Read: John 14:7-15
Knowing Jesus is knowing God, because they are one and the same. For the disciples, they had a difficult time understanding this because Jesus was sitting there with them, and they saw the Father as a spiritual being whose existence transcended the world in which they existed. Jesus had just promised that he was going away to the Father to prepare a place for them, and Philip, the one Jesus tested when he fed 5000 (John 6:5-6), suggests that Jesus showing them the Father would be enough. Jesus then answers Philip, saying that he had he known Jesus, then he would also know the Father. Apparently, Philip hadn’t fully understood at this point. Jesus points Philip to the “works” that he was doing as a means to know that Jesus was one with the Father, and that the Father is working through him.
It’s not certain as to what “works” is referring to here. The word translated “work” and “works” is the Greek word “εργον” and is used exclusively in scripture to refer to deeds and works, but works can refer to miracles, acts of kindness, service, among other things. The deeds to which Jesus is appealing to are perhaps the entirety of his ministry from his words and deeds. Jesus follows this saying that they will do greater works then he does because he goes to be with the Father. One could mistakenly take this to mean that the disciples are greater than Jesus, but that’s not what Jesus is saying. Jesus says in John 6:29 that the work of God is to believe in Jesus and around work center his works. The works that they will be doing are greater than those of Jesus because Jesus will not be present because he is going to be with the Father. Jesus knew that they would go out from Jerusalem and declare to gospel to the ends of earth (Acts 1:8). The greatness of this work is greater in scope.
One of the most often misquoted passages in all of scriptures comes from John 14:12-13. Taken in isolation, it would seem that Jesus is offering the disciples a cosmic genie who will grant their every wish. What is certain is that the disciples early on were able to perform miracles. The purpose however was to authenticate their message and for the propagation of the gospel beyond Jerusalem to Samaria and Judea, to Antioch, then to the rest of the world. Knowing that the work of God is to believe in Jesus, this makes sense. Three observations in the text support this. First, Jesus says that he acts on the Father’s initiative because the Father is abiding in him. Christians have the same sort of relationship with the Father with the Holy Spirit abiding in them such that they should act on the Spirit’s initiative. Second, the purpose of asking for something from God is so that God would be glorified. Third, these verses are immediately followed by a statement concerning love and commandments. Those who love Jesus will obey his commandments, such that asking for something in Jesus’ should be in accordance with his commandments. The context indicates that asking for Jesus’ help should be done in the context of his abiding in one’s life, for his glory, and in accordance to his commands.
God’s commission to all who believe is to be involved in his work – that is to believe in Jesus. Even the purpose of John’s writing of his gospel so that some might believe (John 20:29-30). When Christians ask something from God, he or she should ask in accordance to what God would want so they can point others to Jesus. When the world asks about Jesus, Christians should be able to point to Jesus in their lives as Jesus should be making a difference in their lives. In other words, the deeds that people do should be a testimony to that brings glory to God. This way, many can know and believe that Jesus is God and that Jesus can save them from their sin!
Lord, let the works of my life and the things that I ask for bring glory to your name!