I was sitting in a Sunday night house gathering on a Sunday night (der) with some of my favourite people. Favourite both because I like them and also because they are people who are after the same things I am after. God being able to be all of who God is, no matter what that looks like in their families, their communities, their own lives.
I was reflecting with a friend as people broke into small groups to pray together that I wished I could have seen what the early church gatherings really looked like; how they really functioned. I often mull over the things we might have lost or gained down the years, time having travelled so far from the first hand experiences of the original Apostles. Actually, right now, I can’t remember whether this was out loud, or in my head…D’oh!
It put me in mind of that sentence Jesus said that we often gloss over, because we don’t understand it, or at the very least we’re not exactly sure how it could possibly happen.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” John 14:12 (NIV)
How? How can we do greater things than Jesus, when John wrote that if every miraculous thing that Jesus did was written down, the world wouldn’t be big enough to contain the books it would need to contain them all.
How could it be possible to outstrip the perfect man-who-is-also-God?
I think there are several things to consider. Jesus said it Himself in this passage and in others:
The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:10-13 (NIV)
So when we choose The Narrow Way, we get not only the benefit of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ in us, but God the Father who was in Christ in the first place! Then there’s the triple loading of the Holy Spirit…
So there I am, that Sunday night, listening to testimonies of people having been out there the day before, praying for others, talking to others, sharing their lives, praying for and seeing healing, and it’s a mix of ages from teens to adults and mature people.
I think this is another way that we can do those ‘greater works’ that Jesus was talking about. By being multi-generational God-chasers. All egging each other on to bigger and better things in God, and when the striplings out-do us, we encourage them, and teach them to encourage the next generation to out-strip them when they come along.
One of the things that we can lose in the journey is the experience of previous generations. Growing up, I didn’t have any idea that there was a revival in the 70’s. It wasn’t expressed in our family narrative, and it wasn’t expressed as part of the narrative of any person who was in my circle of influence.
Another way we all lose out, is to guard our own experience so jealously that we close down something that God is doing in the next generation which does not look like we want it to, or doesn’t look like our own previous experience.
I was once told; ‘You always make a plan, so that you know what you’re being flexible around.’ I think this was part of my training for being so comfortable with chaos. God never fits into any box I’ve found, and I don’t ever think I want Him to. I don’t think I could deal with life if I understood all of who God is. The horrible things would be too horrible, and the great things wouldn’t be quite so amazing anymore.
I really love knowing that no matter what, there is always more of who God is to discover, and more of Him to apply to the world around me. There’s also more to me than I know too, because He sees more of me than I do, and every time I turn around, there is more to understand, more to explore.
This applies also to the rest of the world. If I will see Gods’ potential in you and you will see it in your neighbour and they will see it in their neighbour etc, then in a generation, the world can be on fire…
God Bless You Very Much