Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 31 — Prayer and Greater Works Than Jesus Did
John 14:12,13, "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. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
I have often used the first part of John 14:12; that is, "the works that I do shall ye do also." I have often tried to avoid the last part. I find it easy to shrink from it. I find myself not wanting to use such a term as doing "greater works" than Jesus did.
I remember when I first pastored a church that was larger than my home church in Dallas, Texas, I felt a twinge of guilt and even sadness and perhaps loneliness as I realized that I was pastoring a church larger than the church in which I grew up. Multiply that by ten million and you will see my feelings concerning the statement, "greater works than these shall ye do." I find myself not wanting to do greater works than Jesus, but it is in the Bible, and I must face it. I must confess that I never understood that verse completely until recently when I was on an airplane. I had no commentary; I had no books with me except the Bible/ I was reading this passage. Suddenly it hit me! I shouted, "I know what that means! Praise the Lord!"
The fellow beside me said, "What did you say?"
I said, "Praise the Lord! Glory to God! I think I just found the meaning of John 14:12."
With a puzzled look on his face he scratched his head and went back to his reading.
Now let us examine the petals of this lovely orchid.
1. Jesus said that the Christian could do the works that He did. What works did He do. Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." I Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." It is easy to see that Jesus sought the lost and came to save sinners. These are His works. The Bible says that we are to do those same works.
2. Who can do the works that Jesus did? Notice in John 14:12 the words, "He that believeth on Me." This means the 60-year old that believeth on Him and the 6-year-old that believeth on Him. This means the adult that believeth on Him and the teenager that believeth on Him. This means the learned that believeth on Him and the unlearned that believeth on Him. This means the one who has been to Bible college who believeth on Him and the one who has never been to Bible college that believeth on Him. Every single believer is supposed to do the work that Jesus did, and we must be reminded that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That means that every Christian is to be a soul winner. Each Christian can be a soul winner and should be a soul winner, and if he is right with God, he is a soul winner. Soul winning is not a command given to the preacher behind the pulpit, but it is given to the layman in the pew, and to the Christian who is not in the pew but should be.
3. Notice a second promise: "Greater works than these." Also notice why we can do "greater works than these." The answer is simple—"because I go unto My Father." It took me years to see this, and then one day, as I mentioned, on the airplane it dawned on me. Here are two promises and two conditions. The first promise is, "The works that I do shall ye do also." This is for those who believe on Jesus. This is for every Christian. However, there is something else available. "Greater works than these." We do the works that Jesus did because we believe on Him, but we can do greater works because He went to His Father.
He went away so the Comforter could come, and through the power of the Comforter, that is, the Holy Spirit, we may do greater works than these. Notice the first promise is, "the works that I do shall ye do." This is for all believers. The second promise is, "greater works than these shall ye do." This is for those who have the power of the Holy Spirit upon their lives, or shall we say, those who are Spirit-filled. Praise the Lord! Glory to God! Hallelujah! Bless His holy name! As a believer in Christ I can do the works that He did, but because He went to the Father and sent His holy Spirit, now in the energy of the Spirit-filled life I can do greater works than these.
4. Prayer is also a part of that greater works than these. John 14:13, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Notice the word "and." This connects it with the previous promise. It is talking about prayer. God is saying that if we live the Spirit-filled life and the prayer life, our works can be multiplied into the area of "great works."
In conclusion, there are three conditions to these greater works: (1) work, (2) Spirit-fulness, and (3) prayer. 'Tis sad but true, some do only one of the three. Some work, but they do it in their own energy and do not live the prayer life. Some seek the fulness of the Holy Spirit but do not work and do not pray. Some believe they have been given the ministry of prayer only, but they know nothing about the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, nor do the work.
Then there are some who do two of the three. They might seek the power of the Holy Spirit and pray but refuse to work. They might pray and work but not receive the power of the Holy Spirit. All three are necessary for a person to do greater works than these. Ah, what blessedness is found in these truths simply because I believe and I can do the same works that Jesus did! Did not the woman at the well upon her faith in Christ flee to the city to tell others about the Saviour? She was doing the same work that Jesus had just done with her, but there is more. There is the promise of greater works, and this promise hinges on three conditions—work, Spirit-fulness and prayer. My soul, my soul, my soul, what keeps us from shouting! What keeps us from running to the field to work, running to the closet to pray and falling on our faces to plead for and claim the fulness of the Holy Spirit!
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