“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” –Jesus to Philip and the others, as quoted in John 14:12 (NLT)
Once in a while, I come across something I’ve read seven, seventeen or maybe seventy times and it will be like I never heard it before. It’s kind of like when I’d tell my kids to straighten their rooms. So it was at a recent service when the pastor referred us to the somewhat-more-famous John 14:6 (I am the Way, the Truth and the Life). As I occasionally do, I kept reading on, trying to get the context. And there was John 14:12 telling me that true believers will do the same works as Jesus. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind all day.
“Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done”. Was I doing the same works as Jesus? How many of us are? What works are being referred to? Jesus’ life, I believe, is the template of a good Christian being; but do we all do the same works? What works are we talking about? Jesus changed water to wine. He fed 5000 with a couple of fish and pieces of bread. He cured lepers and healed the crippled. He made blind people see and the mute speak. How the heck am I supposed to do all that? How did Jesus do it?
Mostly, He did it incidentally, i.e. as the opportunities presented themselves. He would stop what he was doing to address needs. He did not get up and say, “Hey! Let’s go find some sick people today and cure them!” It wasn't just part of His job. Before His ministry years, He decided to help keep the groom from being embarrassed by producing more wine at Cana. (Even back then it was bad form to run out of food or drink before a party was over!)
Later, he healed people, fed people, and gave assistance as the opportunities presented themselves. He never failed to do what he could in the moment. A blind man he passed on the road; a hillside full of hungry and tired people; a cripple lowered down from a ceiling in front of him; He helped them all because the opportunity presented itself. Can we do all that?
Sure we can! Well, maybe we can’t give the blind their sight back or feed 5,000 people without a little notice; but we can feed, heal, and help every day in our daily routines. When I see homeless on the streets; when I see children with clothes that don’t quite fit; when I read about a family in need or a charitable program struggling, I see opportunity to do the works of Jesus. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic act or lead to the cure for cancer. I put all my spare change into my car’s console where I can access it whenever I am out of the house. If all you have to give someone is 50 cents, that’s 50 cents more than a lot of others gave and the truly needy will appreciate it.
Now I understand that a lot of you reading this don’t live in areas where you see this type of need every day. That doesn’t mean it’s not out there or that these opportunities are not present in your life! Open your eyes and ears to the calls for help around you. A homeless shelter may be in financial trouble. A food pantry may be looking for more canned goods. Your church or school may hold a drive for coats or books. Or maybe, someone you'd never think needs help, does. Jesus helped powerful centurions, rich heirs, and the happy groom at Cana, too. (But just in case, put some spare change in your car or your coat pocket, too.)
John 14:12 ends with the justifier, “because I am going to be with the Father.” Jesus tells us in a roundabout way here that He will help us do his works. Jesus had already told us that when He returned to his father, He would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to earth to help us. When we are not sure what to do, or when we worry if we have the wherewithal to do it, the Holy Spirit is here to give us the faith and wisdom we need.
Jesus goes on to tell us in the next verse (John 14:13) that we can pray in His name for anything we need and he will make it happen. If we can’t help with the tangible things of this world, we can pray to Jesus and the Holy Spirit to lend a hand somehow. That’s quite a support team!
So maybe we can’t work miracles; but maybe we can! Even if we do not have a wealth of earthly resources, we need to do what we can. What else can we do for our brothers and sisters? Again “Do the same works I have done.” Jesus’ ministry wasn’t just miracles and magic. His greatest acts were those of simple words and deeds. He reached out to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the homeless. He spoke with the outcast. He forgave the condemned. He accepted us all with open arms and a warm smile. He spoke softly to us about our transgressions and weaknesses. He showed he cared. He gave us Hope.
He loves us all.
Love is the answer. Love makes us want to do more. Love breaks down barriers. Love gives us power and drive. Love is faith and charity and kindness and support. Jesus showed us this during His time as a man. It’s what He continues to show believers today. It’s a way of life. It’s a life of works- Jesus’ works- carried on by us who truly believe in Him, our Lord and Savior.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our American readers! Of course, as followers and believers of Jesus Christ, every day is a day of thanks, no matter where we are. Thanks to Jesus for everything we have. Praise
God for putting us in a position to share.