18.5 John – Greater Works: Exponential

It is hard to fathom doing greater works than the Son of God. What is it that Jesus is saying in John 14:12-14 when He says, “they will do even greater things than these”?

There are two good references to answer this question. First, is the word itself. In Greek, the word used is Megas. It is important to note it is not Kalos. Megas is more or bigger. Kalos is better. When Jesus says we will do greater work, He isn’t saying our work will be better than His, but it will be megas, bigger, more.

The second is to look at where else in the bible this specific term is used. In this case, that is easy because it is used only in one other place, in John 5.:20. This was the story of the invalid that Jesus healed on the Sabbath and all the religious leaders could see was the sin of the man carrying his mat on the Sabbath, not that he had been healed. Jesus responds to their rebuke with, “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” It is interesting to note that the one doing the work is the Father and the one who gets to see it being done, first hand, is the Son.

As Jesus continues in John 14, “because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” He shows that the greater works are not because we have some special skill, but because He, Jesus, is going to the Father. Just as the Father did greater works that Jesus observed first hand, Jesus will do greater works that we will observe first hand. We are the many, the mirrors, the megas that reflect the light of His greater works so the whole world may be amazed.

My Answers:

11

Don’t you know me? How can you say…?

 

12.

1. The words he has said, 2. the evidence of the works. “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

 

13.

Whoever believes in me will do the works I’ve been doing and even greater works. This is because they/we have the full power of Jesus at the right hand of the Father, plus the indwelling of the Holy Spirit whom He has sent.

 

18.4 John – Walking in the footsteps

We are called to be followers of Jesus Christ. But I often find myself exactly in the same place as Thomas. I want to know where we are going!

If you think about it, it is a silly request. What am I going to do, figure out a better path to get there than the one Jesus is leading me on? Is it going to get me there better? Faster? Does Jesus need me to navigate for him?

It must be the equivalent to Jesus of someone constantly asking “are we there, yet?”

The analogy I heard the other day that puts this in perspective was a soldier discussing what it was like to walk through a field of landmines. The best approach, he said, is to step directly in the footsteps of the one who knows the true and safe path. Your focus is on the next step, the picking up and putting down, the light on the pathway. You are not concerned with or thinking about “I don’t know the path.” You are following. Your feet go in the footsteps of the one who went before you.

Sometimes we forget that this life is full of landmines and we have the one who knows the only path. He has cleared the path through His sacrifice, even laying down His life. We don’t need to know what God has in mind for us for the future, we just need to know where to put our foot so it lands where Jesus leads.

My Answers:

8.

He is the living God, the son of God, who is not simply part of history, but alive today and coming to earth again to retrieve all who believe in Him and accept His gift of salvation and eternal life in heaven.

 

9.

He saw Jesus as a separate entity from God, missing the connectivity of the Trinity. He saw Jesus as higher than man, but not equivalent to the Father.

I am blinded by my own self-reliance and plans to pray for direction and wait and listen before moving on.

 

10.

The word the means exclusivity – there is no other way to God. It is impossible to be a child of God and reject Jesus, the only son of the Father. Any other path is a false path, a path that leads not to life but to death. There are not many paths to Heaven, only one.

 

18.3 John – When

I’m sure the revelation to Peter that his conviction to Jesus was not nearly as strong as he boasted was hard. Ok, let’s face it, if it was us, we would have been swimming in an emotional stew. There is so much going on in this upper room. Jesus has been talking about death and going away and that the time is now. Peter, strong in conviction and strong in might, boldly asks the question, “Why can’t I follow you?” All he wants to do is be a follower of Jesus. All he has done for 3 years is follow and learn. He has repeatedly recognized by the power of the Holy Spirit who Jesus really is. He isn’t confused in the way of some of the others; He knows that Jesus is the Messiah that Son of the Living God. And, in his mind and every intention of his being he would be willing to lay down his life for Jesus.

But, then there is fear. Over and over again in the scriptures we are told to not be afraid. Fear is the blade that Satan attempts to use to cut our connectivity to God. It is not rational thought. It is not logic. It is not evidence or references. It is fear. When we are in the grasp of fear we grasp for things to hold onto. We run away. We lie. We do things we would normally not ever intend to do.

