The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 14:12 says that the person believing on Jesus will do even greater works than Jesus. How is this possible? Jesus’ answer is that he is going to the Father. He will do the things that are asked in his name.
Some Christians have used this idea as an excuse to expect some sort of power trip. Jesus healed people. Maybe we can heal people. Jesus raised the dead. Maybe we can raise the dead. Actually, I have no theological problem with those two statements. They are miracles, yet I don’t see any reason in Scripture why God must stop showing his power in those ways.
What can’t we do? There are two important things that we should realize. First, we can’t presume on God. When we ask something in Jesus’ name, we are asking in his authority. We are using his credentials. While there are some things the Bible is clear we can and should ask, such as for wisdom, for grace, for mercy and forgiveness, there are other things the Bible is clear that we may or may not be receiving. We can ask, but ultimately we count on Jesus doing what he wills. If our prayers happen to be in accord with his will, our prayers will be answered in the way we would like.
The other thing we need to realize is that we can never, never expect that we will bear the sins of the world. Jesus alone can do that, and he has taken care of it. This is what he was accomplishing on his way to the Father. And it is through his giving his life as a sacrifice for your sins and for my sins that we receive any forgiveness and grace.
What can we do that is greater than what Jesus was doing? Before the resurrection, Jesus was working with a number of disciples in Palestine in the first third of the first century. Since then, his saints have spread throughout the world, bringing the Gospel to every nation and all ages. Jesus never did this. He does it through his Church. Yes, we are involved in something greater than what Jesus was doing. He had two hands to lay on the sick. He had one voice to cheer them with God’s Word. We have countless hands and voices. May we have grace to use them boldly.
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