What did Jesus Mean in John 14:12?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by righteousdude2, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. righteousdude2

    righteousdude2
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    "Truly, truly, 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; because I go to the Father." (NASB)

    Just what do you think Jesus speaking to, or about in this verse? :wavey:
     
  2. plain_n_simple

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    Same as this:

    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

    18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

    19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

    20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
     
  3. Reformed

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    When Jesus said these words the New Testament church had not yet been created, nor had the Holy Spirit been given. Jesus states this plainly in verses 16-17:

    "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."

    Jesus was also specifically addressing His disciples. The "greater works" Jesus was referring to in verse 12 were greater in scope and quantity, not quality. The Apostles would preach the Gospel in Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean region. This was greater than the works of our Lord in the sense that Jesus only ministered in Judea. The Apostles also started churches and appointed elders to shepherd each church. They provided the Church, then and now, with didactic writings that provide sound doctrine and instruction on Christian living.

    Since the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), we continue to do these greater works today.

    Of course, these greater works are possible because it is God the Holy Spirit at work through us, so He deserves all the glory and praise.
     
    #3 Reformed, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2014
  4. plain_n_simple

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    Greater works refers to signs and wonders, miracles done by Him, through believers. It is motivated by love and compassion for the sick and the lost. It helps unbelief. The gospel is preached in word and power, the demonstration of miracles.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    Do you hold to Covenant Theology of Dispensationalism?
     
  6. kyredneck

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    'Covenant Theology of Dispensationalism'; never heard of that one.
     
  7. Reformed

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    I strongly disagree. John 14 gives absolutely no indication that the sign gifts were the greater works. In fact, the direct reference to the Helper (the Holy Spirit) contradicts your assertion. John 15 is part of the same narrative as John 14. Jesus is telling the disciples that [the Father], "is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (Jn. 15:8). The greater works of John 14:12 are all about bearing fruit on a larger scale than was possible while Jesus was with His disciples. After the sign gifts waned (and I do believe they are not operational today), the Holy Spirit was still at work growing the kingdom of God. He is still at work today. These are the greater works.
     
  8. Reformed

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    I hold to Covenant Theology (which should not come as much of a shock). I do not hold to Presbyterian Covenant Theology since I do not believe in baptizing infants.
     
  9. plain_n_simple

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    No power. Just flesh
     
  10. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I'm guessing I know where you're trying to go with this RD2, but if I'm wrong, please forgive me. However, a few comments.

    The "greater works" cannot refer to signs and wonders that are greater in quality than those done by Jesus because no believer ever has or ever will do greater miracles than Jesus. He raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, restored hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, healed the lame, calmed a stormy sea, etc. No miracle-worker has even come close since the days of the apostles, and even the apostles did not do any signs and wonders that were greater.

    The Greek word for "greater" used here does not refer to a greater number of works. If John wanted to refer to a greater number of works, he probably
    would have used the Greek word polla meaning "more." A careful study of the word meziõn -- "greater" -- in John’s gospel shows that the word consistently refers to something that is greater in quality rather than something that is greater in number. For example, Jesus says to Pilate:
    John 19, NASB
    11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."
    In other words, Judas' sin is a more serious sin (not greater in number) than Pilate because he actually betrayed Jesus. The greater works do not mean believers will do more works than Jesus, but this does not negate the idea that they will do works qualitatively better than those Jesus did in His ministry.

    When John wants to speak of miracles, he consistently uses the word "sign." "Sign" is the unambiguous word John uses to describe miracles, and the word "works" is a more general term, which may include miracles, but does not necessarily focus on signs and wonders.

    All of this suggests that the first part of verse 12 where Jesus says, "the one who believes in me the works I do he shall do also" does not mean that believers will do miracles and signs and Wonders to the same extent as Jesus. The word "works” is a general term, and thus Jesus is simply saying that you will do works of the same quality as I did.. It should also be noted that Jesus' miraculous works were unique in the sense that such "signs" manifested His unique glory from the Father (John 2:11), and John tells us that the signs Jesus did were performed so that "you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and in order that by believing you might have life in his name" (John 20:30-31). Thus, Jesus' miracles were in one sense a unique manifestation of His glory and divinity. This is not to deny that miracles can be done today. The point is that Jesus’ miracles were unique, and no one in church history or in the Bible has ever matched Jesus in miraculous activity.

