What are the greater works Jesus promised we would do?

The key is to see that these “works” were a signpost, along with Jesus’ words, that bore witness to the truth of Jesus – that he was indeed God’s promised King. The works we do, as Christians, are the good things that are part of the normal Christian life that bear witness to the truth of Jesus.

(PastorFish) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Notice that Jesus’ promise applies to all Christians.  Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me.”

This promise is not just for the apostles, or missionaries, or pastors.

Whatever Jesus was referring to is normal Christianity.

Obviously, this becomes ludicrous if we think, like some people do, that Jesus promised that Christians would do the same, and even greater, miracles than him.

  • Jesus turned water into wine (John 2).
  • Jesus knew the background of the Samarian woman (John 4).
  • Jesus healed the official’s son (John 4).
  • Jesus healed the man crippled for 38 years (John 5).
  • Jesus fed the crowd of more than 5000 with a boy’s lunch (John 5).
  • Jesus walked on water (John 6).
  • Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9).
  • Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days (John 11).

Do people really think Christians could do the same, and greater, miracles than the infinite Son of God?1

More significantly, Jesus’ (and the Apostles’) miracles were done precisely to demonstrate that they were unique.

Jesus’ miracles or “signs” demonstrated that he was and is God’s (unique) promised King who spoke and acted on God’s behalf. As John tells us in John 20:30-31,

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” [

The Apostles’ miracles demonstrated that they were Jesus’ commissioned spokesmen, who spoke with Christ’s authority, and laid the church’s (unique) foundation.  See 2 Corinthians 12:12,

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works”

and Ephesians 2:20, “…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone”. 

The focus in John 14:8-12 is on the purpose of the works, not the nature of the works.

Whatever the specific works were that Jesus had in mind for Christians, what defines them is that they are pointers to Jesus, to help people believe in him.  View article →