John 14:12 MEANING

John 14:12
(12) Verily, verily, I say unto you.--Comp. Note on John 1:51.

He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.--He that by faith becomes one with the Son shall have the Son, and therefore also the Father, dwelling in him (John 14:11; John 14:20; John 14:23), and shall himself become an instrument through which God, who dwelleth in him, shall carry into effect His own works. He shall, therefore, do works of the same kind as those which the Son Himself doeth.

And greater works than these shall he do.--Comp. Notes on John 5:20, and on Matthew 21:21-22. The explanation of these greater works is not to be sought in the individual instances of miraculous power exercised by the apostles, but in the whole work of the Church. The Day of Pentecost witnessed the first fulfilment of this prophecy; but it has been fulfilled also in every great moral and spiritual victory. Every revival of a truly religious spirit has been an instance of it; every mission-field has been a witness to it. In every child of man brought to see the Father, and know the Father's love as revealed in Jesus Christ, has been a work such as He did. In the world-wide extent of Christianity there is a work greater even than any which He Himself did in the flesh. He left His kingdom as one of the smallest of the influences on the earth; but it has grown up as a mighty power over all the kingdoms of the world, and all that is purest and best in civilisation and culture has found shelter in its branches.

Because I go unto my Father.--The better reading is, because I go unto the Father. The words are to be connected not with one clause only, but with all the earlier parts of the verse. They are the reason why the believer shall do the works that Christ does, as well as the reason why he shall do greater works. The earthly work of Christ will have ceased, and He will have gone to the Father. The believers will be then His representatives on earth, as He will be their representative in heaven. Therefore will they do His works, and the works shall be greater because He will be at the Father's right hand, and will do whatsoever they shall ask in His name.

Verses 12-15. -

(b) The greater works, and their conditions and issues, He offers a fresh ground of consolation, based on the double consideration, first of his departure from them and abiding presence with them, and then on the reflex effect on their own faith and on the world of their consciousness of union with him. He throws the arms of his love round about, not only the eleven disciples, but all believers on him, and in a sense draws them up into his own Divinity. With these words must be compared the closely parallel words addressed to them (as preserved by Matthew 21:22, 23) a few days before. This was a saying at once explaining the reference to the "greater works" and also to the power of prayer (see Hengstenberg's masterly treatment of this passage). Verse 12. - Verily, verily - with a fresh emphasis he turns now, not from Philip to the eleven, but from the eleven to all who will believe on him through their word - I say unto you, He that believeth on me - observe here a nominative absolute, which gives great emphasis to the universality of the reference; the form is slightly varied, εἰς ἐμέ, in place of μοι, Ver. 11, - believeth, trusteth on me, confides in me, by reason of believing me - he also shall do the works that I do (see for similar emphasis procured by the word κὰκεῖνος, John 6:57; John 9:37; John 12:48). The disciples might naturally have reasoned on this wise: "Our Master is the incarnate Word, the very Hand and Grace of the Father; but he is going to the invisible Father, and wilt be lost in light. His series of proofs will be at an end; we shall only have the memory of them. The glory of God is great, but, like a gorgeous sunset, its flames will die away into the night." To rectify such fear for all the ages of the Church, he adds, "The very works of healing and helping men, even of raising the dead, and preaching glad tidings to the poor and needy, - these will be proofs of the union of the believer in all time with me and with my Father." In the case of such believer, as well as in my case, the works may increase the faith of others. They are not indispensable, but comforting and reassuring, and they show that every believer is near to the heart of the Father and wields the power of God. But the full force of this somewhat perplexing sentence is heightened and to some extent explained by the addition: And greater works than these he shall do; because I am going to the Father. Greater works than any wrought by the Lord in the days of his humiliation are predicted of Messiah. He is to be the "Light of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6; cf. Psalm 72:8, 11; Psalm 110.). He is to rule the world, to cover the earth with the glory of God. How he was to do this was hidden from the disciples, but it would soon appear that they were the instruments, in his loving hands, for world-victories. Nay, more than that, Jesus (John 4:36-38) had told these disciples that they might reap what he had sown. These rather than other and more surprising prodigies of supernatural energy (as even Bengel supposed was his meaning, pointing, to the healing energy of Peter's shadow, etc.) were the greater works to which he probably (John 5:20) referred, though he gives a reason which would check all presumption: Because of going to the Father. The contrast, then, is between the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, between works wrought in his flesh and those that would be done by him when at the right hand of power. Without him, separated from him, independently of his continued and augmented energy working through them, they would do nothing (John 15:5; comp. here Matthew 21:21, 22). In the last passage, in answer to believing prayer, the disciples were told that they would do greater things than wither up the fig tree, or remove the mountain into the sea. Probably (see Hengstenberg) these terms, "fig tree," "mountain," "sea," were used in their prophetic-symbolic sense, and were not hyperbolic promises, but definite prophecies of the overthrow of the Jewish state, and the fall of the Roman power under the word of those who believed on him. These vast privileges and functions are here attributed to "believers," not merely to the apostles, or princes in his kingdom. This extraordinary pro-raise is no disparagement of his supreme authority, but will be proof that he sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

14:12-17 Whatever we ask in Christ's name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ's name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer for ever.Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me,.... Having mentioned his miracles as proofs of his deity, he assures his disciples, in order to comfort them under the loss of his bodily presence, that they should do the same, and greater works; for we are not to understand these words of everyone that believes in Christ, of every private believer in him, but only of the apostles, and each of them, that were true believers in him: to whom he says,

the works that I do shall he do also; he shall raise the dead, heal all manner of diseases, and cast out devils; things which Christ gave his apostles power to do, when he first gave them a commission to preach the Gospel, and when he renewed and enlarged it: and which they did perform, not in their own name, and by their own power, but in the name, and by the power of Christ:

and greater works than these shall he do; meaning, not greater in nature and kind, but more in number; for the apostles, in a long series of time, and course of years, went about preaching the Gospel, not in Judea only, but in all the world; "God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost", Hebrews 2:4, wherever they went: though perhaps by these greater works may be meant the many instances of conversion, which the apostles were instrumental in, and which were more in number than those which were under our Lord's personal ministry: besides, the conversion of a sinner is a greater work than any of the miracles of raising the dead, &c. for this includes in it all miracles: here we may see a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, quickened; one born blind made to see; one who was deaf to the threatenings of the law, and to the charming voice of the Gospel, made to hear, so as to live; and one that had the spreading leprosy of sin all over him, cleansed from it by the blood of the Lamb yea, though a miracle in nature is an instance and proof of divine power, yet the conversion of a sinner, which is a miracle in grace, is not only an instance of the power of God, and of the greatness of it, but of the exceeding greatness of it: and the rather one may be induced to give in to this sense of the passage, since it is added, as a reason,

because I go to my Father; and upon my ascension the Spirit will be given, to you, which shall not only enable you to perform miracles, as proofs of your apostleship, and the doctrine you preach, but which shall powerfully attend the Gospel to the conversion of multitudes of souls.

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