To Do The Deeds Of Christ
May 18, 2008
日本キリスト教団 頌栄教会牧師 清弘剛生 Pastor Takao Kiyohiro, Shoei Church, Church of Christ, Japan
Translator M.A.F., Indiana, USA
You Will Come To Do Greater Deeds
1. Philip said to Jesus, "Oh Lord, please show us the father. If you do, we will be satisfied." Whereupon, Jesus said the following. "Philip, even though I have been with you for such a long time, don't you understand me? The person who has seen me has seen the father. Why do you say, 'Please show us the father.'?," (verse nine).
2. "The person who has seen me has seen the father." That's right. Jesus has shown us the father. God the only Son has shown us on this earth what kind of being God the Father is. He has shown society at large, that "The God in whom you should believe is this kind of person," but society has made up a selfish image of God, and does things like being afraid [of God], or the opposite, despising [God], or worse, hating God within one's heart. He didn't just show us with words. He showed us with his day to day life, he made it clear with his own body, he revealed it with his deeds.
3. Therefore, the Lord says the following. "Believe what I am saying, that I am in the father, [and] the father is in me. If you don't believe it, believe it because of the very deeds themselves," (verse ten). "The very deeds themselves" are not limited to the work of miracles that Jesus did. It is everything that Jesus ever did. Everything that Jesus did had a message in it for society. The deeds that Jesus did speak of the love from God the Father, [so] willing to save humankind. The life of Jesus, his walk going from the cross and beyond to the resurrection, even the very existence of Jesus speaks of the love of God. It speaks of the love of God who still loves this world even though it rebels against God and has separated from God. "The person who has seen me has seen the father." God the Father loves you that much. God, who loves you, is in me and is performing the deeds. Believe through those deeds. This is how the Lord calls out to [you].
4. But the time was coming closer and closer by the minute for Jesus, who had thus shown us the father, to go back to the father. So, the Lord went on to say the following to his disciples. "I truly say to you. The person who believes in me will do the deeds that I do and will do even greater deeds. For, I am going to the father," (verse twelve).
5. The person who believes in me will do the deeds that I do! That's what Jesus said. [As for] the work of Jesus, who said "The person who has seen me has seen the father," who will take it over? Who will take over the work of revealing God's love to the world and bringing God's salvation? It will be none other than the disciples of Jesus. That is, it will be the church which begins from them. The flock which believes in Jesus Christ will take over.
6. What's more, the Lord says, they "will do greater deeds." In a certain sense, the work of Jesus was restricted to an extremely narrow region. During his public work Jesus never went outside of Palestine. But, Jesus knew that after he had gone back to heaven, his work would spread out wider and wider. Before long it left Judea for Samaria, then it spread further out, to Greece and to Rome. The wonderful works of God's salvation kept spreading out. The Lord foretold that the disciples "will do greater deeds." And in fact it came to pass exactly as he had said it would. The wonderful works of God's salvation have even come as far as Japan. It reached even to us living in the Far East.
7. Of course, we should not consider ourselves as the final destination for "the greater works" of which Jesus speaks. God's plan is very very great. The Lord is saying the same thing to us who believe in Jesus here in Japan, that "The person who believes in me will do the deeds that I do and will do even greater deeds."
8. Everybody, Jesus is saying, "The person who believes in me." He does not say they are "certain special people." Being especially gifted doesn't matter. Being young or old doesn't matter. Being healthy or whether lying down on a bed of sickness doesn't matter. He only says, "The person who believes in me." That's enough. No matter who you are, if you believe in Christ, God is willing to reveal his love to the world through that person. No matter how small and poor a congregation may be, God will use the church that believes in Christ in order to further his work of salvation. Anyone who believes in Christ will do the deeds of Christ and will do even greater deeds. That is the will of God. We are called for that purpose. The church exists for that purpose.
[We] Ask In The Name Of Jesus
9. However, in order that "We do the deeds of Christ and we do greater deeds," we must pay heed to what Jesus goes on to say.
10. First off, the Lord puts it like this. "Whatever you ask in my name I will grant to you. Thus, the father will receive glory through the son. If you ask anything in my name, I will grant it to you," (verses thirteen and fourteen). We need to really remember the words of Jesus' promise. When the church regards itself as not merely doing "the deeds of humans" but as doing "the deeds of Christ," then "prayer" will always become important. We are to ask in the name of Jesus. The works of Christ are done as per the method of we "ask" and Christ "grants" it.
