Pause for thought
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Some of the things Jesus told his disciples and are recorded in the Gospels are downright scary!

Check out this exchange prompted by a question from Philip:

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

“I tell you the truth, 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 so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:9-14 NLT

“Greater works?”, “anything?”, what is Jesus talking about?

I think we forget just how much Jesus limited himself by taking on human form.

For example, when asked about the timing of the fulfillment of the establishment of his kingdom on this earth Jesus told the disciples, “… no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” Matthew 24:36 NLT

Part of the omniscient God just confessed to ignorance!

Jesus limited himself in time and space just as we are. Before his resurrection and ascension, he could only physically be in one place at a time, afterward, that restriction appears to have been lifted given his miraculous appearances and disappearances.

In his earthly ministry, he faced mainly religious opposition. He did not involve himself in the politics of the time between the Judean, Samarian, Herodian or Roman factions all vying for power and influence. He avoided all that and instead proclaimed a spiritual kingdom of repentance, grace, mercy, and inclusion, regardless of race, ethnic origin, education, or familial connections.

Jesus offers as evidence for the coming kingdom the “works” the disciples had seen him do. For them that would mainly be healing and restoration both mentally as well as physically. It is these same “works” that he asserts will be done to a greater degree and scope by his disciples.

As the author Arthur C. Clarke famously noted — “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”!

I would suggest that we unconsciously perform many healing miracles today that would have been unimaginable, and therefore miraculous, to the disciples following Jesus. Applying an antibacterial ointment on a cut to ward off infection would certainly have been regarded as miraculous as applying ointment to the eyes to restore sight. Antibiotics have certainly been regarded as miracle drugs since the last century. I am sure you can come up with many examples involving technology and science and increased knowledge that most certainly would be regarded as major miracles in Jesus’ time on earth.

I would argue that the “greater works” part of Jesus’ prophecy has been and is being, fulfilled in our time. And, of course, in a typical God-like manner, the Father does not restrict the benefits for only a chosen few but benefits his whole creation. The evidence is all around us that the limited miracles Jesus was performing are being replicated every day in large numbers by his followers! My church’s food pantry alone has fed more than five thousand souls recently!

As for asking “anything" in his name, I think the key is to understand what Jesus meant by that. He specifically qualifies the request by “in his name”. That means we are to ask for things that he would ask for, which precludes a lot of things we would ask for!

In a nutshell, Jesus wants us to think like him and petition the father for what Jesus would do in that situation.

Obviously the big difficulty is for us to think like Jesus! I think this was what Paul had in mind when writing to the church in Philippi:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

Or as the KJV puts it “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”.

When put that way, it makes sense that if we ask for what Jesus wants, although he is not obligated to do so, he is happy to enact our prayer for his will, and in fact guarantees it!

Let’s be out there doing good because it’s what Jesus would do, not because it strokes our ego or selfishness.

There are a lot of great things yet to be done, Jesus is anxious to help us do them! Greater things indeed! Guaranteed!

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

P.S. if you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at