What was Jesus meant when he said that " I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these"
According to the Navarre Bible:
‘Before leaving this world, the Lord promises his Apostles to make them sharers in his power so that God’s salvation may be manifest through them. These “works” are the miracles they will work in the name of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 3:1-10; 5:15-15, etc.), and especially the conversion of people to the Christian faith and their sanctification by preaching and the ministry of the sacraments. They can be considered greater works than Jesus’ own insofar as, by the Apostles’ ministry, the Gospel was not only preached in Palestine but was spread to the ends of the earth; but this extraordinary power of apostolic preaching proceeds from Christ, who has ascended to the Father: after undergoing the humiliation of the cross Jesus has been glorified and from heaven he manifests his power by acting through the Apostles.’
I see that we are doing “greater works” also, in the sense that Jesus worked very hard to establish a platform from which we can do the “hands-on” work of the Church throughout the generations.
Jesus said, essentially, that He was doing miracles not so much that they needed to be done, but to show everyone His power. If He hadn’t done that, there would be no story worth telling throughout all of future history. He’d have been a Great Guy, and then soon to be forgotten or at least not documented the way He is.
The real miracles are what we do, having been converted in mind and heart, and reborn of the spirit, in His name. It’s like He set up the infrastructure, and it’s up to us to build and populate the city.
Also I think the miracles Jesus really is interested in, are the ones of the heart. Which is more important? Moving a mountain – or moving the heart of the guy with enough money to pay for that mountain to be moved? Besides, moving mountains had already been done – gosh, mountains were actually fabricated thousand of years before in the form of pyramids. Which would be the greater miracle? Pharaoh directing thousands of workers to build one the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – or one sinner repenting? Or one act of mercy? I seriously cannot answer these things from God’s point of view, but I have my suspicions.
We tend to see the “greatness” of the miracles by how much time and energy it would take to make something happen in the physical world. Matters of the heart are so disguised in so many ways, we don’t have any way of really quantifying them. I just have to learn to feel grateful when it does happen. So yes we can say that building a great church or a soup kitchen or whatever are miracles, but if they don’t transform the heart, then they are just empty. And that may have been what our Lord meant IMO.
Another thing I see is that we can type something on a keyboard and it will show up all over the planet to as many as tens, hundreds, or millions, almost instantly. Can you just see if Jesus could have online, interactive sermons?
Our tools would have been “magic” to St. Paul, but can you imagine if he had that? He could write letters to all of the churches, and see their replies same-day?
Oh, yeah. We have the power, and through Jesus we have the love and mercy, and through the Holy Spirit we have the guidance. So what are we waiting for? Oh yeah we’re not – we’re doing it now!
Let us enjoy our work to preach the gospels to all the nations! Sometimes I just sit in awe when I think of it. I’m thinking, “what if I told St. Paul that I’ve already delivered a message and gotten the reply, before he even starts out toward the city?”
So yeah, we have the tools to do things Jesus could never have conveyed. “Preach the gospel to all nations” is now something that happens every millisecond of every day, by some Christian or another; sometimes it we!