Greater Works of the Father
John chapter one, probably one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, you think? It’s pretty incredible, John chapter one is. John has the purpose in this book of explaining that Jesus is God. He just wants everybody to know that Jesus is God. What better way to start that process than just come right out and say it. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God,” right? Just come right out and state where you’re headed, John. And he does that and he does that in a great way. Then just in case we don’t quite catch who Jesus is and who he is explaining the word is, he goes on to verse 14 and says, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we behold his glory, the glory of his, the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth.”
That’s a pretty good description of Jesus, isn’t it? He starts right off and does a really good job for us of saying this is who I’m talking about. I don’t want you to be confused where we’re headed with this. This is who I’m talking about throughout this whole book. That’s my goal. Now, John the Apostle then goes immediately into introducing us to John the Baptist. John the Baptist, as Pastor Nathaniel pointed out a couple of weeks ago, John the Baptist is the last Old Testament prophet, the last old covenant prophet, and he preached the same thing that those prophets preached. You remember what he preached? He preached repent. Turn away from what you’re doing, turn away from whatever it is you’re doing and turn to God. John come along and he preached the same thing, only his repent this time is getting a little more serious because he says, “Listen, repent because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
It’s not just coming from a long time ago. It’s here. It’s here right now and John says, “As a matter of fact, I’m testifying to you right now that I’m that voice crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord. I’m that person that Isaiah was prophesying about. I’m here and I’m making that. I’m crying out in that voice,” John said. But here’s the unique thing about John. It’s not so much that he does such a good job of explaining who he is, but it’s what he says about our Lord when he sees him that’s so critical. John says this in chapter nine, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We just sung about that. That was pretty cool, huh? He says in John in verse 32, he says, “And I have seen the spirit descending like a dove out of Heaven, and he remained upon him.” And he said in verse 34 that, “I myself have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
See, there wasn’t any question in John’s mind who Jesus was either. So John the Apostle who’s writing this book, pretty straight forward. John the Baptist who also came along testifying of Christ, pretty straight forward who Jesus is, right? Now, in verse 35 John then goes on to and starts at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, Jesus’s public ministry here on earth. It’s kind of unique what he does because the first thing that happens is two of John the Baptist’s followers, two of his disciples go follow Jesus after they hear what John says about who Jesus is, right? So they go and follow Jesus and one of the first ones to follow him is Andrew. Andrew is Peter’s brother. What’s the first thing he does? He goes and he gets his brother and he says, “Listen, come and see. We have found the Messiah.
We found the Christ. We found him.” So he brings Peter to Jesus and then the next day it says that he was going along and he found Philip and he said to Philip, he said, “Follow me.” Phillip goes and gets his buddy Nathaniel. What’s kind of unique about this is he says to Nathaniel, he says, “We found him of whom Moses in the law and also in the prophets wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Now that’s a whole different title than these other guys are giving him, right? Nathaniel’s first response is, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Really? I love Philip. I like the way Phillip approached this because Phillip could have defended Nazareth. He could have defended Jesus. He could have defended anybody and instead he just said, “Come and see you. You come and see and see what you think of it.”
Now it’s kind of interesting to me. Nathaniel could have been being really negative about the area, the city of Nazareth. There are some accounts that talk about that Nazareth didn’t have a great reputation, but I think more importantly what Phillip is speaking is he’s speaking truth. Prophecy says that the Messiah is going to come from Bethlehem, not from Nazareth. So Nathaniel’s just really straight forward saying, “Listen, if you’re talking about the Messiah, how can you be talking about Nazareth also? Those two don’t go together. They don’t link up.” Now I want to spend a few minutes talking this morning about the next few verses because they’re kind of an interesting account to me as Jesus and Nathaniel now will have this little conversation. I’m going to see if I can make this work. Oh, it’s there. Cool. All right. I didn’t know if this was going to work this morning or not.
