Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 14:12

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; because I go to the Father.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Faith;   God;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Miracles;   Philip;   Righteous;   Thompson Chain Reference - Believers;   Christ's;   Faith;   Faith-Unbelief;   Future, the;   God's;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   Morning Glories, Seven;   Promises, Divine;   Seven;   Verily, Verily;   Verily, Verily's of Christ;   The Topic Concordance - Belief;   Giving and Gifts;   Holy Spirit;   Jesus Christ;   Love;   Obedience;   Prayer;   Understanding;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Conduct, Christian;   Miracles;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Holy spirit;   Resurrection;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Work;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Baptism of the Holy Spirit;   Church;   Gospel;   Works;   Worship;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Children (Sons) of God;   Faith;   God;   Holy Spirit;   John, Theology of;   Power;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Atonement (2);   Authority of Christ;   Character;   Coming Again;   Common Life;   Communion (2);   Death of Christ;   Devotion;   Faith ;   Force;   Manuscripts;   Organization (2);   Power;   Prophet;   Son of God;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Fruit;   Pentecost;   Samuel;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ascension;   Authority in Religion;   Keys, Power of;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 6;   Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for July 23;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And greater works than these - The miracles which I have wrought could not have been wrought but by the omnipotence of God; but that omnipotence can work greater. And those who believe on my name shall, through my almighty power, be enabled to work greater miracles than those which l have ordinarily wrought. An impostor might seduce the people by false miracles; but he could not make his power and cunning pass to all those who were seduced by him: but I will give you this proof of the divinity of my mission and the truth of my doctrine.

Perhaps the greater works refer to the immense multitudes that were brought to God by the ministry of the apostles. By the apostles was the doctrine of Christ spread far and wide; while Christ confined his ministry chiefly to the precincts of Judea. It is certainly the greatest miracle of Divine grace to convert the obstinate, wicked heart of man from sin to holiness. This was done in numberless cases by the disciples, who were endued with power from on high, while proclaiming remission of sins through faith in his blood.

Some account for the greater works thus:

  1. The very shadow of Peter healed the diseased, Acts 5:15.
  • Diseases were cured, and demons cast out, by applying to the persons handkerchiefs and aprons that had before touched the body of Paul, Acts 19:12.
  • By the word of Peter, Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead, Acts 5:5, Acts 5:9, Acts 5:10.
  • Elymas the sorcerer was struck blind by the word of Paul, Acts 13:11.
  • Christ only preached in Judea, and in the language only of that country; but the apostles preached through the most of the then known world, and in all the languages of all countries. But let it be remarked that all this was done by the power of Christ; and I think it still more natural to attribute the greater works to the greater number of conversions made under the apostles' ministry. The reason which our Lord gives for this is worthy of deep attention: -
  • Because I go unto my Father - Where I shall be an Intercessor for you, that: -

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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 14:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-14.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    He that believeth on me - This promise had doubtless special reference to the apostles themselves. They were full of grief at his departure, and Jesus, in order to console them, directed them to the great honor which was to be conferred on them, and to the assurance that God would not leave them, but would attend them in their ministry with the demonstrations of his mighty power. It cannot be understood of all his followers, for the circumstances of the promise do not require us to understand it thus, and it has not been a matter of fact that All Christians have possessed power to do greater works than the Lord Jesus. It is a general promise that greater works than he performed should be done by his followers, without specifying that all his followers would be instrumental in doing them.

    The works that I do - The miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, etc. This was done by the apostles in many instances. See Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12; Acts 13:11; Acts 5:1-10.

    Greater works than these shall he do - Interpreters have been at a loss in what way to understand this. The most probable meaning of the passage is the following: The word “greater” cannot refer to the miracles themselves, for the works of the apostles did not exceed those of Jesus in power. No higher exertion of power was put forth, or could be, than raising the dead. But, though not greater in themselves considered, yet they were greater in their effects. They made a deeper impression on mankind. They were attended with more extensive results. They were the means of the conversion of more sinners. The works of Jesus were confined to Judea. They were seen by few. The works of the apostles were witnessed by many nations, and the effect of their miracles and preaching was that thousands from among the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the Christian faith. The word “greater” here is used, therefore, not to denote the absolute exertion of power, but the effect which the miracles would have on mankind. The word “works” here probably denotes not merely miracles, but all things that the apostles did that made an impression on mankind, including their travels, their labors, their doctrine, etc.

    Because I go unto my Father - He would there intercede for them, and especially by his going to the Father the Holy Spirit would he sent down to attend them in their ministry, John 14:26, John 14:28; John 16:7-14. See Matthew 28:18. By his going to the Father is particularly denoted his exaltation to heaven, and his being placed as head over all things to his church, Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:9-11. By his being exalted there the Holy Spirit was given John 16:7, and by his power thus put forth the Gentiles were brought to hear and obey the gospel.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-14.html. 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.

    Verily, Verily ... With these words Jesus turned from replying to Philip and included them all (Judas absent) in the glorious promises about to be given.

