Have you ever heard the question: what would Jesus do?
Bracelets and T-shirts were made with the letters WWJD printed on them. Perhaps a better question to ask is: what did Jesus tell us to do? There are portions of His commission accounts that leave no room for guessing. They tell us precisely what all of us should be doing. One of those accounts is found in the gospel of John. Jesus was nearing the end of His earthly ministry when He said to His disciples, “Truly, truly, 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 the Father” (John 14:12). Few people today say “truly, truly” when they address a crowd, but in Jesus’ day it was said to underscore a statement. He was saying in essence, “I’m about to tell you something that is most certainly the truth and don’t you forget it.” Jesus was emphasizing a truth for all to hear and obey.
Jesus continued by stating, “he who believes in Me.” Our belief (pisteuo) is to be an active and a growing faith. This present tense verb tells us to keep on believing Jesus regardless the circumstances. We are to have an enduring faith, and it is always to point toward Jesus. The preposition “in (eis)” speaks of direction. It tells us to believe “into” Jesus; we're to keep pressing into Him and no one or nothing else is to take preeminence. Our focus, attention, affection, desires, thoughts, and passions are always to be aimed toward Him. We are to lean into Jesus every moment of our lives. Like John (13:23), we’re to lean into the chest of Jesus so that we can hear the rhythm of His heartbeat. Jesus was setting a standard of intimacy in this commission account. He was stating that “go and do” always spills out of “come and be.” If we will lean into the heart of Jesus, and live from a posture of intimacy, then the activity of our lives will reflect the nature of the one we’re close to.
So, after underscoring the necessity of pressing into Jesus, He continued, “the works that I do, he will do also.” Works (ergon) refer to the activities or the deeds that Jesus accomplished. His lifestyle was filled with activities that reflected the nature of His Father because Jesus lived with His head against the heart of God (see John 1:18). Jesus leaned into the Father every moment; therefore, He only did what He saw the Father do (see John 5:19). The works of Jesus spilled out of His intimate relationship with the Father and He prayed the same for us (see John 17:21). I would like to suggest that if we’re intimate with Jesus, then the works that Jesus did will become the works that we do. Our lifestyle will replicate the same activities of Jesus. The way Jesus loved, the way He forgave, the way He ministered with compassion, the way He confronted darkness, or the way He walked in righteousness are but a few works that should be evident in our lives. “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). When people observe the activities of your life—your deeds—do they see His works?
We’ll leave the topic of “greater works” of which Jesus spoke to a later discussion, but over the next three weeks, I want to narrow down the works of Jesus to the three major activities that He dedicated Himself to. If you think about it, Jesus did many things such as: turned water into wine, calmed fierce wind, multiplied bread and fish, walked on water, confronted religious mindsets, and He even raised the dead. I believe all of these activities can be replicated if need be because they are part of the works that Jesus did. However, there were three overarching works demonstrated by Jesus that I believe are imperative for us to duplicate. These works were preaching, teaching, and healing (see Matthew 4:23; 9:35). I believe most of the works that Jesus did fell into those three central activities. Whatever ministries or programs that we might find in the local church, I’m hoping that we give ourselves to preaching, teaching, and healing. I’m praying that every person who is reading this blog will replicate Jesus in preaching, teaching, and healing. Jesus did those works, and if we believe in Him, we’ll do those works as well.
Jesus ended this commissioning account by stating, “I go to the Father” (John 14:12). There are two facts about that statement to keep in mind. First, Jesus was nearing the end of His earthly ministry and was handing ministry responsibility over to His followers. He was passing the baton and saying, “Now it’s your turn. I’ve demonstrated what intimacy with the Father looks like, now go and do what I did.” Second, He was about to dispatch the Holy Spirit to empower us. He went on to say, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16). The presence and power of the Holy Spirit has filled us and is enabling us to fulfill Jesus’ commission.
There should be no reason why we aren’t replicating the works of Jesus.