Anyway, so Jesus saw Nathaniel and he says, he sees him coming and he says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit.” Nathaniel says, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered. He said to him, Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree I saw you.” Nathaniel immediately says, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Kings.” Jesus answers and says to him, “Behold, behold.” He said, excuse me, “Because I said that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?” He says, “You will see greater things than these.” He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say unto you,” and I can’t see it from there. “Truly, truly I say to you, you will see the Heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
What a unique account that we see that Jesus and Nathaniel have. Jesus comes and Nathaniel comes to him and he says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit.” Now when Jesus says that Nathaniel is an Israelite indeed, what he’s saying is that Nathaniel isn’t just hanging onto the fact that he’s an Israelite by birth or an Israelite by lineage. He actually is living it. He actually lives by a moral and spiritual characteristic. It’s like what we would call today, we would say, he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. That’s what Nathaniel does and Jesus knew that and Nathaniel’s immediate response is, “How do you know me? How can you know me so well? That’s true about me. How do you know me so well?” And Jesus says, “I saw you before Philip came. He was under the fig tree.
I saw you.” It’s so unique to me. Nathaniel then immediately says, “Rabbi, teacher, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.” That’s a pretty bold statement for somebody that hasn’t exchanged any more than 30 words with our Lord, right? Less than actually. Hardly said anything to our Lord and immediately he makes that statement, “You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.” Jesus hadn’t even talked about who he was with Nathaniel, and yet Nathaniel knew that and he stayed at that. So Jesus challenges him and he says this. He says, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?” Now listen to this. He says, “You will see greater things than these.” He goes on to say, “You’ll see the Heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Now there’s an obvious reference here back to Genesis and Jacob’s ladder. You remember that account? We’ll see if this works.
It ain’t going to the next one. Shalom. Well then I’m … There we go. Thank you. Unless I did it, I have no idea. Anyway, in Genesis chapter 28, starting in verse 12. It says, “And he had a dream.” This is talking about Jacob. “And behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to the Heaven and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Elijah and the God of Isaac.'” He goes on to explain to Jacob that he’s promising that Jacob will inherit that land. He will be in that land that he’s there in right now. God promises, “I’m going to be with you always. I’m going to be with you until this takes place.
I’m going to be with you and make sure that everything happens.” So it’s interesting to me that Jesus then talks about this and there’s a real significance to Jesus bringing this up to Nathaniel because he’s going to kind of understand what’s going on here. Being an Israelite indeed, Nathaniel knows why Jesus would choose to use this experience to explain who he is because Jesus is helping Nathaniel to understand what’s going to happen in the future is everybody is going to come to understand that I’m that ladder. I am the one that bridges the gap between Heaven and earth and I am the one that’s going to make a way so that everybody can get to Heaven. When Nathaniel comes to understand that and when the whole world comes to understand that, that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, that’s the greater things than these.
That’s pretty great stuff and that’s the greater things that he’s talking about. Nathaniel would see greater things than Jesus just miraculously seeing him under a tree even though he had never met him. He is going to eventually see the greatest miracle of all, which is what Jesus has done for us and to make a way that we can spend forever and Heaven with him. That’s the great miracle. We’ll get back to that in a few minutes. Let’s move and oh, I was going to talk about some of the things that Nathaniel’s going to yet see that Jesus does as well. Jesus is just getting ready to start his earthly ministry and so there’s many things that Nathaniel’s going to experience, many other miracles that he’s going to see that go on. Jesus turned the water into wine in chapter two. He healed the royal official’s son in chapter four. He healed a man that had been lame for 38 years in chapter five.
He fed the 5,000 and walked on water in chapter six. He healed the man that was born blind in chapter nine. He raised Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11. All of these things go on and nothing. You’ve got to see those too. So those are some pretty great things that Nathaniel got to see as well as other disciples and the others that were with Jesus. Not to mention all of the ones that aren’t recorded in John. There’s a whole bunch of miracles that are recorded in the other accounts, the other gospels that aren’t recorded in John. So Nathaniel’s going to see all these great things, but there’s still the greatest one coming. So moving forward to chapter 13 now, and we see Jesus with his followers. They’re sharing the Lord’s supper and Jesus had just given that amazing example to the disciples of service to each other by washing their feet.