    Greater works than these shall he do ... It is difficult to know exactly what Jesus meant by this, for no miracle could be greater than raising Lazarus from the dead, and no work could be greater than that of the enabling act of redemption on the cross. Thus, as Guthrie noted:

    Greater works would then relate to the wider opportunities which the disciples would have when Jesus returned to the Father. It would then be possible for Jesus to work through his people. The book of Acts is a commentary on this promise.[7]

    Lipscomb has this:

    During the life of Jesus on earth, his work was restricted to the limitations of his physical presence; but, after he ascended to the Father and the Holy Spirit came in his name, a greater and more extended work would be done by the fuller inspiration of the apostles, and the more extended mission they would fill.[8]

    The very nature of Jesus' appearance on earth required miraculous manifestations of his power; but those miracles, wonderful as they were, had an inherent limitation. Jesus' miracle of feeding the five thousand was as nothing compared to the feeding of all the populations of earth throughout history through the operation of God's natural laws. Similarly, the miracle of creating Adam and Eve was as nothing compared to the perpetuation of humanity through the ages by means of the natural laws of procreation. Just so, the miracles attending the establishment of the church, or kingdom of heaven, on earth, and even including the miracles wrought by Jesus, are as nothing compared to the salvation of countless millions of men through the operation of God's spiritual laws which were set in motion by Jesus. The superiority of the spiritual over the physical is evidenced by Jesus' words here. As Hendriksen said:

    According to this great saying of our Lord, the greater works are the spiritual works ... Does Jesus, by this means of comparison, which places the spiritual so far above the physical, hint that miracles in the physical sphere would gradually disappear when they would no longer be necessary?[9]

    Three thousand souls were converted from death to life on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ, a feat far surpassing anything that was possible before Jesus returned to the Father.

    Because I go to the Father ... The great works wrought by the apostles did not take place in spite of Jesus' going to the Father but because he DID go to the Father. Thus, the "greater works" the apostles were to do were still truly the works of Jesus our Lord.

    [7] D. Guthrie, The New Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 958.

    [8] David Lipscomb, op. cit., p. 224.

    [9] William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1961), II, p. 273.

    Copyright Statement
    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me,.... Having mentioned his miracles as proofs of his deity, he assures his disciples, in order to comfort them under the loss of his bodily presence, that they should do the same, and greater works; for we are not to understand these words of everyone that believes in Christ, of every private believer in him, but only of the apostles, and each of them, that were true believers in him: to whom he says,

    the works that I do shall he do also; he shall raise the dead, heal all manner of diseases, and cast out devils; things which Christ gave his apostles power to do, when he first gave them a commission to preach the Gospel, and when he renewed and enlarged it: and which they did perform, not in their own name, and by their own power, but in the name, and by the power of Christ:

    and greater works than these shall he do; meaning, not greater in nature and kind, but more in number; for the apostles, in a long series of time, and course of years, went about preaching the Gospel, not in Judea only, but in all the world; "God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost", Hebrews 2:4, wherever they went: though perhaps by these greater works may be meant the many instances of conversion, which the apostles were instrumental in, and which were more in number than those which were under our Lord's personal ministry: besides, the conversion of a sinner is a greater work than any of the miracles of raising the dead, &c. for this includes in it all miracles: here we may see a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, quickened; one born blind made to see; one who was deaf to the threatenings of the law, and to the charming voice of the Gospel, made to hear, so as to live; and one that had the spreading leprosy of sin all over him, cleansed from it by the blood of the Lamb yea, though a miracle in nature is an instance and proof of divine power, yet the conversion of a sinner, which is a miracle in grace, is not only an instance of the power of God, and of the greatness of it, but of the exceeding greatness of it: and the rather one may be induced to give in to this sense of the passage, since it is added, as a reason,

    because I go to my Father; and upon my ascension the Spirit will be given, to you, which shall not only enable you to perform miracles, as proofs of your apostleship, and the doctrine you preach, but which shall powerfully attend the Gospel to the conversion of multitudes of souls.

    Copyright Statement
    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on John 14:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-14.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    5 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and f greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    (5) Christ's power is not only shown within his own person, but it is spread through the body of his entire Church.

    (f) That is, not only do them, but I can also give other men power to do greater.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 14:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-14.html. 1599-1645.

    People's New Testament

    Greater works than these shall he do, because I go to my Father. Those who believe shall have power given to do works, in some respects greater; not greater miracles, but to effect greater moral and spiritual revolutions. At the time of his death, as far as we know, he had only about five hundred disciples, but he "went to his Father" and "shed forth the things seen and heard" on Pentecost, and the eleven apostles converted three thousand in a single day.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 14:12". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-14.html. 1891.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Shall he do also (κακεινος ποιησειkakeinos poiēsei). Emphatic pronoun εκεινοςekeinos “that one also.”

    Greater works than these (μειζονα τουτωνmeizona toutōn). Comparative adjective neuter plural from μεγαςmegas with ablative case τουτωνtoutōn Not necessarily greater miracles and not greater spiritual works in quality, but greater in quantity. Cf. Peter at Pentecost and Paul‘s mission tours. “Because I go” (οτι εγω πορευορναιhoti egō poreuornai). Reason for this expansion made possible by the Holy Spirit as Paraclete (John 16:7).

    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
    Bibliographical Information
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-14.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Greater works

    Not more remarkable miracles, but referring to the wider work of the apostolic ministry under the dispensation of the Spirit. This work was of a higher nature than mere bodily cures. Godet truthfully says: “That which was done by St. Peter at Pentecost, by St. Paul all over the world, that which is effected by an ordinary preacher, a single believer, by bringing the Spirit into the heart, could not be done by Jesus during His sojourn in this world.” Jesus' personal ministry in the flesh must be a local ministry. Only under the dispensation of the Spirit could it be universal.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-14.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    Greater works than these shall he do — So one apostle wrought miracles merely by his shadow, Acts 5:15; another by handkerchiefs carried from his body, Acts 19:12; and all spake with various tongues. But the converting one sinner is a greater work than all these.

    Because I go to my Father — To send you the Holy Ghost.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 14:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-14.html. 1765.

    The Fourfold Gospel

    Verily, verily1, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also2; and greater [works] than these shall he do3; because I go unto the Father.

