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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 12

Verse 12. He that believeth on me. This promise had doubtless peculiar reference to the apostles themselves. They were full of grief at his departure, and Jesus, in order to console them directed them to the great honour which was to be conferred on them, and to the assurance that God would not leave them, but would attend them in their ministry with the demonstrations of his mighty power. It cannot be understood of all his followers, for the circumstances of the promise do not require us to understand it thus, and it has not been a matter of fact that all Christians have possessed power to do greater works than the Lord Jesus. It is a general promise that greater works than he performed should be done by his followers, without specifying that all his followers would be instrumental in doing them.

The works that I do. The miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, &c. This was done by the apostles in many instances. See Ac 5:15; 19:12; 13:11; 5:1-10.


Greater works than these shall he do. Interpreters have been at a loss in what way to understand this. The most probable meaning of the passage is the following: The word "greater" cannot refer to the miracles themselves, for the works of the apostles did not exceed those of Jesus in power. No higher exertion of power was put forth, or could be, than raising the dead. But, though not greater in themselves considered, yet they were greater in their effects. They made a deeper impression on mankind. They were attended with more extensive results. They were the means of the conversion of more sinners. The works of Jesus were confined to Judea. They were seen by few. The works of the apostles were witnessed by many nations, and the effect of their miracles and preaching was that thousands from among the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the Christian faith. The word greater here is used, therefore, not to denote the absolute exertion of power, but the effect which the miracles would have on mankind. The word "works" here probably denotes not merely miracles, but all things that the apostles did that made an impression on mankind, including their travels, their labours, their doctrine, &c.

Because I go unto my Father. He would there intercede for them, and especially by his going to the Father the Holy Spirit would be sent down to attend them in their ministry, Joh 14:26,28; 16:7-14.

See Mt 28:18. By his going to the Father is particularly denoted his exaltation to heaven, and his being placed as head over all things to his church, Eph 1:20-23; Php 2:9-11. By his being exalted there the Holy Spirit was given (Joh 16:7), and by his power thus put forth the Gentiles were brought to hear and obey the gospel.

{l} "He that believeth on me" Mt 21:21

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