Then he identifies that Judas is the one that’s going to betray him and then he goes right into chapter 14 which and very appropriately, he’s going to use the next four chapters now, Jesus is, to be an encouragement to the disciples. These are kind of my last words to you guys. This is I’m getting ready to go to the cross. These are the things that I want to encourage you with. These are the things that I want to teach you before I go. So chapter 14 opens appropriately with a real comforting statement. He says, “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am there you may be also.” Then he says this. “And you know the way where I’m going.” It’s interesting to me that Thomas immediately says, I love Thomas.
Thomas immediately says this. He says, “Lord, we don’t even know where you’re going let alone the away.” That’s basically the way he said it. “We don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way?” Then obviously Jesus’s responses is to me, one of the greatest verses in the Bible. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” Jesus makes it real clear. It’s important where he’s going, but it’s really, really important to understand the way to get there, understand the way to be with him. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No man is going to get to God except through Jesus. He makes it so clear. That’s a wonderful verse and now he’s going to continue on in chapter 14 as he starts to explain that he is one with the Father. He says this in verses 11 and 12. He says, “Believe me, that I am in the father and the father is in me, otherwise believe because of the works themselves.”
He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you who believe in me and the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these he will do because I go to the Father.” Wow. We already had that. Jesus already told Nathaniel, you’re going to see greater works and now Jesus is telling everybody listening to him, including us, that you’re going to do greater works than these. The works that he’s referencing in verse 11 are very clearly the miracles that Jesus did, the things we’ve already talked about. So we’ve got all these miracles that Jesus did and he’s saying, “You’re going to do greater ones than these.” Wow.
“Believe me,” he said, “He who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these he will do.” Now, there’s no question that God used the signs and the miracles and Jesus’s ministry and in the ministry of the early church leaders as affirmation and a validation of their ministries. And even the apostles, when they started the early church, they were doing some of the same miracles that Jesus was doing. So he’s explaining that aspect as well, but think about this for a minute. What could be the greater works that he’s talking about? How could you and I do greater works than Jesus? How could the apostles do greater works than Jesus? I think to answer that we have to realize what the greatest miracle of Jesus was. The most amazing thing that Jesus did, and that was his death and resurrection. That’s the most amazing miracle that he did. He has all kinds of miracles that we could look at and there is a bunch of them and they were pretty incredible, but maybe.
There we go. But Jesus, the miracle that he performed in his death and his resurrection is the most incredible miracle out there. It’s the most incredible miracle in history when you really think about it. He says in John chapter 10, “For this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again and no one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative and I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father.”
See, here’s the amazing thing. Jesus laid down his life of his own initiative and because he laid down his life of his own initiative and he paid the full price for your sins and my sins, he forgave all of our sins completely, because he did that, and then because he also of his own power rose from the dead, victorious over death and is seated back at the right hand of God, because of all of that, that’s the greatest miracle in the history of the world. Pretty amazing. When Jesus was doing all of the signs and wonders that he was doing while he was doing his earthly ministry, when he was doing all of that, and the Bible says that people believed in him, they were believing in the fact that he was the Messiah, that he was the Christ. He was the one to come. They weren’t believing in him as far as a saving relationship with him because until he did that amazing miracle that he did, a saving relationship wasn’t available with Christ.
So Jesus, his death on the cross and his resurrection is what made a way available to Heaven for all of us, for anyone. That’s what made the way available. That’s what makes the miracle of salvation available is Jesus dying and raising again. That’s what makes a relationship with him available for all that would believe in him as the way, the truth and the life, the fact that he died and that he rose again. That’s so critical. That’s so important to catch. That’s what the greatest miracle in the world is. Now, here’s the unique thing to me. I’m going to look at this one more time.
Jesus says again in chapter 14 and verse 12 he says this, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these he will do.” Why? “Because I go to the Father.” See, he makes it so clear, the way that all of this is going to happen the way that all of this is going to take place. The one thing that makes greater available for us to even do is the fact that Jesus died, was resurrected and went back to Heaven, went back to his rightful place in Heaven, is back with the Father. That’s what makes it all available. That’s what makes Jesus the greatest miracle. That’s what makes that great miracle available to us.
