Nobler and Lasting
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.
During his brief ministry on earth, Jesus performed countless miracles. He healed many, fed multitudes, and even raised some from the dead. How could anyone top that? If we think of the “greater works” promised above in terms of physical miracles, we must answer, “No one.” No one has ever performed greater miracles than Jesus, or ever will. Fraudulent “healers” notwithstanding, miraculous works through human instruments are entirely unknown today. But there is a greater miracle, one that the Holy Spirit is performing still through his servants today. It is a far greater work than any physical miracle.
When the Lord spoke of His followers performing greater works, He was referring to the extent of the spiritual miracle of salvation. Jesus never preached outside of Palestine, yet His followers would spread the gospel throughout the world. Jesus had only a limited outreach to Gentiles (cf. mark 7:26ff), but the disciples (particularly Peter and later Paul) would reach the Gentile world with the gospel.
—John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: John 12–21 (Moody, 2008), 106–107.
Happy, are we ready to say, were those honored servants of Christ, who, in the early days of his church, were the benevolent and sympathising instruments of conveying miraculous healing to those whose cases seemed desperate; who poured in upon the blind and the deaf the pleasures of light and sound, and called up the dead to the flowers of action and enjoyment. But this is an honor and happiness which it is not fit for God commonly to bestow on mortal men. Yet there have been, in every age, and blessed be his name, there still are those whom he has condescended to make his instruments in conveying nobler and more lasting blessings than these to their fellow-creatures. Death has long since veiled the eyes and stopped the ears of those who were the subjects of miraculous healing, and recovered its empire over those who were once recalled from the grave. But the souls who are prevailed upon to receive the Gospel, live for ever.
—Philip Doddridge, The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (Robert Porter, 1810), 14–15.
What It Means to Be a Christian
What I Believe