    1. Verily, verily. See .

    2. He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also. Jesus while in the world manifested sufficient supernatural power to give credibility to the statement that the Father worked him through him. But he here declares that his return to the Father will be followed by yet fuller tokens and evidences of his union with the Father.

    3. And greater [works] than these shall he do. The first of these evidences enumerated is the larger sphere of power granted to the believer. By this the Lord does not mean the disciples shall perform greater miracles, but that they shall produce moral and spiritual revolutions which are instinsically more divinely wonderful than miracles. For instance, at his death Jesus had converted about five hundred disciples (1 Corinthians 15:6), but at Pentecost the apostles converted three thousand in one day (Acts 2:41). The converts of Paul also greatly outnumbered those of Christ's own ministry.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 14:12". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-14.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    Greater works; greater achievements in extending and establishing the Redeemer's kingdom; for the word works seems to refer, here, not to miracles, but to efforts in general made to bring men to repentance and salvation.

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    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-14.html. 1878.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    Истинно, истинно говорю вам. Все, что до сих пор Христос рассказывал о Себе ученикам, имело, по их мнению, лишь временный характер. Посему без добавления последних слов их утешение не было бы полным. Особенно поскольку наша память весьма немощна в памятовании божественных благодеяний. И в этом нет нужды ходить за примерами. Ведь Бог постоянно одаривает нас всяческими благами. Если же Он останавливается на половине, мы начинаем думать, будто Его больше нет. Поэтому Христос обещает не только Свое настоящее видимое учениками присутствие, но и постоянное ощущение Себя в будущем. Действительно, Его божество было явлено не только когда Он жил на земле. И после Его ухода к Отцу верующие получали ясные свидетельства Его силы. Однако злоба и тупость мешают нам видеть Бога в Его делах, и Христа в делах Божиих. Многих смущает то, что Христос сказал апостолам: «и больше сих сотворит». Опуская различные толкования, которые обычно приводятся, я довольствуюсь лишь одним. Вначале надо понять, что хотел сказать Христос. То, что сила, коей Он доказал Свое Божественное Сыновство, настолько не привязана к Его телесному присутствию, что будет проявлять себя многими ясными свидетельствами даже в Его отсутствие. И спустя немного времени после вознесения Христова последовало чудесное обращение мира, в котором божество Христа явилось сильнее, чем во время Его жизни среди людей. Так что мы видим: проявление божественности не ограничено самой личностью Иисуса Христа, но разлито по всему телу Церкви. Кроме того, «дела», о которых идет речь, не принадлежат одним апостолам или отдельным благочестивым, но всей Церкви в целом.

    Потому что Я иду к Отцу. Вот причина, почему ученики сделают больше, чем сделал Сам Христос. Ведь, вступив в обладание Своим Царством, Он полнее явит с небес Свою силу. Откуда явствует: Его слава не уменьшается от того, что после Его ухода апостолы действовали еще успешнее. Ведь они были лишь орудиями Его силы. Более того, таким образом стало ясно, что Христос воссел одесную Отца, дабы перед Ним преклонилось всякое колено. И Сам Он немного после заявляет: Он будет автором всего, что сделает через Своих апостолов.

     

     

     

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-14.html. 1840-57.

    James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

    GREATER WORKS

    ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.’

    John 14:12

    It is a mysterious saying; what did our Lord mean by it?

    I. What were the ‘greater works’?—On the first reading this saying of our Lord’s seems to apply to His miracles and to the miracles which His followers should work in His Name, and I suppose it was inevitable that those who first heard the saying must have understood it in this way. On this account it must have constituted some sort of embarrassment to those who were advocating the claims of Christianity. For we may note at once that the saying will not bear this interpretation. We should come nearer to our Lord’s true meaning if we reflect that this saying does not stand alone in the Gospel, but is one of many sayings in which our Lord refers to a great future in which the work of His own ministry was to be in some sense surpassed and transcended. It is in John’s Gospel that we find all the references to the Comforter, Who was the Holy Ghost, Who was to teach the Apostles all things. The day of greater things was yet to come.

    II. Christ as the Sower.—Putting the miracles aside, let us consider what was the work of Jesus in the three years of His ministry. Surely it was the sowing of the seed rather than the reaping of the harvest. He did not found a new Church; He did not enrol multitudes as adherents to a new faith. He was more careful to impart His revelation to a few chosen witnesses, more careful for that than for what we should call numerous conversions. His teaching was indeed a leaven in the hearts of the people, but it was a leaven that needed time to work. Not until the Holy Ghost was given on the day of Pentecost could the Kingdom of God come with power.

    III. The Holy Ghost the instrument of the ‘greater works.’—Christ connects His own departure with the coming of the Holy Ghost. The greater works are to be accomplished not because Christ has gone, but because the Holy Ghost has come. Therefore are the works of Christ in His ministry on earth surpassed not by any mere activity of man, but by that office of God the Holy Ghost which it is the part of the believer to promote. When we speak of God in us, God enabling us, God convincing us, God suggesting that which is good to us, we mean God the Holy Ghost; and when we try to do any good work for God and for Christ, to fulfil the will of the Father and to further the cause of the Son in the saving of souls, that upon which we rely is the Presence of God the Holy Ghost, that power within us both inspiring the good purpose and enabling us to bring it to good effect.

    IV. The greatest miracle in the world.—The greatest miracle in the world is that by which the sinner becomes the saint. But though every saint is made a saint by the Holy Ghost, no saint is made a saint without his own co-operation with the Holy Ghost.

    Prebendary Whitworth.

