Dr. Ed Young - You Can Do Greater Works
A lot of people like trivia. Now, we hear trivia and we say, whoa. Trivia like, I don't know, beetles taste like apples, hmm. Wasps taste like pine nuts, hmm. Worms taste like fried bacon. Now, if you doubt that, Mark experimented, he'll tell you that absolutely is true. Trivia, trivia. Giraffes clean their ears out because they have a 21-inch tongue. Ooh. Easter, everybody gets a little bunny covered in chocolate, 90% of them will eat the ears off first. Trivia, trivia. But also, there are some facts. Trivia, we say, ooh, and facts, we say, wow, and here's a wow fact. The Hubble satellite up there is 380 miles from earth. That's about the distance from here to my home town of Laurel, Mississippi, about 380 miles.
Hubble is up there, exploring outer space, 380 miles up. If the Hubble telescope was turned around and focused back toward the earth, that telescope would be able to read your license plate numbers. Wow. Hey, that's a wow, hey. Wow. So keep your blinds closed. Scientists have invented a computer chip that will go into the jaw of an ant, and on that chip, it will contain all the numbers that are in the Houston phone book. Wow. But of all the wow facts is a big time wow. We hear something stated that's over-the-top, that's beyond our understanding, that's almost impossible to believe, and we exclaim, wow, wow. That's amazing. That's staggering, that's beyond the pale.
And that's the scriptures we're going look at especially today. But we have to get the setting of the scripture. Remember, the context? Jesus had entered Jerusalem. Psalm Sunday, all the Hosannas had subsided. He had only a few days to live. He gathers with the apostles and he gives them last instructions, principles they need to know, principles they need to live by. And so, in the process of preparing them, He lets them know that He is going to leave soon, He's going to die, He's going to be resurrected, He's going to be out of there, and they cannot understand it. They've been intimate companions day and night, three and a half years, and now He says, I'm going, and therefore you have three of the apostles ask three questions. They use the Socratic method of teaching.
You know, Socrates, the way he taught, he'd ask questions. He'd just ask a question, ask a question. That's the Socratic method of teaching. This is what we find in the Gospel of John. We have three apostles asking questions. We have Peter asking a question, we have Thomas asking a question, and we have Philip asking a question. Now, listen to these questions. Jesus saying, the context, I'm about to be gone. I'm going to leave you. And here's the question that Peter asks. John 13:36. "Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, where are You going? Jesus answered, Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later. Peter said to Him," sort of a sub-question, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for You. Jesus answered, Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you," there it is. "Truly, truly, I say to you," whoop, you don't tiptoe. "Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times".
We know that took place. And then Jesus goes on to answer his questions about leaving and He gives us a tremendous word that all of us need. Jesus said, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many places, many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going". Isn't that a tremendous word of promise? It says that when we leave this earth, if we are children in the family of God, that Jesus will come and get us, and He will receive us when we take our life's last breath and take us to the Heaven, to that place that has been prepared uniquely for you and me to live forever and forever. "Truly, truly, I say unto you," what a word. What a word.
Now, in the context of this, I am thankful for Peter's question, but notice that Thomas didn't understand. I like doubting Thomas. He's not like we are. Have you ever been in a meeting or heard someone say, I can tell ya, that CAB, I don't know if it's going to work or not. A lotta people have put a lotta confidence in the CAB, and you sit there, having no idea what CAB stands for. And you look around, evidently everybody else does, so you don't wanna be ignorant and say, what is this CAB? Right? Right? All professions have their own little initials they throw out to us. Yeah. But see, Thomas wasn't like you are. He's not like I am. We don't just sit there and try to look wise and intelligent, all-knowing. I know what CAB is. I guess everybody knows. You really don't know? Thomas wouldn't do that. He said, Lord, I don't get it. And so he asked a question. Verse 5. "Lord, we do not know where You're going, how can we know the way"?
I like that. He wouldn't just sit there and pretend to be intelligent when he didn't understand. Peter asked, where are you going? Jesus answered. Thomas said, I don't get it. How can we know where you're going? We don't even know the way. Then Jesus gives a tremendous answer. A verse that most of us are familiar with. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on, you know Him, and you have seen Him".
What an answer. An answer of exclusivity. Jesus said, I am the way. What does that mean? I don't shop much. But recently, I was shopping, I was in one of those super giant stores, and I wanted to find something, and I saw a clerk there, and I asked where this was, and she said, follow me, I'll take you there. I said, oh no, give me the directions. She said, no, I'll take you. I said, that's too much trouble. She said, no, I'm supposed to take you. Have you had that experience? Really impressive. And so she walked all the way through aisle 15, counter four, and led me back there, right to the place with the item that I wanted.
