Check out the two massive promises from God’s Word in John 14:12-14. One relates to us doing greater works than Jesus, and the other one relates to Jesus doing anything that we ask in his name. These promises are so big and bold that we need to make sure we understand what Jesus is saying to us when he speaks these words.
12 “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” –Jesus
Greater works than Jesus? How is that possible? And will he really do anything that we ask in his name? Does that mean if you prayed, “Jesus, in your name I ask for a new yacht,” that he would feel obligated to provide you with one? So what do these verses mean and how do we apply them to our lives?
God has work for each of us to do (v12). Those who have faith in Jesus will do the kind of works that he did when he walked the earth: teaching people the ways of God, sharing the good news, showing compassion, bringing healing, restoring relationships. These are works not just for pastors, missionaries, Bible study teachers and the super-spiritual. God has work for all of us to do.
Through us, God will do even greater works than Jesus did when he walked the earth (v12). We can be sure that our works will not be more miraculous than the works of Jesus. He walked on water, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead. Those are pretty incredible works! But one thing was true: Jesus was only in one place at one time when he walked the earth.
What the Bible is saying is that because Jesus has now gone back to heaven and has sent the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of every believer, people all over the world can be used by the Lord to do his work at the same time. At this very moment, people are serving Jesus in Thailand and Spain and Canada and Peru and all over the world. Therefore the cumulative effect of us serving him is greater than when Jesus walked the earth.
May God be glorified as Jesus works through us (v13). We should remember that none of the work we do for God is done in our own strength. He gives us our abilities, he empowers us, he leads us. As we serve the Lord, may we always direct the praise to him as he works through us.
If you ask Jesus anything in his name, he will do it (v14). This is not a name-it-claim-it promise. It’s not just using the phrase “in Jesus’ name” in your prayers. We must understand the phrase “in his name” to understand this promise. Let me illustrate. If my father sends me to an auto dealership with a certified check from his bank and clear instructions on which vehicle to purchase, I am going there in his name. I am his representative. I will ask the salesmen what my father wants me to ask him. I am there “in my father’s name.” I am there to do the will of my dad.
In the same way, the promise from Jesus to do anything we ask in his name is an invitation for us to get to know Jesus so well that the things we ask him are exactly the things he would wants us to ask. As we spend time with him in prayer and reading and studying the Bible, we get to know him better and better. Before long, we will notice that our prayer lives are in sync with him. He is our creator, our Savior and the one who knows us better than we even know ourselves. When we ask “in his name,” we are asking “according to his will.” He will certainly answer those prayers!
Be bold in your prayers. Be bold in your service to the Lord. Be grateful for the ways that God answers your prayers and the ways that he uses you for his glory.