    Illustration

    ‘Men sometimes discuss the utility of Christian missions as if Christian missions meant human effort, and human influence, and human testimony, and no more. How different it all seems when we think of the human agent as being called and sent by the Holy Ghost, the same Holy Ghost continually working with him and in him to convince the believer of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. How melancholy would our position be, preaching Sunday after Sunday, if the only fruit of our labour were that which results from the wisdom or the foolishness of our own words. Rather we must rest upon the hope that we may be allowed to set in motion some of the operations of God the Holy Ghost. And how hopeless would our pastoral work be if we did not believe in the working of God the Holy Ghost! The work is not ours: it belongs to the Holy Ghost, and if it be taken out of our hands it is still in His hands. We must have faith to leave it to Him.’

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    Bibliographical Information
    Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 14:12". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-14.html. 1876.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    Ver. 12. And greater works than these] Greater in regard of the matter, as converting 3000 souls at a sermon, reducing a great part of the world to the obedience of Christ, &c. But yet less than those Christ did, for the manner. For, 1. They did not them in their own name, but in his. 2. They preached not that they were gods, as he, but they preached Christ the only Lord, and themselves the Church’s servants, for Jesus’ sake. They were the white horses on which Christ rode abroad the world, "conquering and to conquer," Revelation 6:2. In memory whereof, as it may seem, the Saxon princes, having borne a black horse till then in their military ensigns, did, after they had received the faith and were baptized, bear a white horse, and gave it for their arms. And Tertullian could say in his time, that Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo tamen subdita. To the Romans, Britian was an inaccessable place, yet it was subdued by Christ.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 14:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-14.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    John 14:12. He that believeth on me, &c.— It is evident in fact, that though this promise be expressed in indefinite language, it must be limited in some such manner as follows: "He that believes in me, that is, many of my disciples in these early ages, and each of you in particular, shall receive such an abundant communication of the Spirit, that the miraculous works which I perform, he shall perform also; yea, works, in some respect, greater than these shall he perform, because I go to my Father, who has thought fit to reserve the most stupendous gifts of the Spirit to honour the entrance of my glorified humanity into the heaven of heavens." How fully Jesus performed this promise, is plain from the history of the Acts throughout, particularly ch. John 5:15-16 where we find that the very shadow of Peter passing by, cured the sick on whom it fell, and who were laid in the streets for that purpose: as also, Ch. John 19:12 which informs us, that handkerchiefs and aprons, which had touched the body of Paul, being applied to the sick and possessed, banished both the diseases and the devils. Nor should we, on this occasion, forget the gift of languages bestowed on the apostles, and which they were enabled to communicate to others. Yet, if these miracles are not thought, to shew greater power than Christ exhibited, we may refer the greatness whereof he speaks, to the effects which they were to produce on the minds of men, through divine grace accompanying them. For, in that respect the miracles of the apostles were vastly superior to those of Christ, converting through grace more people in one day, than was done by all the miracles that Jesus performed during the course of his ministry. Under the divine blessing they converted thousands at once, made the gospel to fly like lightning through the world, and beat down every thing that stood in opposition to the faith of their Master.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 14:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-14.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Here Christ gives his disciples a promise of enduing them with power after his departure to work miracles in some respects greater than what he wrought himself; not greater in regard of the manner, for he wrought by his own power, and they wrought all in his name, but greater in regard of the matter of them; particularly, their speaking with strange tongues, their giving the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, their healing diseases by the very shadow of their bodies, but especially by their wonderful conversion of the Gentiles from idolatry to serve the living God.

    When St. Peter converted three thousand at one sermon, then Christ made good his promise; the disciple at that time appeared to be above his Master: Christ all this time was angling for a few fishes, and catched but an hundred and twenty, Acts 1:15 whilst Peter comes with his drag net, and catches three thousand at one cast; the reason might be, because Christ was not properly to be the builder, but the foundation itself. He subjoins the reason of all this: Because I go unto my Father: that is, to send down, and pour forth upon you my apostles, the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost which was the great cause of the apostles miraculous operations.

    Hence learn, That it pleased the wisdom of Christ to do greater things by the hands of his weak servants here in the world, than he was pleased to do himself, who was God over all, blessed for evermore.

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 14:12". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-14.html. 1700-1703.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    John 14:12. ἀμὴν, ἀμήν, verily, verily) There follow most sweet promises and exhortations mixed together; and in such a way, that, whilst speaking, He from time to time [“subinde”] touches upon those topics, which in the progress of His discourse form the very subjects proposed for discussion.(348) For instance, John 14:15, as to love, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments:” with which comp. John 14:21, “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.” And He also repeats some things by way of recapitulation. The Evangelist and Apostle also imitates this method of our Lord: 1 John 2:20, note.— , those which) i.e. equally great. [Comp. ch. John 5:20; John 5:25, “The Father showeth the Son all things that Himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these:—The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”]— μείζονα, greater) for instance, Acts 5:15, “They brought forth the sick into the streets, that at the least the shadow of Peter in passing by might overshadow some of them;” John 19:12. “From Paul’s body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed;” Mark 16:17, the end of the ver., “They shall speak with new tongues.”— ποιήσει, he shall do) through faith in Me.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 14:12". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-14.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    He that believeth on me; not every individual soul that believeth on me; but some of those, particularly you that are my apostles, and shall be filled with the Holy Ghost in the days of Pentecost; you shall preach the gospel, and work miracles for the confirmation of the truth of the doctrine of it. Yea, and you shall do

    greater works than I have done: not more or greater miracles: the truth of that may be justly questioned; for what miracle was ever done by the apostles greater than that of raising Lazarus? Much less do I think that it is to be understood of speaking with divers tongues. It is rather to be understood of their success carrying the gospel to the Gentiles, by which the whole world, almost, was brought to the obedience of the faith of Christ. We never read that of Christ which we read of Peter, viz. his converting three thousand at one sermon.