You see, she didn't just point out the way, she didn't give me directions. She became the way. That's what Jesus said. He said, here is the chart about how you ought to go, and how you ought to live. He said, you just get in me, and I'll get inside you, and I become the way, you have a built-in guide, and a built-in compass. I am the way. Then Jesus says, I am the truth, I'm not the half-truth, the partial truth, I'm not the imaginary truth, I am objective, real truth. I am the truth. I am validity. If you want the cold, steel, candid, accurate truth, Jesus says, here it is. I am the way, I am the truth, He says, I am the life. If you really want to have life, and have it abundantly, an overflowing life, He says, I will give you that life.
Well, what a word. What a powerful word. Without the way, there is no going. Without the truth, there is no knowing. Without the life, there is no living. The way, the truth, and the life. Then He says, I'm in the Father and the Father is in Me. Now you woulda think those guys would've gotten it by now, wouldn't you? But here's Phillip. He asked the third question. Look at it. "Phillip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father and it is enough".
He asked the question that all of us have asked. There's not a single person in here hasn't asked that question. We say God, you know, I believe all this, but I wanna see you. God, I want you to speak to me. I want you to show me an audible sign. If God would show Himself to you and me, we have the idea, all of our doubts, all of our problems, all of our fears would vanish. Show us yourself. Show us the Father. And all these other questions become invalid. All these other questions are not important. We've all asked for that. Have we not? Sure, we have. And I want you to see the answer Jesus. Listen to it. It's a fabulous answer.
Verse 9. "Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and yet, you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, show us the Father? Do you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words which I say to you, I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works". Verse 11. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves".
Now here's the question, stay with me. Show us the Father, show us God. Jesus said, you're looking at Him. Jesus said, listen to my words. He says, look at my life. That's God. That's God. And then we see this wow statement. Oh. Verse 12, "Truly, truly, I say to you," duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh. There it is. "He who believes in Me," by the way, the word believe is all the way through this 14th chapter, believe, believe, believe. "He who believes in Me, the works I do, He will do also; and greater works than these He will do, because I go to the Father". Are you doing greater works in Jesus? Hmm? If not, why not? Jesus says, those who believe.
Now, some people take this scripture, they're, well, if we believe enough. If we have strong enough faith. That's not what this says. It sounds like just an average kind of person believing. Just an ordinary Christian should be doing greater works in Jesus. Well, you say, what about the great works of Jesus? Lame man, phew. He walks, a miracle. Pfft. That's a work of Jesus. A blind man, phew. Jesus took some mud and spit in it, and put some mud packs over his eyes, and. He could see, greater work. Greater work. Oh, here's a funeral procession. And they're leading a mother who is grieving over the loss of her son. And Jesus goes over and touches the coffin, and, he comes back to life.
That's a great work, isn't it? Lazarus was in the grave four days. His body was decomposing. Jesus spoke and, shew. Out comes Lazarus, alive. That's a great work, isn't it? Jesus walking on the water. That's a great work, isn't it? But Jesus says, you and I will do the works that He did, and we'll do greater works than He did. Either we don't have belief enough, we don't have enough faith. Or maybe this was a limited thing. Maybe the early church did some of those things, but they do not happen anymore. But we have to go back and ask, what was the greatest work of Jesus? Was it the miracles?
If you read Luke 10, you'll discover it wasn't the miracles. The apostles went out on a mission. They did supernatural things. They cast out demons, and they came back telling Jesus about what they had done, in His name, the power of the miraculous, the supernatural. And you know what Jesus said? Read Luke 10 sometime. Jesus said, look, that's all fine and good, but the most amazing thing is that your name is written down in heaven. That's the greater work that Jesus did. Somebody who was bad, now is good. Somebody who was evil, now is righteous. Somebody who was broken inside, of mind, and body, and heart, and soul, and now they're whole again. That's the great work of Jesus.
How many people you think were followers of Jesus when He hung on the cross? How many do you think? The apostles were AWOL, absent without leave, phew, they took off. Peter was there, and he was a non-entity. He ran. By the way, let me ask you a question about Peter. Little parentheses, here. If you were going to start a worldwide movement. A worldwide corporation. And you were going to pick your team, would you pick someone who did not have a high school education? Someone who had a fiery temper, and they were big and boisterous? Someone who was profane? Someone who didn't really earn a very good living, they just kind of fished and bummed around? Someone who had worked for you before, and you told him he had to stay awake, three different times, and he went to sleep three different times on the job? Someone that, in a moment of crisis, they had a chance to stand up for you, and your business? And they cursed, and said they didn't even know you, or anything about your business?
