In John 14:12, Jesus makes an amazing claim: “I tell you the truth, anyone, who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” How? Jesus says it will be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. In John 14-15; Jesus speaks often of “another Counselor,” the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17), which we know the disciples received at Pentecost (Acts 2:4). The Holy Spirit is the mechanism through which Jesus said His believers “will do even greater works.”
And how exactly does the Holy Spirit operate? Jesus continues: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14). This is a fantastic claim, one that ought to inspire and terrify. We Christians can enjoy the power of Christ’s goodness on earth. Yet Jesus is not saying that our works will be greater than His in terms of power or majesty. After all, by definition, humans cannot surpass God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
Rather, most scholars agree that Jesus means we will do greater works because there are many of us. Therefore, Jesus is acknowledging the collective power His followers can display in God’s Kingdom on earth. Jesus preached and healed and raised the dead in Judea only. Now, millions of disciples exist worldwide, and through their belief in Christ and the agency of the Holy Spirit, many more miracles occur today than did in Jesus’ time.
After His resurrection, Jesus tells His apostles to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey His commands (Matthew 28:19-20). He commissions them to go out because “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18), and He passes on that power and authority to His disciples through the Holy Spirit.
The Book of Acts provides early validation of the miraculous power Jesus promises (Acts 5:1-10, 15; 13:11; 19:12). Acts 17:6 describes those who proclaimed Christ as ones “who have turned the world upside down.” This turning of the world upside down is surely part of what Jesus was referring to when He promised that we would do “greater works” than He did. Many miracles were performed by His apostles and disciples, and many more would be, and are being, performed as the gospel of Jesus Christ spreads throughout the world. And the most wonderful miracle of all is that souls are being born again through the power of the Spirit.