    Because I go unto my Father, he afterwards expounds, telling us, that if he did not go away, the Comforter would not come. The pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, was the proximate cause of those great works. Now Christ’s going to the Father had an influence upon that mission of the Holy Spirit.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 14:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-14.html. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    больше сих сотворит Иисус имел в виду дела большие не по силе, а по охвату. Они станут свидетелями всему миру посредством силы пребывающего внутри и все заполняющего Духа Святого (Деян. 1:8) и многих приведут ко спасению вследствие пребывающего в них Утешителя. Здесь внимание сосредоточивается больше на духовных, чем на физических чудесах. Книга Деяний служит началом исторической записи воздействия, которое оказали на мир ученики, обладающие силой Духа (ср. Деян. 17:6).

    потому что Я к Отцу Моему иду Ученики Иисуса смогут делать те большие дела только силой Святого Духа, а Он не мог быть послан как Утешитель, пока Иисус не вернется к Отцу (ст. 26; 7:39).

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 14:12". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-14.html.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Greater; greater in number, extent, and influence, by Christ’s power, and under the influence of the Spirit, which, after his ascension to heaven, he would give them. Mark 16:20; Acts 2:41. Faith in Jesus Christ is the means not only of justification and acceptance with God, but also of distinguished usefulness among men.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-14.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    12.Greater works than these shall he do—The miracles of Jesus were indeed greater displays of power than any wonder-worker, whether prophet, priest, or saint, ever wrought. Yet they were but the preparatory apparatus of Christianity. They were provisional and temporary. From them was to proceed the greater work, through the power of the Spirit and the agency of men, of establishing and fully completing the wide-spread conversion of souls, and the conquering of the world to Christ. His miracles and his words, divinely limited to a narrow territory, converted but few. They were but the bud to the flower and the fruit. Hence greater works are performed by the Church after his ascension than were performed by himself in the day of his humiliation.

    Because I go unto my Father—But these greater works of the future Church, after all, spring from the power of the ascended and exalted Son. It is because he goes to the Father and leaves the Spirit and the Church to labour, that the great work is performed under his divine Headship, of taking a world of free agents, and, without destroying their freedom, winning their free obedience to his Father and God.

     

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-14.html. 1874-1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Jesus prefaced another startling and important revelation with His customary phrase that John noted often in his Gospel. He stressed the importance of believing what He revealed about His divine identity by unveiling the consequences of believing that He was the divine Messiah.

    The interpretation of the works that those who believe on Jesus would do, which commentators have found difficult, depends on how Jesus described them. He said that the basis for these and greater works would be His going to the Father. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer ( Acts 2:3; cf. Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13). This divine enablement empowered believers to do miracles that only Jesus Himself could do previously. The Book of Acts records the apostles doing many of the same miracles that Jesus had done in the Gospels.

    The disciples would do even greater works than Jesus in the sense that their works would have greater effects than His works had. During Jesus" earthly ministry relatively few people believed on Him, but after His ascension many more did. The miracle of regeneration multiplied after Jesus ascended to heaven and the Father sent the Holy Spirit. Three thousand people became believers in Jesus on the day of Pentecost alone ( Acts 2:41). The church thoroughly permeated the Roman Empire during the apostolic age whereas Jesus" personal ministry did not extend beyond Palestine. The whole Book of Acts is proof that what Jesus predicted here happened (cf. Acts 1:1-2; Acts 1:8). The mighty works of conversion are more in view here than a few miracles of healing.

    Jesus probably did not mean that His disciples would do more stupendous miracles than He did. Feeding multitudes from a small lunch and raising people from the dead are hard miracles to supersede. We should not assume either that Jesus meant that these miracles would continue throughout church history as they existed in the apostolic era. Church history has shown that they died out almost entirely after the apostolic age, and the New Testament, while it does not specifically predict that, implies that they would ( 1 Corinthians 13:8; Ephesians 2:20; Hebrews 2:3-4).

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-14.html. 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    John 14:12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he also do; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto the Father. It seemed to the disciples that, by the departure of Jesus, all the glorious manifestations of the Divine which they had beheld in Him would be brought to an end. So far is this from being the case that these shall not only continue but become even more glorious than before. By ‘works’ we are obviously to understand something wider than miracles, for the promise is to all believers, and it cannot be said that they in any age have wrought greater miracles than their Lord. What Jesus speaks of is the general power of the spiritual life, not only as it exists in the breast of the believer, but as it shows itself in all life and action corresponding to its nature. What He had been and had done was to be exhibited in the disciples themselves. They were to be put into His position, to take His place, to be sustained in all inward strength and outward manifestation as He had been. Nay more, He was going to the Father,—not the verb of chaps, John 13:33; John 13:36, John 14:4-5, but another, suggesting less the thought of what He was leaving than the thought of what He was going to; and He was going to ‘the’ Father, not His own Father only, but One who stood in the same relation to all the members of His body. Therefore what He had been and had done would be still more gloriously unfolded in them than it had been as yet in Him. When He went to the Father, His life would be set free from the struggles and sufferings by which its power and glory had been obscured on earth. But His disciples were one with Him, and what He was they should be. They are the organs not of a humbled only but of an ascended Lord; and through what He is at the right hand of the Father they shall do ‘greater works’ than He did in the world. The same great truth is expressed in 1 John 4:17, ‘Because as He is’ (not was), ‘so are we in this world.’ How little do Christians realise their position and their privileges!

