The Greater Works
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. John 14:12
Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “We should be doing the greater works.” Maybe you’ve said it yourself. And it’s certainly true, we should be. But what are they exactly? Several years ago I wrote a tract with the title, Doing The Works of Jesus. As of this writing, it’s available on my website, www.McCanlessMinistries.com. In that teaching, I focused mainly on the works of Jesus, but mentioned also the greater works. We should be doing both, the works and the greater works. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He primarily did three works, teaching, preaching, and healing (which included casting out devils).
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Acts 10:38
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Matthew 4:23
So, to follow this example and His words in John 14:12, the Church today should have teaching, preaching, and healing. Many, it would seem, leave off that third one. Jesus said in Mark 16:18 that Believers would lay hands on the sick in Jesus’ Name and they would recover. In both places, John 14:12 and Mark 16:18, it mentions the Believer. This is for every born-again child of God. This is for every Christian.
According to John 3:34, Jesus had the Spirit without measure. That would mean, that under the old covenant, He had all of the anointings, gifts, administrations, operations, manifestations, offices, callings, abilities, etc. that a man anointed with and by the Holy Ghost could have. After all, in His earthly ministry, He was the fullness of the Godhead, bodily. He was at that time the entire Body of Christ. But now, He is the head, and we are the body. However, not a one of us is the entire body. As revealed in I Corinthians 12, we are members of the Body of Christ in particular. It would seem reasonable that the whole anointing is still on the whole Body of Christ, but no single person is the whole Body of Christ. This would indicate that no individual has all of the anointing in the way that Jesus did in His earthly ministry. No one person is going to do everything, every work, every type of healing and miracle that Jesus did.
So what are the greater works?
Think about this: the twelve apostles that Jesus chose did the works of Jesus. In like fashion, the seventy disciples Jesus appointed also did His works. They went out to places where He did not go … covered more ground and territory … and did the works of Jesus. The seventy reported back to Jesus in Luke 10:17 that they had learned that even the devils were subject unto them through His Name. They had healings and miracles. They were doing the works of Jesus. If Jesus had stayed on the earth, He would have continued doing these works, and He could have appointed even more to do so. These works of Jesus especially included the physical needs of healings and miracles. These are not the greater works. Those early disciples while Jesus was on the earth did not do the greater works. Think about this: Jesus Himself did not do the greater works. In John 14:12, He said Believers would do the greater works … because … because He went to His Father.
If you heard someone say, “I’m going to buy that new car I want because I got a big bonus at work.” You would clearly understand that the new car is directly related to the bonus gotten on the job. The bonus is the reason they’re able to buy the car.
In the same way, when Jesus said Believers would do greater works, it was directly because He would go to His Father. Meaning, the greater works would not occur if He did not go to the Father. What happened when He went to His Father?
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:7
Because Jesus went to His Father, the Holy Spirit could come. No one was ever born again until this occurred. No one could be born again until after the resurrection of Jesus.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
No one was ever born of the Spirit or filled with the Spirit until Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus never had anyone born again in His earthly ministry. He could not do these works at all. The works He did while on the earth were wonderful and tremendous, but greater works would be done later after His resurrection when people could be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: John 20:19-22
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
The greater works are the spiritual works.
Because Jesus went to the Father, the Holy Spirit came. Now we can share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, His resurrection and newness of Life in Him. People can be born again. People can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not do these works. His twelve apostles did not do these works until after His resurrection. The seventy disciples did not do these works until after He went to His Father. These are the greater works. Spiritual works are greater than physical works. Healing can be the dinner bell, so to speak. The goodness of God leads people to repentance and healing can draw people to God. But someone being born again is certainly more important to God than someone being healed.
Someone being born again is a greater work.
A person receiving Jesus and becoming a Christian is a greater work. When a person is filled with the Spirit, a greater work is performed. These spiritual works are the greater works. And Believers are to do greater works than Jesus because He went to His Father. Jesus did not do these greater, spiritual works because they could not be done until after His death, burial, and resurrection. Praise God, when someone is born again and becomes a child of God, a greater work is done! When you share the testimony of your Christian faith and you lead someone to Jesus, you’re doing a greater work than Jesus did while on this earth. When you share the Scriptures and pray with someone to be born again or filled with the Holy Spirit, you’re doing a greater work than Jesus did in His earthly ministry.
I’ve heard people say that now we’re in more places and covering more of the earth, and they say that’s greater. I’ve heard people say that because Jesus, by His Spirit, is in more than one person, now Jesus can go to more places. But the twelve apostles and the seventy disciples went to places where Jesus did not also go at that exact time. Yes, we are covering more ground, but those aren’t specific works. And when the apostles and the seventy did that same thing, Jesus did not say they were doing greater works. He had not yet gone to the Father. The greater works could not be done until He went to His Father. The greater works are the spiritual works, such as one being born again or filled with the Spirit.
When we have healings, miracles, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, we’re not doing greater works than Jesus. These are the works of Jesus. And we should do these works of Jesus. We should pray for the sick in Jesus’ Name and expect them to recover. We should cast out devils and command them to go in Jesus’ Name. We should expect the power of God to be demonstrated in us, by us, and through us. We should teach, preach, and bring healing to the sick and needy. But though these works may be greater in number or in a greater scope, or have a greater audience, possibly be on satellite television which Jesus did not have, or be on the Internet, which Jesus did not have, they still are the works of Jesus. These are not greater works than Jesus did. They are the works of Jesus. He fed the multitudes. He turned water into wine. He walked on the water. He did many miracles, signs, and wonders. After His resurrection, when the apostles and disciples in the Book of Acts also did signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, they were doing the works of Jesus, the works that Jesus also Himself did in similar fashion, though possibly with a different operation. The shadow of Peter brought healing. That was a different manifestation, but the healing is clearly a work that Jesus Himself did in His earthly ministry. Jesus did not do the spiritual works of having people born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. These greater works could not be done by Him because He had not been raised from the dead. He had not yet gone to His Father.
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10
We should remind ourselves of the importance of the new birth. It is the heartbeat of Heaven. I’ve been in the ministry as of this writing for over thirty years. The first call on my life was that of a teacher. Christians need to be taught to mature and grow. That’s always been a focus of my ministry, teaching people already born again. And I’ve been in a healing ministry for many years. I’ve witnessed many tremendous healings and miracles. I’m of the Pentecostal persuasion, Full-Gospel, Spirit-filled … one who believes in the gifts of the Spirit. But those like me are well advised to remember that the leading of one sinner to repentance brings joy to Heaven. Our denominational brothers and sisters who are bringing souls to Christ are doing the greater works.
It concerns me to see structured and institutional religion that does not even mention the new birth. Some people are quite religious. They go to their liturgy and have their religious form. They talk about God. They have their rituals and customs. But are they born again? Are any of these so-called church leaders actually doing any of the works of Jesus? Are they doing the greater works and leading people to be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit? Someone born again is new on the inside by the power of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the precious blood of Christ. II Corinthians 5:17 describes that person as a new creature. Old things have passed away and all things are new and of God. This is done by the Word of God and by the Spirit of God when someone hears the Scriptures, believes, and calls on the Name of Jesus. This is the emphasis of God, the focus of the Gospel, and the heartbeat of Heaven. The spiritual works are the greater works.
So, Jesus said for Believers to do His works and to do the greater works. Let’s do all of them, not just His works, and not just the greater works. Let’s do His works which include teaching, preaching, and healing in His Name. Let’s also do the greater, spiritual works of leading people to Christ and the fullness of His Spirit.
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