Greater Things

Greater Things Devo

Daily Reading: (John 14:12-14):

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

There is a verse that is written that quotes something that Jesus said that if He wouldn’t have ever said it,

  • I don’t know that any of us would have ever thought about it before.
  • I really don’t think any of us would have believed it if we had thought it and Jesus hadn’t said it. 

“Whoever believes in me”, the qualifier to be able to do the works of Jesus is that you are a believer in Jesus Christ. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the normal Christian life is a life partaking in and receiving miracles in Jesus’ name.

The promise is that you will do the works that Jesus did and in case you forgot some of the works of Jesus here a few highlights.

Jesus set the record for the world’s largest fish feast when He fed somewhere between 12-15,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves. I thought it was 5,000 He fed? According to John 6:10 the “men” numbered about 5,000. Including the “women and children” (Matthew 14:21), the crowd probably numbered somewhere closer to about 15,000 or more.

Jesus walked on water, no regular human could ever do that, except Peter did at Jesus’ command and with Jesus’ help. Jesus turned water into wine.  He gave sight to the blind, He healed the sick and the lame, cast out demons, and He even raised the dead to life this is just to name a few.

Whatever the specific works are that Jesus has in mind for you to be a part of, what defines them is that they are pointers to Jesus which help people believe in Him. I have seen people come to faith in Jesus because a group of believers got together and built a ramp for the homeowner to be able to enter their home. To them, it was a miracle. They didn’t have the funds for a ramp and they couldn’t see a way with their new challenge of how they could even access their home. “I had about given up hope in God, hope in humanity, and then God sent me a group of people who were filled with the love of Christ. I saw God’s love for me was real and I received my miracle as I believed in Jesus.”

Miracles are a witness along with Jesus’ words that lead people to faith. That’s what His works do, and He is saying, that’s what our works through Him will do. “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do” — the works point people to faith.

“Whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing” and as impressive as it is to think about that, He doesn’t stop there, “and they will do even greater things than these”.

What could be greater than that? We get a clue from the text of what Jesus is talking about and this is moving from Old Covenant before the cross to New Testament after the cross. The first clue is the phrase at the end of verse 12, “because I am going to the Father.” We will be able to do these works because Jesus is going to the Father. And the other clue is the text of what Jesus said to His disciples after He was raised from the dead, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:21–23).

The Spirit in you will be the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ. The message you preach will be the message not of a promised ransom but a paid ransom, a complete payment, a finished propitiation. Your sin debt has been fully paid at the cross. Because Christ lives in you, you can do the work of Jesus. You can reveal God to the world.

And in the power of that absolutely new experience — the indwelling of the crucified and risen Christ — your works of love and your message of life in union with Christ, will point people to the glory of the risen Son of God, and you will be the instrument of their forgiveness on the basis of the finished work of Christ (John 20:23). This will be new. This will be greater than Jesus’ earthly miracles because this is what He came to accomplish by His death and resurrection. In the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ the greater works were made possible (John 14:12).

In John 6 after Jesus performed some more miracles, all but the 12 left Him from the crowd. Compare that to the Day of Pentecost when Peter preached and 3,000 were saved on that day alone and became a part of the Body of Christ. Jesus did great miracles throughout his ministry here on earth, but fewer people came to saving faith during His public ministry than they did in the first days of the early church when Jesus went to the Father. While Christ brought Lazarus back from the dead—we are to do the even greater work which is to bring people from spiritual death to life through the very message of the Gospel which we preach and proclaim. “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all (Acts 4:33).  

The Promise of Peace

The Promise of Peace

Daily Reading: (John 14:1-2, 27):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Peace is an interesting emotion as it is one of two Kingdom emotions that God wants your life to have right now, the other being joy. Peace and joy. These are the two emotions the devil works the hardest to try and remove from your life because they are Kingdom emotions. This is what you will experience for all of eternity in heaven, perpetual inner peace and great joy.  And what that means is every time you seek Christ’s kingdom and His righteousness, the righteousness that He has given to you, the emotions of both peace and joy will be present. You can find joy even in what would seem to be joyless moments and so I believe one of the main reasons the devil works so hard to try and rob us of peace and joy is those are the most attractive emotions that give us an opportunity to bring forth the very Light of the World to the lost and hurting people of the world.

If you make a choice to seek or pursue something outside the Kingdom or that might bring glory to God, peace and joy will not be present. So what this means is that your peace and joy are not linked to what happens to you, or what comes on you, it is linked directly to what you have in Christ (access to the Kingdom).

When bad things happen, use them as reminders to seek the Kingdom and the promise is you will have the Kingdom emotions flowing out of you of peace and joy. When bad things that come by way of the enemy will cause you to seek the kingdom first that will completely dismantle the enemy’s strategy. The devil is only able to rob from you, peace and joy by getting your mind on your situation instead of your Savior.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Trouble is coming on the disciples and Jesus wants His disciples (which includes all believers) to be ready, to not be moved to trouble but to be brought and kept by peace. To start the chapter off in John 14, Jesus says:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Did you notice what just happened? Jesus modeled for us what we are to do to not let our hearts be troubled, seek or reflect on the kingdom (John 14:1-2). In verse two, Jesus starts talking about the kingdom. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

Now moving ahead in the text Thomas at this point is troubled because he wants the GPS coordinates of how to get to the kingdom. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way” (John 14:5)?  There are two questions for me to answer here. The first question is for a non-believers? How do I get to heaven? How do I get to spend eternity on streets of gold with unending joy and peace where I am in the very presence of God forever? It is the grandest question of all time. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Anyone who believes in Jesus as the Messiah, the One who paid the penalty for their sins on the cross- John‘s Gospel tells us they will not perish but have everlasting life. If you place your trust in Christ today as your means of salvation- you have just found the way (Jesus Christ) to the Kingdom. 