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-14.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    John 14:12. . The first encouragement is the assurance that through Christ’s absence the disciples would be enabled to do greater works than Jesus Himself had done. These “greater” works were the spiritual effects accomplished by the disciples, especially the great novel fact of conversion. See this developed in Parker’s The Paraclete. Such works were to be possible . It was by founding a spiritual religion and altering men’s views of the spiritual world Christ enabled His followers to do these greater works. Here this is explained on the plane of the disciples’ thoughts and in this form: “I go to my Father, the source of all power, and whatever you ask in my name I will do it”.

     

     

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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 14:12". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-14.html. 1897-1910.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    And greater than these shall he do, because I go to the Father. Christ speaks of the greatness of visible miracles, and tells them, that after his ascension, they shall be enabled, even to do greater miracles than he has yet shewn to the world. He would give this power to his disciples, who were to convert the world; and perhaps the greatest miracle of all, was the conversion of the whole world. (Witham) --- Behold another proof of my divinity, viz. the wonderful miracles those perform, who believe in me. An impostor may seduce the vulgar with false miracles, or, perhaps, with real wonderful prodigies; but he cannot confer that power on others. Behold, I have performed miracles by my own power, without any deceit, and always with a sovereign authority. I have given those, who believe in me, power to work in my name, as great, and even greater miracles, than I have done myself. All this I have done, to shew you, that I am equally God with the Father. I truly am so, then, for it would be impossible for God to assist an impostor, a liar, and an enemy to his honour and glory. (Calmet)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 14:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-14.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    Verily, verily. The twenty-second occurance. See on John 1:51.

    the works, &c.: i.e. similar works, e.g. Acts 3:7; Acts 3:9. as.

    he do also = he also do.

    greater. Not only more remarkable miracles (Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12) by the men who were endued with power from on high (pneuma hagion, App-101.), but a more extended and successful ministry. The Lord rarely went beyond the borders of Palestine. He for-bade the twelve to go save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5, Matthew 10:6); after Pentecost they went "everywhere" (Acts 8:4), and Paul could say, "your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8).

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 14:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-14.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father - rather, 'the Father,' as the true reading appears to be. "The works that I do" and which they "should do also," were those miraculous credentials of their apostolic office which Christ empowered the Eleven to perform. But the "greater works than His" were not anymore transcendent miracles-for there could be none such and certainly they did none such-but such as He referred to in what He said to Nathanael (John 1:51) - that glorious ingathering of souls after His ascension-or "because He went to the Father" - which it was not His own Personal mission to the earth to accomplish. See on the promise. "From henceforth thou shall catch men," Luke 5:10, and Remark 4 at the close of section. The substance, then, of these five rich John 14:8-12 is this: that the Son is the ordained and perfect manifestation of the Father; that His own word for this ought, to His disciples, to be enough; that if any doubts remained His works ought to remove them; but yet that these works of His were designed merely to aid weak faith and would be repeated nay exceeded by His disciples, in virtue of the power He would confer on them after His departure. His miracles, accordingly, apostles performed, though wholly in His name and by His power; while the "greater" works-not in degree but in kind-were the conversion of thousands in a day, by His Spirit accompanying them.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-14.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (12) Verily, verily, I say unto you.—Comp. Note on John 1:51.

    He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.—He that by faith becomes one with the Son shall have the Son, and therefore also the Father, dwelling in him (John 14:11; John 14:20; John 14:23), and shall himself become an instrument through which God, who dwelleth in him, shall carry into effect His own works. He shall, therefore, do works of the same kind as those which the Son Himself doeth.

    And greater works than these shall he do.—Comp. Notes on John 5:20, and on Matthew 21:21-22. The explanation of these greater works is not to be sought in the individual instances of miraculous power exercised by the apostles, but in the whole work of the Church. The Day of Pentecost witnessed the first fulfilment of this prophecy; but it has been fulfilled also in every great moral and spiritual victory. Every revival of a truly religious spirit has been an instance of it; every mission-field has been a witness to it. In every child of man brought to see the Father, and know the Father’s love as revealed in Jesus Christ, has been a work such as He did. In the world-wide extent of Christianity there is a work greater even than any which He Himself did in the flesh. He left His kingdom as one of the smallest of the influences on the earth; but it has grown up as a mighty power over all the kingdoms of the world, and all that is purest and best in civilisation and culture has found shelter in its branches.

    Because I go unto my Father.—The better reading is, because I go unto the Father. The words are to be connected not with one clause only, but with all the earlier parts of the verse. They are the reason why the believer shall do the works that Christ does, as well as the reason why he shall do greater works. The earthly work of Christ will have ceased, and He will have gone to the Father. The believers will be then His representatives on earth, as He will be their representative in heaven. Therefore will they do His works, and the works shall be greater because He will be at the Father’s right hand, and will do whatsoever they shall ask in His name.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-14.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
    the
    Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:13; 16:17; Luke 10:17-19; Acts 3:6-8; 4:9-12,16,33; 8:7; Acts 9:34,40; 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12:10,11
    greater
    Acts 2:4-11,41; 4:4; 5:15; 6:7; 10:46; 19:12; Romans 15:19
    because
    28; 7:39; 16:7; Acts 2:33
    Reciprocal: 2 Kings 2:9 - Elisha said;  2 Kings 2:14 - smote;  2 Kings 20:10 - GeneralMatthew 5:18 - verily;  Matthew 11:5 - blind;  Luke 9:1 - gave;  John 1:51 - Verily;  Acts 1:15 - an;  Acts 2:43 - many;  Acts 3:16 - through;  Acts 4:31 - spake;  Acts 5:16 - bringing;  Acts 14:10 - Stand;  Acts 19:11 - General

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 14:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-14.html.

    Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

    In vers. 12-14 we have the third ground of consolation. Christ had finally, with express emphasis, referred to His works. Out of the consolation there sprang up to the disciples a new element of sorrow. These works must, it seemed to them, cease with the departure of the Lord. Left to their own poverty and impotence, they must, in opposition to the unfriendly word, fare but miserably. That was about to be removed which had given some measure of firmness to all. It is against this grief that their blaster here consoles them. The works would not cease with His departure; they should rather, in consequence of His departure, rise to a higher level of energy and significance. He who should be elevated to the glory of the Father, would, by His disciples, perform yet greater works. They should only ask; and out of His inexhaustible riches they should obtain all that their necessities might demand.

    Ver. 12. "Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than' these shall he do: because I go unto My Father."

    This vigorous assurance shows at the outset how far beyond the horizon of the disciples lay the promise that followed. The Lord had, in ch. John 5:20, described the works which He performed during His earthly life as the mere prelude to greater works. The greatest deeds which, in the Old Testament, were ascribed to the Messiah, were at this time scarcely even inaugurated. He was to be the light of the Gentiles, Isaiah 42:6; and to rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth, Psalms 72:8; Zechariah 9:10; all kings were to worship Him, all the heathen serve Him, Psalms 72:11. The root of Jesse, which stood as an ensign to the nations, the Gentiles were to seek unto, Isaiah 11:10. Of all this there was as yet but the faint anticipation. And the great Messianic work of grace and judgment upon the Jewish people, as foreannounced by the prophets, was as yet far from accomplished. Instead of the hundreds of believers from among the Jews who were assembled during the Lord's life, 1 Corinthians 15:6, many myriads were won by the preaching of the Apostles after the Lord's resurrection, Acts 21:20. And as it regards the judgment upon them, the withering of the fig-tree of the Jewish people took place only in symbol shortly before the departure of Christ; and the actual rooting up of those plants which the heavenly Father had not planted was left to the future, to be the work of the exalted Redeemer, and to those prayers of believers which should evoke His work; for, according to Matthew 21:21, the withering of the fig-tree appears as the work, in this sense, of the believers themselves.

    The antithesis is, in fact, not between Christ and His disciples, but between the humble and the exalted Christ. His disciples accomplish their works only as the organs of the ascended Lord, and by His assistance. The whole power of performance is here expressly placed in the disciples' faith in Christ; in the words "because I go to the Father" it is based upon the glorification of Christ, and the omnipotence connected with it; in ver. 13, whose ποιήσω refers back to the ποιήσει of ver. 12, Christ alone is exhibited as acting, while the co-operation of the disciples is referred to their prayer. Without Me, said the Lord in ch. John 15:5, ye can do nothing.

    The Apostles are not specifically spoken of, but generally all who believe in Christ. We are therefore justified to seek the fulfilment of these words in the whole course of the history of the Christian Church.

    With "The works that I do shall he do" we must compare Mark 16:17-18. There the works are individually enumerated. But we must regard that enumeration as only an individualizing. Behind these palpable signs stand others, which are more concealed and less obvious, but in reality much greater: the miraculous power which Christ will assure to His people for the conversion of individuals and nations, for the effect of regeneration in a world corrupted to the very centre, for their victory over the whole hostile force of the world, and over its prince who wields that force. That of this we are especially to think, is plain from "greater things shall he do." In reference to miracles, commonly so called, Christ was not surpassed by His disciples; on the contrary, they were considerably inferior to Him. But in what domain we are chiefly to seek the works here spoken of, ch. John 12:32 teaches us: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth" (this corresponds to the "going to the Father" here), "will draw all men unto Me." Hence the great work which was to be accomplished after the exaltation of Christ, and in the power of that exaltation, was the conversion of the world, specially the heathen nations. Further, in ch. John 10:16, where our Lord thus exhibits the result of His atoning death, and the great task to be fulfilled after it: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: these also must I bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." So also we may compare Matthew 28:18-20. There the Lord bases upon the "power" given unto Him in heaven and earth as the result of His atoning passion, the injunction, "Go ye forth and disciple all nations," and promises that He would be with them to the end of the world for the accomplishment of a work immeasurably surpassing all human power. We have also an illustration of the "greater works than these shall he do" in the Apocalypse, which depicts the marvellous victory of Christ and His members over the Gentile world and its prince; compare particularly, ch. John 17:14 : "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and Kino; of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful." But the proper commentary on our text is furnished by a word spoken some days before to the disciples. Matthew 21:21-22 : "Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this that is done to the fig-tree, but also, if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." This passage is closely connected with that we are considering. Ver. 22 absolutely coincides with ver. 13. They have in common also the introduction by "Verily," and the emphasis laid on believing. We see from this that the greater works were to consist in the victory over Jerusalem, and over the Gentile secular power then concentrated in Rome. It needs no proof that the fig-tree signified the Jewish people; and, of course, what they were to do must have referred to an antitypical action in something else, since the natural fig-tree was already destroyed. "This which is done to the fig-tree" must have referred to something yet to be done to its counterpart. So also, in connection with the fig-tree, the mountain must have had a symbolical meaning: nor can this be obviated by the suggestion that this mountain is spoken of; for a specific fig-tree was also spoken of. This fig-tree, this mountain, were sanctified into symbols of hostile powers. The mountain, in contradistinction to the fig-tree, can only be a symbol of Gentile temporal power. In the Old Testament, mountains are used as the ordinary symbols of kingdoms. In Zechariah 4:7, the great mountain is the Persian empire, which was in an attitude of opposition to the building of the Temple. In Jeremiah 51:25, the mountain which endangers the whole earth is the Chaldean empire. So the mountain here is the universal empire that then was, that of Rome. The sea is, according to the common symbolism of Scripture, the sea of nations: comp. on ch. John 6:14-21; Revelation 8:8-9, out of which the universal empire had arisen mightily in the time of its prosperity, but into which it now sinks back again through the faith of the disciples and the power of Christ. Revelation 18:21 is parallel, where we read, with reference to the Roman empire, and in allusion to Jeremiah 51:63-64 : "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." On the ground of the same passage in Jeremiah, our Lord, referring to the then ruling power, had already spoken, Matthew 18:6, of those who offended His little ones being cast into the sea with millstones.

