorgeous sunset, its flames will die away into the night." To rectify such fear for all the ages of the Church, he adds, "The very works of healing and helping men, even of raising the dead, and preaching glad tidings to the poor and needy, - these will be proofs of the union of the believer in all time with me and with my Father." In the case of such believer, as well as in my case, the works may increase the faith of others. They are not indispensable, but comforting and reassuring, and they show that every believer is near to the heart of the Father and wields the power of God. But the full force of this somewhat perplexing sentence is heightened and to some extent explained by the addition: And greater works than these he shall do; because I am going to the Father. Greater works than any wrought by the Lord in the days of his humiliation are predicted of Messiah. He is to be the "Light of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6; cf. Psalm 72:8, 11; Psalm 110.). He is to rule the world, to cover the earth with the glory of God. How he was to do this was hidden from the disciples, but it would soon appear that they were the instruments, in his loving hands, for world-victories. Nay, more than that, Jesus (John 4:36-38) had told these disciples that they might reap what he had sown. These rather than other and more surprising prodigies of supernatural energy (as even Bengel supposed was his meaning, pointing, to the healing energy of Peter's shadow, etc.) were the greater works to which he probably (John 5:20) referred, though he gives a reason which would check all presumption: Because of going to the Father. The contrast, then, is between the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, between works wrought in his flesh and those that would be done by him when at the right hand of power. Without him, separated from him, independently of his continued and augmented energy working through them, they would do nothing (John 15:5; comp. here Matthew 21:21, 22). In the last passage, in answer to believing prayer, the disciples were told that they would do greater things than wither up the fig tree, or remove the mountain into the sea. Probably (see Hengstenberg) these terms, "fig tree," "mountain," "sea," were used in their prophetic-symbolic sense, and were not hyperbolic promises, but definite prophecies of the overthrow of the Jewish state, and the fall of the Roman power under the word of those who believed on him. These vast privileges and functions are here attributed to "believers," not merely to the apostles, or princes in his kingdom. This extraordinary pro-raise is no disparagement of his supreme authority, but will be proof that he sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high. John 14:12Greater works

Not more remarkable miracles, but referring to the wider work of the apostolic ministry under the dispensation of the Spirit. This work was of a higher nature than mere bodily cures. Godet truthfully says: "That which was done by St. Peter at Pentecost, by St. Paul all over the world, that which is effected by an ordinary preacher, a single believer, by bringing the Spirit into the heart, could not be done by Jesus during His sojourn in this world." Jesus' personal ministry in the flesh must be a local ministry. Only under the dispensation of the Spirit could it be universal.

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