A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

April 12, 2015

John 14:12 ... "You Will Do Even Greater Things Than These..."

 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone 
steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do 
the things that I do; and he will do even greater things 
than these, because I go to the Father.

     It is my sincere desire that you will see the Truth in this Scripture and what it is telling us in our day.  The context in which Jesus is speaking is the night before His death, when He partook of the Passover Seder with His disciples.  
     He has announced that one of them will betray Him, and that He will soon be leaving them.  He also foretells Peter's denial, which understandably upsets His followers.  They cannot conceive of the ministry without Him, and they want to know where He is going and how they are to follow Him.
     Christ comforts them by telling them that He is going away to prepare a place for them, and by now they should know who He is and believe that He and the Father are One.  At the very least, they should know Him by the works that He has done.  And then He gives them the astonishing news that is our Scripture today:  If anyone believes in Him, they will be able to continue His work, doing as He has done.  Better yet, they will do even GREATER things!
     Have you ever taken these words to heart?  What is Jesus saying?  If we are able to do the things that He did, don't you think we should be clear regarding what He is talking about?  What, exactly, are "the works" that He did?  
     First of all, Jesus's ministry on earth consisted of the following:  1)  He preached the Gospel.  2)  He healed the sick.  3)  He cast out demons.  4)  He made Disciples to spread the Gospel.  So here's my question ... Did Jesus say that after He was gone, they would only be able to do some of the things He did?  No!  In fact, we see the Disciples throughout the Book of Acts performing miracles of healing.  In Acts 3, Peter heals a man who has been lame his entire life.  In Acts 5, we read that the sick were brought to the apostles in the hope that even their shadow would pass over the sick and heal them.  In Acts 20, we find Paul resurrecting a man from the dead by simply putting his arms around him.  
      We also have many examples of the casting out of demons.  In Acts 8, Philip is in Samaria, preaching Christ.  And demons began pouring out of the listeners as they believed in Philip's preaching of the Gospel message.  Mark 6 reports of the Apostles preaching across the countryside of the need for men to repent of their sins, "and they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them."  Acts 19 even records that the mere touch of Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons resulted in "diseases departing from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."
     To the detriment of Christ's Church, I have often heard the statement, "That authority and those powers were given to the Twelve Apostles.  They were not given to us."  I disagree.  If you will recall, Jesus sends 70 disciples out into "every city and place".  What are their marching orders:  "Heal the sick, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:9), and "I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy..." (Luke 10:19).
     These 70 people were not among the Twelve Apostles.  They were nameless, faceless followers of Christ; just like us.  They were to heal the sick and announce that the Kingdom of God was near them in the actual presence of Jesus.  We are to do the same -- use the power that we have been given and announce that the Kingdom of God resides in us, and is available to all who will hear the message of the Gospel.  Granted, I believe we have been given a measure of the authority that the Apostles had.  But as we prove our trustworthiness, he will give us more authority to accomplish things in His name.
     And that leads me to the important point that it is by the authority of Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do greater things than He.  The ability to cast out demons and heal the sick is by no means due to us.  Remember the story of the demoniac son in Matthew 17:14-21?  A man approaches Jesus and asks for mercy upon his son, who is tormented by demons.  The man had brought his son to the Disciples, but they could not cast out the demons.  In a moment of frustration, Jesus calls them a "faithless and perverse generation", and proceeds to "rebuke the demon, who departed out of [the child]."
     When the disciples come to Jesus and ask why they were unable to cast out the demons, Jesus tells them "Because of your unbelief ... this kind only goes out by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:20-21).    We don't get much explanation beyond this, but it seems reasonable to me that Jesus is saying, You guys were depending only on yourself. Where was the prayer? Where was your sense that the power was God's, through you?  
     So unbelief is a very important issue as to whether God's authority and power are going to be released in my life.  I believe that we have absolute authority through Christ, but the measure of my power is relative.  Whether we are able to defeat demonic forces in ourselves or others relies on the power we exercise.  If that power is compromised by unbelief, fear, rebellion, pride or other sinful emotions, then our authority may be undermined.
     Then there is the fact that Christians today will say that Jesus despaired of those who required signs and wonders in order to believe (John 4:48), and that He would not desire us to cast out demons or heal the sick in order to "prove" the validity of the Kingdom of God.  But we must be careful to consider the context in which He said this.  The demand for these "signs and wonders" in Galilee contrasted with the ready reception (in prior verses) which the Samaritans had given by simply hearing His word.
     So, Christ recognizes that some people will need to see signs and wonders to bolster their weak faith before they can grasp any recognition of the blessings of the Kingdom.  Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians 1:22 -- and, being a Jew, he knows firsthand, that "Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom."  That being said, Christ does not condemn those who need signs, because He knows that these "works of signs and miracles" may lead some to true faith.  But I think we can see how He compares those who need signs with those who don't, when He says to Thomas, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
     As followers of Christ -- in fact, the Church is His body, and the fullness of Him is to be in each one of us -- we should be aligning our lives to release that authority and power into the world, while proclaiming "the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe; according to the working of His mighty power."   (Ephesians 1:20).  And what is that power?  It is the power that raised Christ from the dead!  As fellow heirs of the Kingdom of Christ, the authority of God that's in Jesus Christ is shared with us.
     When Jesus Christ left us on earth He said (I'm paraphrasing), "All authority's been given to me, and now I'm commissioning you. You go out, and you make disciples just as I did. All that I did and all that I taught you, you do the exact same things. You teach others the exact same ways."  Jesus did all that as fully man, using the authority and power that was given to Him by God, the Father.  Why are we afraid to do the same?  It is clear to me that we are instructed to continue on.  Jesus modeled the life we are to live for the Kingdom.
     The bottom line is that I want to follow His example and be used by God to help others be set free, to come into the kingdom, and experience the power of God.  This is not about me thinking that I can become what's called a "deliverance minister".  I have no calling on my life to do so; although, clearly, there are people who do.  I simply want to come into the fullness of who I am in Christ, and to exercise the power and authority from God over my own spirit and body.  Then I will be able to witness to others of the power and authority of Christ that is in me; the power and authority which is in all those who belong to the Kingdom of God.
     SIDE NOTE:  For those who will say that Christians cannot become "possessed" by demonic spirits, I want to make myself clear.  We, as humans, are made up of spirit, body, and mind.  Certainly, if we have received salvation in Christ Jesus, our spirits are sealed and belong to God.  But, our bodies and our minds can be afflicted by demons in order to take our eyes off our commission.  How many Christians do you know that are plagued by pornography, fits of anger, depression?  How many suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses?  I believe that if Christians were aware of the power and authority they have to rebuke the demons that are attacking them, they could overcome many of their personal sins and problems.  Obviously, those who are indwelt with legions of demons should seek deliverance from a Christian who has received the calling and training.
     CONCLUSION:  The Westernized Church of Jesus Christ must come to the fulfillment of our Commission.  Can we agree that our mission includes doing the works that Jesus did?  And can we also agree that today's Scripture (John 14:12) records Jesus promising that not only will we do the very works that He did, but that we'll do greater works than He?  If we are going to go about fulfilling the Great Commission and doing greater works than our Lord, then we are going to need a greater authority and power than ourselves.  God knew that, and that's why He gave it to us.  We have that power right here, right now.  It's the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!  It's time we used it for His Kingdom!

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