Now, those who have believed in Jesus for salvation, you’ve experienced these greater works that he’s talked about, that he’s talking about. Anybody who was saved, anybody who has said that I placed my faith and belief in Jesus Christ. I trust in him to run my life now. I made a mess of it. You run it, Lord. Anybody that’s done that has experienced this greater works that Jesus is talking about. As a matter of fact, anybody that has done that, you’re a miracle. We’re a miracle, really a miracle, and then the miracle that Jesus would do to make salvation even available to us by dying on the cross and by raising again to life, when we believe in that miracle, we become a miracle. Every one of us, listen, and when we share that miracle with others we’re doing greater works.
That’s the greater works that Jesus is talking about. He’s going to make a way that we can spend forever with him and when we share about that way, when we talk to people about that way, we’re doing greater works. That’s pretty amazing. You want to understand how we can do greater works in the things that Jesus did and all of that kind of stuff is the fact that we have this eternal life to share with other people. We have Jesus Christ to share with other people. That’s greater works.
You know what? We each have an amazing story to tell. What Jesus did in our lives when he got ahold of our heart, I don’t know about you, but boy, I could tell you some stories. But what Jesus did to change me to get a hold of my heart, to cause me to want to believe in him by faith is a pretty amazing story. Most of us here have that same kind of story to tell. The way that Jesus has, what he’s done in our lives to change our thoughts and our attitudes about life in general, that’s some more stories. That’s some more things we can tell people about who he is and what he’s done for us. What we know he has planned for eternity, that’s more story. That’s more information that we can give to people about our Lord. When we share what Jesus has done in our lives with others, we tell them about our individual miracles and we tell them about the greater work of salvation that God has made available to each one of them through Jesus Christ, through the way, the truth and the life.
Greater things, greater works, that’s what we have to share. Nathaniel come to understand what these greater works were, what these greater things were as the Lord had told him. When he come to understand what they were, he knew what the salvation was, what was available to him. Every person here that’s ever come to understand that knows greater works. Listen, that’s my encouragement to you this morning, really, that we each have a story to tell. Some of them are more spectacular than others, but we each have a story to tell. We each have a miracle to share. You all have a miracle. God’s done a miracle in your life and when he saved you and man, it’s worth sharing. It’s worth going out and telling people what God has done in your life, how he changed you, how the things that are different for you now than they were before you got saved, before he changed your heart, before he changed your life is a miracle.
You all have a miracle to share. We’ve seen the greater works of salvation in our lives. We’ve seen the greater works that are available to each one, to each person, anybody that desires to receive them. We’ve seen those greater works and we have them to share. When we share them, when we share our story with others, we share the greater work Jesus is offering to them. Jesus wants them to understand it too. He wants him to receive their greater work. We can help them see the miracle that’s awaiting all people through Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life. We can help everyone see it.
That’s what telling people about the miracle in our lives is all about everybody here that’s placed their faith in Jesus Christ has something incredible to share. It’s my prayer that you have a desire to share it. God’s done it in your life not just so that we could all go sit in a corner and revel in the fact that, hey, hey, I’m saved, you know? I got a place in Heaven. I got eternity. Woo hoo! God’s done it. So we’ve got something to tell other people. I don’t know even what kind of situations everybody comes in. If you’re in the workplace, you’ve got a story to tell people.
If you’re in the grocery store, you’ve got a story to tell people. It doesn’t matter where. It doesn’t matter the place God gives you the opportunity to do it. The key thing is you’re a miracle and God’s given you a story to share because of that miracle. The encouragement is, is let’s go out and share. Now listen, if there’s anybody here that says I don’t know if I’m a miracle. I don’t know if I understand all of this stuff and I don’t know if I’m a miracle. Well, it’s really not that hard. John already explained it to us. “In the beginning was the word and word with God, and the word was God.”
Jesus is God. Jesus came and died on the cross, paid the price for your sins, forgave your sins and rose again and is seated at the right hand of Heaven. All you got to do is say, “Lord, I believe that. I believe who you are. I believe what you did and I’m just placing my faith and my belief in you.” That’s what you got to do to be a miracle. I know it don’t seem miraculous, but the fact that it’s even available so you can do it is. That’s a miracle. Go out and be a miracle. Go out and share your story. Go out and tell people about the one who is the way, the truth, and the life.