Now the second question is for anyone who already is a believer. How do I have peace in the middle of my life’s storm?Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” But Pastor Matt, Jesus is talking about the way to the kingdom. And what does the kingdom bring? “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus showed us the way to the kingdom through Himself, so that we might have the kingdom emotion of peace right now. There is a promise of peace which takes us back to our main verse today.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus has permanently given you His peace (John 14:27). It is available to you whenever you put your mind on the Kingdom.

Trouble and Peace

Daily Reading: (John 14:1, 27, John 16:33):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

What I absolutely love about this text is that the promise is not an absence of trouble and fear but peace in it.

I have found that two real enemies to peace in my life are in fact trouble and fear. Jesus instead of listing all of the potential troubling things we could experience, uses the Greek word that describes the condition troubling things can bring (to agitate, to take away calmness of mind, make restless, strike one’s spirit with fear and dread, to render anxious). Do not let your hearts take away calmness of your mind and fear.

There is no need to allow those troubling things to cause fear in your spirit, rob you of the calmness of your mind, make you restless and anxious and lead about timidity in your life.

Those troubling things are the opposite of what God has given you as He has given us the peace of Christ that’s why Paul writes to his young protégé Timothy: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God has given us a spirit of power (not timidity) a spirit of love- because perfect love cast out all fear, and of a sound, calm of mind.

Jesus guarantees trouble for us in this world (John 16:33). Even Jesus’ disciples thought that somehow their connection to Jesus meant an absence of trouble. This was obviously not their experience and it is not ours either. 

You will have trouble in this world, and if that is where Jesus finished his sentence I guess all we could expect would be timidity, fear, a lack of calmness of mind. But that is not the final word over your trouble. The final word over your trouble is, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Take heart (tharseō) – be of good cheer, be of good comfort. Because “I have overcome the world.” If we understand this Greek word for overcome then we are enabled to have courage in trouble, we are able to have the peace of Christ in all things.

(nikaō) – I carry off the victory. I have been victorious over all of your enemies.

So because of Jesus’ victory over our foes (victory over our trouble), we can have peace and we do not have to fear when the already defeated trouble comes (John 14:27, John 16:33).  

Don’t lose heart when trouble comes because Christ will carry you off in victory(John 16:33). Don’t let the calmness of your mind leave because of what is happening around you, instead, place your confidence in me (John 14:1).

At the cross the disciples thought their Messiah was being defeated. Jesus as He takes His last breath declares our victory in John 19:30 “it is finished.” God’s salvation plan, the masterpiece to redeem humanity is complete. He has overcome the world!!! “It is finished” comes from one Greek word (teleō). In the days of Jesus, a servant would use it when reporting to his master: “I have completed the work assigned to me.” Jesus said those final words to the Father. (John 17:4) The word means, “It is finished, it stands finished and it will always be finished!” Perhaps the most significant meaning of teleō is how it is used by merchants: “The debt is paid in full!” When Jesus gave Himself on the cross, He met fully the righteous demands of the law. He paid our debts in full! Today, it is not our works that will bring us the blessings, or will bring us to a settled mind, it is Christ’s finished work. It is confidence and trust in Christ alone (John 14:1, John 19:30). Our blessings are a result of Jesus defeating sin and death and granting us restoration in relationship with God as our Father- which means favor with God forever. Our blessings come by way of Christ’s finished work. It is not our works that gave us access to blessing, or that will bring us to a settled mind, it is Christ’s finished work. It is confidence and trust in Christ alone (John 14:1, John 19:30). 

Maybe you are faced with overwhelming odds today. Jesus promises, “It is finished!” You are not going to be delivered, because you have already been delivered. You are not going to be healed because you are already healed! God healed you 2,000 years ago! Isaiah 53:5 declares, “By His stripes you are healed!” Keep resting in His finished work and it will manifest itself in your life! Our blessings have been bought by His blood! Live life knowing that there is nothing for you to do—only believe! It is finished!

So, you will have trouble in this world (we can testify to that) but you don’t have to be troubled. You can have confidence in Christ finished work at the cross (John 14:1). He offers to us healing, forgiveness, His righteousness, and He has given us the Comforter as our aid, (John 14:16) who will continue to point us to Jesus and His finished work.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Daily Reading: John 14:1-3,16,17,26- Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
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John chapter 14 starts off with the header, “Jesus comforts His Disciples”. The Greek word for disciple (mathētēs) simply means a learner of Jesus. Although, Jesus was comforting His twelve disciples in this text, He is also bringing comfort to us as well, who also are learners of Jesus too.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me”. Whatever causes you trouble and takes away the calmness of your mind do not allow your soul to be stirred up instead place your confidence in God and in Christ.
It is not our work that will bring a settled mind, it is Christ’s finished work. It is confidence and trust in Christ (John 14:1, John 19:30). For the Greek word (teleo) “it is finished” was used by merchants to say “the debt is paid in full!”
So, you will have trouble in this world but you don’t have to be troubled because you can have confidence in Christ finished work at the cross (John 14:1) that He offers to us healing, forgiveness, His righteousness, and He has given us the Comforter as our aid always with us (John 14:16).
We have the One (Holy Spirit) who points us to the Truth (Jesus) and as we are pointed to the Truth (Jesus) we find comfort. Our hearts are no longer troubled as we place are confidence in His finished work (John 14:16,26).