by Kevin Pauley
The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it. - John 14:12-14
Even greater works? How is that even possible? Jesus fed thousands on a few loaves and fish. He healed the lepers, the lame, the mute, and the deaf. He healed people who did believe and those who did not. He exorcised demons, he taught with power and eloquence. He opposed the hypocrisy of the people and taught a simple gospel that even children could understand. How could we surpass this?
Yet, Jesus didn’t just promise that our works would surpass His– He mandated it. We should seek to surpass our Master in the demonstration of compassion to a world in need. We must find a way to feed the millions who are starving. We should send our children to good schools and produce doctors who will minister to the sick and dying of the world. We should actively participate in the political process in order to bring about justice and freedom to the oppressed of the world.
Paul said in Colossians 1:24 “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am completing what remains of Christ’s sufferings for his body, the church.” What could remain to be completed in Christ’s sufferings? His death was complete and sufficient for our salvation. But the full suffering for the consequences of sin is not yet done. We are His body, each of us a different part, having a different role to play. Each of us should be willing to take on some of the suffering of the world as He did. This is what Paul meant in Romans 12 when he said “Give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” Paul then goes on to talk about the gifts or talents we receive and their use. He concludes, “When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow…Never pay back evil for evil to anyone…Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.”
We are to imitate Christ. He came and lived among us. He didn’t cloister Himself somewhere. He went out and lived among the scum of the earth…the prostitutes, the publicans, the sinners of the world. He provided for their physical needs. He showed His love in a concrete manner. And thirdly, He provided them with the forgiveness of God and sought to restore them to their rightful place of fellowship with the Father. Can we do any less?
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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