    The greater works, then, refer to the extended work of the Spirit, which occurred when Jesus ascended to the Father. This is not to deny that the Spirit was active previously in significant ways. But the work of the Spirit on earth was intensified with Jesus' ascension. Note that Jesus specifically says that "the greater works" will occur "because I go to the Father." Going to the Father, then, provides the reason or ground for the greater works. But why does Jesus' going to the Father make possible greater works?

    The rest of John's gospel answers that question.
    John 16
    7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the 1Helper will not come to you; but if I go, 2I will send Him to you."
    8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
    9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
    10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
    11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."
    That fits beautifully with John 14:12. Jesus says that it will be better if He goes because only when He goes will the Spirit be sent. Verses 8-11 make it clear that the Spirit when He comes will convict unbelievers of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Such conviction of sinners is clearly another way of describing the "greater works” which will occur after Jesus goes. Greater than any healing is the inclusion of one's name in the book of life. Jesus reminds His disciples of this when they are so excited about casting out demons in Luke 10:20.

    These "greater works" are done by believers after Jesus' earthly ministry in no way diminishes the ministry of Jesus, nor does it suggest our ministry is somehow better than His, nor does it teach we have been granted any kind of personal power to do those miracles He did ourselves. The greater works refers to the work of the Spirit through believers in convicting unbelievers of their sin, and mediating forgiveness of sins in the name of the risen Lord. But such work is not our work. It is the work of the risen Lord in us and through us.
     
  11. Rippon

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    You meant to say or not of, correct?
     
  12. Van

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    Not sure I agree, or disagree, TND, but I want to say thank you for presenting actual bible study as the basis of our understanding of scripture.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    Yes................
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    I figured as much, isn't your view of when the church began in conflict with that?
     
  15. Van

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    12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (NASB)

    12 I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father. (NET)

    12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (NIV)

    Greater can refer to greater in quality or greater is quantity or size or weight or number.

    The ongoing ministry that helps in having a lost person's name being written in the Lamb's book of life should be considered in the aggregate as "greater" than those who came to faith by the direct witness of Christ.
     
  16. Reformed

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    While I believe God has always had one called out people, there exists two distinct administrations. This should not be confused with dispensationalism. In Covenant Theology this is referred to as the Old Testament Church and New Testament Church. The distinction recognizes the Church before the advent of Christ and the Church after Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit. However the term "Church" is commonly used to describe the New Testament Church.
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Good post.

    The OP may be looking to miracles of healing, etc. However, a miracle of healing is only physical. When God uses His servants to save souls, that is a much higher work, a "greater work" if you will, because the spiritual fruit is much more important than the physical. A soul saved from Hell is a much greater work than someone's body being healed. The greatest miracle is the eternal salvation of a soul.
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    WRONG!
    i
    The correct understanding is that we can and will go a greater number of "miracles" then Jesus was able to do back then, as now His Body has spread throughout the entire earth, and we can preach/proclaim the greatest miracle of all to sinners, that jesus can and will save all who come unto Him!

    Its NOT referring to miracles as he was able to do as in walking on water, revving dead people, multiple loaves/fishes, as those were done by God incarnate...

    And those acts pf the Apostles were done thryu them by the Holy spirit Himself, so either you would have to claim to be God Incarnate, or else a modern Apostle to copy that!
     
  19. preacher4truth

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    I believe the greater works to mean this, that as Jesus raised the dead, gave the blind sight, gave the lame ability to walk, all of these being figurative of Sovereignly granting spiritual life and conversion, that His Apostles, through preaching the Gospel would show even greater numbers of those being converted in the literal and spiritual sense He intended to demonstrate through His earthly ministry. It has nothing to do with signs and wonders, raising the dead literally, 'healings', casting out devils (note Matthew 7:23), tongues or anything along those lines.
     
  20. Iconoclast

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    exactly.....the gospel spread worldwide...:thumbsup::applause:
     

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