Would you pick somebody like that, to be one of your leaders in this new worldwide corporation you're putting together? No way. Jesus did. That is the greatest work He did, to transform lives. That's the greater work. You say, well, how does that happen? It happens now, we do greater works in Jesus, because we believe, and because where is Jesus? He has gone to be with the Father. We've got an entree in corporate headquarters. We are wired in, we are family, to He, to the one who holds all the keys to everything. That's why we can do greater works, we're sons and daughters, than Jesus did. How does this operate?
Ray Craig was a teenager, kid, coming up in our church. He was in college. A bunch of our college kids became counselors, we went down to Star of Hope. And we got some kids who were there in the shelter, underprivileged, brought up in the roughest part of our city. And so, we had a camp, and they took these kids camping, and they were boisterous. They'd never been anywhere before. But one little kid there, that Ray really liked. His name was Desmond. And Desmond was as boisterous as the rest, because when they tell Bible stories, he'd just listened, and listened. And the first night there, he went up to his counselor, Ray. He said, Ray, I live in a tough part of town. There's people shot at night, and, a lot of people are seriously hurt at night. He said, I'm afraid of the dark when the lights go out. Would you come and stand by my bed until I go to sleep?
And Ray said to that little kid, sure Desmond, I'll do that. And so every night, the lights would go out, and Ray'd stand by Desmond's bed, wait for him to go to sleep. That happened night, after night, after night. Finally, the last night, they gave an opportunity for the kids to come to know Christ. And then they asked, and those who want to receive Christ, lift their hands, little Desmond lifted his hand.
And Ray took him outside, and talked with him, spent time with him, loved him. And he prayed the prayer in a childlike, beautiful faith, to let Jesus Christ come into his life, and run his life. When they went back in, all the lights were out. Desmond went on and turned on the lights, he said, I wanna tell you what's happened to me. Isn't that great? Isn't that great? And then finally, they cut the lights back out, and, Desmond got back in his bed, and Ray went over there to his post to stand by his bed. And little Desmond looked up and whispered, Ray. You don't have to stand there anymore. Jesus is watching over me. Isn't that it? That's the great work. That's a greater work than Jesus.
Do you realize, even after the Resurrection, when Peter stood up and proclaimed the truth of Christ, that 3,000 people came to faith? Do you realize the first week of the church over 10,000 people had come to faith in Jesus Christ? Do you realize that in the first 300 years of Christianity, whereas the Roman world was filled with pagan places of worship and altars, and demonic activity, all across the Roman world, 300 years as the message of Christ went through the Roman world, almost all those heathen temples were shut down and not functioning, because millions had come to faith in Jesus Christ. Greater works than Jesus experienced anywhere in His life. Because He had gone to the Father. Are you doing greater works in Jesus? If not, why not? We could do greater works in Jesus. And that leads me to say, say it with me. Wow. Wow.
Now look at the next wow that follows right on this. Look at the next verse. It's even, in some ways, more staggering. Look at verse 13. Jesus says, "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it". Wow. You mean, if I ask, if I pray, anything, in the name of Jesus, He'll do it? That's exactly what that verse says. You say, well I've prayed a lot of things. Now the little secret there, is, in my name. In other words, we have to pray something that's according to the character of Jesus. I can't pray, Lord, you know what that person did to me? I want you to take them out.
See, we can't pray prayers of revenge, because, that's not in the character, that's not in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus means in the will of Jesus. In the will of God. It means that God sees all the way to the end. He sees the whole enchilada. He sees everything. We do not see that. Don't just stand there, going through the motions of life. This book says, and it is a reality that you and I can do greater works in Jesus. We could have prayers specifically answered. Is that happening in your life? If not, why not?
Teresa was a young nun in India. Just a little wisp of a girl. She went to her supervisor and said, I have three pennies and a dream from God to build an orphanage. The Mother Superior said, oh, Teresa. Don't you know you can't build an orphanage with three pennies? She said, oh yes, I know that. But you must not have listened to me. I said I had three pennies, and a vision from God, to build an orphanage. God wants to throw out some of those visions. He wants to throw out some of those dreams. It may be a little tiny thing. Or it may be a big thing. We start with little steps, and we begin to see people come to faith in Christ, because we invited them to church, because we simply said, look at Jesus, what He said, and look at what He did, and how He lived.
In just, a simple way, we begin to see lives change because of folks like you and me, and it is amazing before our eyes, and we're beginning to do a greater work than Jesus. We have prayers that we zero in, that we pray specifically about. And we see because we prayed in Jesus's name, those prayers are being answered. God wants it to be said, about every life. He wants every life here to be explained by one word. Listen. God wants every life here to be explained by one word. In other words, Elijah says, well tell me about this life or that. He wants a one word explanation for everybody that's here. Say, what about that life? What about that person? One word description. Wow.