Question: What is your opinion of how to interpret and act upon Jesus’s assertion in John 14:12? |

TBC Staff

Question: I believe in divine healing but am extremely cautious of word-faith and other movements and their claims of divine power. What is your opinion of how to interpret and act upon Jesus’s assertion in John:14:12?

Response: John:14:12 reads, “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.”

In context, Jesus was saying that He would be physically leaving the earth. The “works” He was performing personally in His physical body on the earth would “cease” with His ascension into heaven. Nevertheless, His followers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, would remain on the earth and in great numbers.

It’s not a case of the works being performed by those “who believeth on me” being greater or “superior” to the works of Christ. Rather, the Lord would use believers to accomplish the greater (i.e., more numerous) works on the earth. The Book of Acts documents the miracles the Lord performed through His disciples in those early years. We see them performing miracles that Jesus had previously done. None of them were “greater” (i.e., more spectacular or more astounding) than those of Jesus. His miracles had previously been observed by the Old Testament prophets: healing the sick (Genesis:20:17, etc.), raising the dead (1 Kings:17:17-24), defying natural laws, e.g., walking on water (Job:9:8), making an axe head float (2 Kings:6:5-6), et al.

The Word Faith/New Apostolic Reformation/Latter Rain movements promise “miracles” the world hasn’t yet seen. In their efforts to “produce the goods,” they err and actually open the way for fraud, deception, and fakery.

Regarding how we act upon what Jesus himself spoke of in John:14:12, these works are performed at the time and place of the Lord’s direction. The gifts of the Spirit are not given for self-aggrandizement but rather at the prompting of the Lord, in His timing. In short, all believers must respond to the Lord’s leading. 

Finally, the primary purpose of the gifts is for the edification of believers and the building of the Kingdom of God (See 1 Corinthians:14:3 and 12; and 1 Corinthians:14:26).