    The foundation of the doing works like Christ's, and still greater works, is to be found in the "going to the Father." What follows is only the further development of the idea, that Christ's work would not cease with His death; that the disciples need not fear that they would sink back into the darkness when the light of His works, which during His earthly life had irradiated them, was withdrawn; and that they would not be left to the consequences of their own impotence. The independence of the clause is confirmed by a comparison with ver. 28, where the "I go to the Father" stands in a similar independent position, and where the "My Father is greater than I" develops the consolatory meaning lying in those words. The independence of the clause in ver. 13, "And whatsoever ye shall ask," etc., is plain from Matthew 21:22, which accurately corresponds with this present saying. So also, from the repetition in ver. 14, Jesus was going to the Father, into the glory which He had with Him before the world was, ch. John 17:5; and He therefore could most mightily assist His disciples in the performance of greater works than He Himself, in the days of His servant form, could accomplish. To go to the Father was to enter into His glory, Luke 24:26; and this glory could not but have a most pervasive influence upon His people below. When Jesus went to the Father, the grief of the disciples must be turned into joy, and their despondency into confidence. The departure of their Lord, which seemed to make them helpless, and abandon them an easy prey to the wolves, was the very condition and foundation of their power and of their victory. It made their Master's omnipotence available for them. "How should we not expect something more glorious from the exalted than from the humbled Christ?" Luther: "Christ going to the Father means, that He is exalted to the Lord above, and placed on a royal throne at the right hand of the Father, all power and authority being subjected to His sway in heaven and in earth. And ye shall therefore have the power to do such works, because ye are My members, and believe in Me, so that ye shall be in Me and I will be in you.

    Now I am weak, because I yet walk here below in this flesh; and do slighter and less considerable works, only raising a few from the dead and healing a handful of Jews; and I must submit to be crucified and slain. But afterwards, when I have been crucified, have been buried, and have risen again, I shall make my great leap from death into life, from the cross and the sepulchre to eternal glory, and Divine majesty and power; and will then, as I have said, draw everything to Me, so that all creatures must be subjected to Me, and I can say to you. Apostles and Christians: Thou, Peter and Paul, go and overturn the Roman empire, if it will not receive My word and obey Me; for it must either receive the Gospel, or stumble over it to ruin."

    This present saying of our Lord is not merely rich in consolation; it also gives occasion to rigid self-examination on the part of the Church and of individual Christians. Christ has here given solemn asseveration, that whosoever believeth on Him shall do works like those which He did while on earth, and even greater works. Therefore, when these works are found wanting there must be lack of faith: as Augustin says. Si ergo qui credit faciet, non credit utique qui non faciet. The complaint, which is now so common, over the corruption of the world, the feeble wail of despondency over the unbelief of the age, must be abashed before this utterance of our Lord. Christ sits for ever at the right hand of the Father, equipped with irresistible arms against all His enemies. But "faith faileth upon earth." There is, indeed, a difference of seasons in the kingdom of God; there are times in which power is given to the darkness; and, doubtless, such a time is that wherein we live. But our saying avails even for such times as these. The greater is the opposition, the more plainly is it the task of faith to do "greater works," and the richer is the aid which is given from on high for the accomplishment of this task.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 14:12". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-14.html.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    12.Verily, verily, I, tell you. All that he had hitherto told his disciples about himself, so far as it regarded them, was temporal; and, therefore, if he had not added this clause, the consolation would not have been complete; particularly since our memory is so short, when we are called to consider the gifts of God. On this subject it is unnecessary to go to others for examples; for, when God has loaded us with every kind of blessings, if He pause for fourteen days, we fancy that he is no longer alive. This is the reason why Christ not only mentions his present power, which the Apostles, at that time, beheld with their eyes, but promises an uninterrupted conviction of it for the future. And, indeed, not only was his Divinity attested, so long as he dwelt on the earth, but after he had gone to the Father, striking proofs of it were enjoyed by believers. But either our stupidity or our malice hinders us from perceiving God in his works, and Christ in the works of God.

    And shall do greater works than these. Many are perplexed by the statement of Christ, that the Apostles would do greater works than he had done I pass by the other answers which have been usually given to it, and satisfy myself with this single answer. First, we must understand what Christ means; namely, that the power by which he proves himself to be the Son of God, is so far from being confined to his bodily presence, that it must be clearly demonstrated by many and striking proofs, when he is absent. Now the ascension of Christ was soon afterwards followed by a wonderful conversion of the world, in which the Divinity of Christ was more powerfully displayed than while he dwelt among men. Thus, we see that the proof of his Divinity was not confined to the person of Christ, but was diffused through the whole body of the Church.

    Because I go to the Father. This is the reason why the disciples would do greater things than Christ himself. It is because, when he has entered into the possession of his kingdom, he will more fully demonstrate his power from heaven. Hence it is evident that his glory is in no degree diminished, because, after his departure, the Apostles, who were only his instruments, performed more excellent works. What is more, in this manner it became evident that he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, that every knee may bow before him, (Philippians 2:10.)

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    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 14:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-14.html. 1840-57.