John 14: The Holy Spirit is God verse-by-verse (Part 2)



12 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.13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

v. 12 Jesus makes a radical claim to the disciples: you will do works greater than even I have done. Jesus is saying, “I am God, I just proved that to you, if you don’t believe my words, believe in the works I have done that only God can do. And because I am God, I will give you power to do even greater things than I have done.” For a group of untrained, inexperienced, anxiety filled, men, this was one of the most reassuring things Jesus has said to them as of late. The conditions are important: 1) believe in Me (Jesus), 2) act, 3) I must go to the Father. If none of these conditions were met, the works that the disciples did would be ineffective at best, and completely worthless at worst. Why? (see v. 15-18)

v. 13-14 These may be two of the most misused and misinterpreted verses in all of the Bible. We have to remember that context is essential when interpreting passages in the Bible. What is the context for Jesus saying, “I will do anything that you ask of me”? The context is, “you will do greater works than even I have done.”

Let’s reflect for a moment on the works that Jesus did throughout His life:

  • Jesus unconditionally loved every person, even His enemies
  • Jesus preached the good news of salvation
  • Jesus discipled men and women to follow God to the ends of the Earth
  • Jesus Himself went and sent disciples to reach the ends of the Earth
    • These first four are Jesus’ PRIMARY FOCUS
  • Jesus healed the sick
  • Jesus took care of the poor
  • Jesus met the needs of orphans and widows
  • Jesus reached out to the marginalized (prostitutes, tax collectors, the poor, the diseased, etc.)
    • These last four are Jesus’ SECONDARY FOCUS

These are the things that Jesus is saying, “if you ask in my name, I will give them to you.” Jesus’ focus was radically others-centered. Many believe this is about personal blessing. In context, that could not be farther from the truth.

So how is it possible that we can do greater works than Jesus by simply asking in His name?


15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Remember the conditions that must be met for us to do greater works than Jesus?; 1) believe in Jesus, 2) act, 3) Jesus goes to the Father. Each of these is essential because without them, the Helper, as Jesus calls Him, would not be sent. If there is no Helper, there are no greater works, which means that there is no opportunity to ask anything in Jesus’ name and have it be done by Him for us.

v. 15 This verse will be addressed later.

v. 16 For the helper to be given to us forever, Jesus must go to the Father. And this is the promise that Jesus makes to us: God will send you the Helper

v. 17 The Helper that will be with us forever is the Spirit of Truth, otherwise known as the Holy Spirit. This verse is absolutely essential to the doctrine of the trinity. Look at what Jesus says specifically, “… you already know this Spirit of Truth because be abides with you now and will (future) abide in you.” Jesus is saying this, I and the Holy Spirit are ONE. Let’s reflect, Jesus already told the disciples just a few minutes earlier that He and the Father are One. Now Jesus is telling the disciples that He and the Holy Spirit are One.

Jesus also introduces a fourth condition necessary before we can do greater works than He has done: the Holy Spirit must be received. Here are the four conditions:

1) Jesus must go to the Father
2) Believe in Jesus
3) Receive the Holy Spirit
4) Act; or do what Jesus did

            If all of these conditions are met, Jesus promises a few things:

1) You will do greater works than I did, because I will do them through the Holy Spirit, through you
2) The Holy Spirit will be in you forever
3) You will know the Father
4) You will have the power to keep my commandments (v. 15)

Let’s summarize:

1) Jesus has said that He and the Father are One, and now says that He and the Holy Spirit are One
2) In order to do greater works that Jesus, He must die and go to the Father, we must believe in Him, we must receive the Holy Spirit, and we must choose to do what He did (listed above)

v. 18 Jesus reassures the disciples once again that their anxiety does not have to lead them to despair because “…He will not leave them as orphans, He will come to them in the Holy Spirit…”

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian? This can be thought about in an eight-fold way.

1) The Holy Spirit EMPOWERS us to follow Jesus and do what He did (John 14:12)
2) The Holy Spirit INTERCEDES for us in our weakness (John 14:13-14; Romans 8:26)
3) The Holy Spirit TRANSFORMS us into the image and likeness of Christ (John 14:15; Philippians 1:6; Galatians 3:2)
4) The Holy Spirit SEALS us guaranteeing our inheritance, which is eternal life and a place in the Father’s house (John 14:16; Ephesians 1:13-14)
5) The Holy Spirit INDWELLS us to regularly convict us of sin and righteousness (John 14:17; John 16:9)
6) The Holy Spirit REGENERATES us by repairing the damage done by our sin nature (John 14:18-19; John 3:3)
7) The Holy Spirit BAPTIZES us into Jesus Christ such that when we believe in Him and receive the Holy Spirit, we have already gone through the wage of sin, which is death, and therefore are cleansed of our sin nature and can be in the presence of the Father, in His house, as His children. (Romans 6:4)
8) The Holy Spirit ENLIGHTENS us so that we understand the Father and His promises, what Jesus has accomplished at the cross, how to follow Him, how to use our gifts for the expansion of the kingdom, how to live contented when the world is falling apart, so on and so forth. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:18)


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