11. Actually, a phrase similar to this one is found in chapter sixteen. "On that day you will no longer question me in regard to anything. I truly say to you. If you ask my father for anything in my name, the father will give it to you. Until now, you have not asked for anything according to my name. Ask. When you do, it will be given and you will be filled with joy," (16:23-24). There it has "The father will give it to you." In saying, "Christ will grant it to you," it also means, "The father will give it to you." As per the method of we "pray" and Christ "grants," God reveals his love, and the work of salvation which the father is ready to give comes into realization.
12. How about this [you may wonder]? You might hear this and wonder isn't that a bit sluggish and unstreamlined? It's odd. Why would God do things in such a roundabout way? Any way you look at this, it seems to be ineffective. Don't you think it would be better if he did not do things in such a roundabout way, and he furthered the work of salvation unrelated to these acts that we do, like asking and praying?
13. But, this is God's way of doing it. God is not about efficiency consciousness. God puts more value on our lives and existence than on efficiency. God respects our wills, namely, this will of ours whereby we are able to ask or not to ask. He is not willing to further anything without a relationship to us. Consistently so, in the intercommunication during prayer, he says, "Let's do it together!" Why is this so? In chapter sixteen Jesus clearly says [why]. So that "You will be filled with joy." God has been thinking about our joy. Isn't that actually the truth? The person who cares not whether others are saved will probably never discover the joy of when a person is saved. When we ask from the heart for someone's salvation, and keep praying in earnest, and Jesus himself reveals the love of God to that person and saves him or her, then we will be overflowing with great joy over it.
14. "The person who believes in me will do the deeds that I do and will do even greater deeds." That will first be fulfilled through our prayers. Thus, shouldn't we be seeking in much prayer that the deeds of Christ be revealed upon those around us, on this earth? -- Because the Lord says, "If you ask anything in my name, I will grant it to you."
The Spirit Of Truth In You
15. Then, another promise that Jesus gives to us is the promise that Jesus will ask the father and he will give the Holy Spirit to us. The Lord said, "I will ask the father. The father will send another defender and he will let him be with you forever," (verse sixteen).
16. Christ returned back to heaven and then sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in this passage is described as "a defender, an advocate." Some people may feel it a bit odd and wonder why "defender" is found here in this passage so right out of the blue. In truth, this is the word "paracletes." And I sometimes think it would be better to keep it in its original spelling as "paracletes" and not as "defender" because it is a very broad and richly detailed word so that it is inexpressible with just one Japanese [word].
17. Of course, as courtroom terminology "defender" is pretty good. But though it has "defender" we should not imagine a professional attorney like today because they don't have the governmental qualifications in the first place. In referring to a defender it means, in essence, a person who is one's ally. In most cases, it would be a relative or a close friend. In addition, the scripture also gives translations like "helper." It also has the translation of "comforter." In short it is a person who becomes an ally, it is a close friend, it is a helper, it is a comforter, and meaning those things, Jesus said that he had sent the paracletes. He says that this one called the Holy Spirit is this kind of being. That is the promise given to the disciples. It is the promise given to those who believe in the Lord.
18. This Holy Spirit as Paracletes is called "The Spirit Of Truth." Please look at verse seventeen. "This one is the spirit of truth. Since the world neither sees nor knows this spirit, it cannot receive it. But, you know this spirit; for, this spirit is with you, and from here on it will be in you," (verse seventeen).
19. As "the spirit of truth," the Holy Spirit enlightens us to the truth. What is this truth? It is Jesus Christ, it is the love of God revealed through Christ. It is the truth of salvation that comes from God who is love. As a matter of fact, according to the workings of the Holy Spirit, [we] have believed in Jesus Christ. According to the workings of the spirit of truth, [we] have discovered the love of God. We have found out that our sins are atoned for through the cross of Christ, and that we have entered into a relationship with God. And we have found out that God as Love will one day save us completely. According to the workings of the spirit of truth, [we] have been transformed into persons who rejoice in God the Father. The spirit of truth will continue to point to the truth from here on, and will be with us, and will be in us, it will be [our] defender, it will be [our] helper, it will be [our] comforter.
20. We are not expected by any definition whatsoever to fight the battle alone. It is precisely because of the fact that the spirit of truth is [here] that we can keep the work of Christ going. It is precisely because of the One as the Paracletes that we can respond to the words of Jesus that we "will do greater deeds."
21. "The person who believes in me will do the deeds that I do and will do even greater deeds." That's what Jesus says. Therefore, boldly and without hesitation, let's pray in the name of Jesus. Let's ask. Let's become persons who live trusting more and more in the deeds of the Holy Spirit who is in us.