But that is where the next verse in John comes in. John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God believe also in me.” The alternative to fear is faith. It isn’t fleeing. It isn’t faltering. It isn’t fighting (self-reliance). These sentences provide the two doors that we can pass through. We can let our hearts be troubled OR we can believe in God and believe in Jesus. Jesus calls us to take door #2.

But, what if you’ve already taken door number one? What if fear pulls you into sin? The wonderful word that Peter heard and that we are told as well, as believers, is the word: WHEN.

In Luke 22:31, the last sentence is the most important for Peter and for us. And WHEN you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. It is not IF you turn back. It is WHEN. It is always WHEN. Satan does not have the power to snatch us from the hand of our Lord. He is given the power, by God, to put us through trials. To exercise our faith. To give us all kinds of fears in our lives. But, WHEN we turn back, we have more than we have before. Through those experiences that we call fear and failure, our faith is strengthened. We have more to give to others. We are more connected with each other and with God.

We can always come back and go through Door #2!

My Answers:

6.

Instead of being willing to lay down his life, Peter would deny that he knows Jesus 3 times that night (But Jesus has prayed for him and knows that he will turn back and strengthen himself and his brothers from the experience).

 

7.

It is never up to me or my strength if I am in the will of God, Ps 118:6-7, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.”

 

18.2 John – In Love

There is a difference between Love and being In Love. It is like the difference between there being a house and being in the house, or there being a group and being in the group, a family and being in the family. It is the difference between something that is “out there” and something that you are in, connected to and with, a part of.

Too often we talk about love as an “out there” thing. Share the love. All you need is love. Love makes the world go around.

But this isn’t what Jesus discusses or what He modeled. The model He provides is His and the Father’s love. We see it throughout our verses for today.

The son of man is glorified and God is glorified IN him.

If God is glorified IN him, God will glorify the Son IN himself

This is connectivity at its pentacle. The love of the Trinity within itself of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to connected that it is impossible to distinguish where one love begins and another connects.

This is the love Jesus called His disciples to have. An “In” kind of love. He didn’t command them to love. He commanded them to “love one another”. To be connected, joined, be part of the “in” of what made them something bigger.

This is how Jesus loved them. It wasn’t just the washing of feet, the patience, or even the willingness to die for them. These were all just external manifestations of what He was really calling them to do, which is to connect “In Love.”

This is hard. This level of connection means the facades we put up around our messed up lives come down. We open up. We spend time together in thick and thin. We keep promises. We do not look only for win-win solutions, sometimes we look for win-lose solutions, were we lose to help the other person win.

But this is the difference between the way Jesus loves us by being IN us and the love we too often pass off as “doing our Christian duty.” It is being in a community, a family, a church (in the realest sense of that word) with other believers.

And, isn’t it what we long for in the deepest parts of our soul? God built us to be IN love, IN His Love, IN the Love of His Church which is the Bride of His Son, to have the Holy Spirit dwell IN us as the glue that connects us to the Father and Son and them with us and with each other.

My Answers:

3.

Glorified in this sense is a transformation from the blank slate of being a sinless man to taking on the sin of the world and bearing it on the cross, carrying it into death and, in so doing, paying the price in full for sin, rising again to human life and ascending to sit at the right hand of God. This is permanent and eternal and divine, connect the physical and spiritual worlds. In contrast man’s glory and fame are momentary recognitions of temporary accomplishments to the acclaim of other men.

 

4.
a.

Love one another as I have loved you. This is a higher than the do unto others command in that it is not just how I would like others to love me, but how did/does Jesus love me, and to bestow that love to others

b.

15. As the Father has loved Jesus and Jesus remains in the love of the Father, remain in Jesus’ love and obey and love each other. It is an interweaving, a connection or communion. As Timothy Keller says, a divine dance

2. There is no room for hatred in the brotherly and sisterly love that Christ provides. Someone who continues to hate is in darkness

3. Love with actions, be willing to lay down life (and possessions) for brothers and sisters in need. Have pity/compassion.

5.

To help me love others deeper and with more compassion, especially those brothers and sisters in need of my time and attention and compassion. Help me to be a joyful giver and not to become judgmental and/or frustrated.