On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit empowered the Church to do a mighty work. What is the work of the Church and what does it have to do with us?
Let’s examine John 14:8-17 and the greater work that has been bequeathed to us.
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Most assuredly, 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 My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
1. A Greater Work than The Cross?
How can there be a work greater than the cross? Does Romans 5:10 give us a clue? The cross was not a complete work without Christ’s resurrection and his ascension back to heaven. We were reconciled to God through the cross, but we are saved by his life. Jesus’ death was only a first step in the process of salvation. He lives in us, and through us will complete the task of the salvation of the whole world. The greater work of the resurrection is still ongoing. How is such a remarkable work accomplished? Only if Christ lives in us and the life which we live in the flesh, we live by faith in him (Galatians 2:20).
2. A Work that Continues
The work of Jesus’ resurrection is a greater work. He multiplies his ministry through us. Resurrection is offered to all the world. Far too many have not yet heard the message. When Jesus said that we, the Church, would continue doing the works that he did, he is saying that his work on earth continues through us. That implies a cooperative relationship between us and Christ in heaven. It also implies that we know the works that he did, meaning we study his life. It also implies that we teach what he taught, meaning we study his teachings. It also means that we learn from the lives and letters of those early disciples who first continued Christ’s work on earth.
3. What is the Work?
The first greater work of the Church occurred on that Pentecost, where more were converted in one day than during the pre-cross ministry of Jesus (Acts 2:41). Taking the message of salvation to the whole world still remains. The works that the Church does are greater because Christ is no longer limited to his human body, but exists in eternity, in his heavenly glory. The work that he can accomplish through us is also not limited by our mortality. He will continue it through the next generation of Christians and the next and the next. It is a task that is to go to greater numbers of people than Jesus personally reached. Our work is indeed a greater work.
4. Who does the Work?
The greater works that Jesus spoke of were to be accomplished by the whole church, not just a few evangelists. Everyone can spread good news of an incorruptible inheritance in heaven through the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-4). When our focus is on church gossip, the offenses and annoyances that occur in every church, then our attention is not on the resurrection. Whenever we tell others of the hope that is in all of the faulty people within our church and the common joy we share of the resurrection, then our focus is in the right place. A gossip brings bad news. An evangelist brings good news. It’s really that simple. What good news will we share today?
The Holy Spirit has given our generation the power to do a greater work. It is the work of bringing good news of a fabulous future, prepared by the resurrected Jesus Christ, for all who live in him.