“Most assuredly, 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 My Father.” John 14:12
Last time we learned we can do greater works than Christ when we grow closer to His Person (John 14:7-11). The second way to do greater works than Christ is to GRASP HIS PROMISE (John 14:12). Jesus said to His eleven believing disciples, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me…” (John 14:12a). Christ is saying, “Anyone who believes in Me will do what I have been doing.” Jesus had been revealing His Father through His words and works. Now He said something that went back to His exhortation in verse 1. If they would have faith in Jesus, the disciples would become instruments through which the Father would reveal Himself through them just as the Father had done through Jesus.
“Most assuredly, 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 My Father.” (John 14:12b). Christ promises that if they would have faith in Him, they would do “greater works than” He had done on earth. Does that mean they would feed fifty thousand people instead of five thousand people with five small loaves of bread and two sardine-sized fish? No. Does it mean the disciples would calm an entire ocean instead of a lake? No. Does it mean they would resurrect a man who has been dead forty days instead of Lazarus who had been dead four days? No.
Christ is saying the disciples would do “greater works” in EXTENT than Jesus did on earth, not “greater works” in QUALITY. Jesus only lived in Palestine, but the apostles would travel throughout the known world. The reason His disciples would do greater works than He had done is because He would “go to the Father.” Later Jesus would explain that when He went to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit to assist them in the ministry (cf. John 14:16-17; 15:26-27; 16:7-11).
What Jesus means here can be seen in the book of Acts. The miracles of the apostles were no greater in quality than Jesus’ miracles. In fact, none of the apostles changed water into wine, created food (loaves and fish), calmed the sea, withered a fig tree with their spoken word, walked through a door, nor walked on water (Peter only walked on water when Jesus was present and with His help).
However, like Jesus, the apostles did do miracles of healing (Acts 3:11; 5:16; 6:8; 8:7; 9:40-41; 15:12; 19:12; 28:8-9) including the raising of the dead (Acts 9:34-36; 20:9-12). All together the apostles raised two people from the dead (Acts 9:34-36; 20:9-12), but Jesus raised four people including Himself (Matthew 9:23-26, 35-43; Luke 7:11-16; John 11:20) not to mention the many people who were resurrected during His death and resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53). When you compare the number of accounts which record the healing miracles of Jesus and the apostles, for instance, in Matthew alone – there are twenty references to Jesus healing people but in Acts there are only eight references to the apostles healing people.
The apostles did no more healing miracles (including raising the dead) or casting out demons than Jesus did. In fact, it could be argued that they did less. Miracles are important, but the apostles did even greater works than these by preaching the gospel to thousands of people. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached a sermon and three thousand people were converted (Acts 2:41). Some Bible students argue that there were more converts after Peter’s first sermon than are recorded during Jesus’ entire earthly ministry. The apostles shared the gospel well beyond Palestine and in this sense, they did greater works than Jesus.
The chorus of the hymn, “It took a Miracle,” goes:
“It took a miracle to put the stars in place;
It took a miracle to hang the worlds in space;
But when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole;
It took a miracle of love and grace.”
The greatest miracle of all is the conversion of a sinner by God’s amazing grace.
As followers of Jesus, we can do “greater works” in extent than Jesus did when He was on earth in the sense that He never physically lived in your town or community. He never walked bodily down the streets of New York City or Manila in the Philippines. He did not visit Rome, Italy or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nor did Jesus work with the people whom you work with nor live next to your neighbors.
You can tell religious people like Nicodemus that they must be born again (John 3). You can tell people here with no hope like the Samaritan woman at the well, that there is hope in the Savior of the world (John 4). You may not be a Billy Graham or a Mannie Pacquiao, but the fact that you are physically present here and can personally minister to these individuals means you have a ministry beyond those gifted men. You have a unique opportunity to share Christ in the area where you live like never before! Christ only lived in Palestine, He did not live in the Philippines or in the United States.
So Jesus wanted to convince His disciples He was not disbanding them in anticipation of His departure. Rather, He was expecting them to continue His work and do even greater things than He had done while He was away. And He is counting on you and me to do the same. Instead of being so preoccupied with the spread of Covid-19, let’s be more preoccupied with spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!!!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You could have entrusted Your gospel message to angels to proclaim it around the world. But instead You have entrusted every Christian with the privilege of proclaiming Your life-changing gospel message with the people in our lives. Help us to believe Your promise of doing greater works in extent than You did when You lived in Palestine. You have given us everything we need to continue Your work here on earth – Your promises, the privilege of prayer, a new nature, and the Holy Spirit to empower us. Thank You, my Lord and my God, for giving us such an incredible opportunity to represent You where we live. By Your grace, may each of us make You known to others all for Your glory. In Your mighty name I pray. Amen.
In recent days I have spoken with people whom I greatly respect as mentors and dedicated followers of Christ who mentioned to me that they are anticipating another Great Spiritual Awakening in America and around the world. The impetus? The mistreatment of children.
One of the darkest expressions of human depravity today is found in human trafficking. According to the definition of the United Nations, human trafficking means, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation.”1 Victims of human trafficking are exploited through different types of human slavery such as sex work, forced labor, or organ removal and selling.
According to The International Labour Organization, there are approximately 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.2 The Fox News Investigative Unit also confirms this, saying, “Every year more than 40 million people are forced into the world of human trafficking across the globe and it’s someone’s son or daughter that is trapped in this modern-day slavery.” 3 Of these millions of victims, 25 percent are children, 75 percent are female, and 81 percent are trapped in some form of forced labor. 4
The 24.9 million people exploited for forced labor includes those caught in one of the most common forms of trafficking: sex trafficking. 5 Women and girls are overwhelmingly affected by exploitation of this sort, making up 99 percent of victims in the commercial sex industry. 6 Sex trafficking alone generates an estimated $99 million per year. 7
While human trafficking affects victims of all ages, children are especially vulnerable. About one out of seven endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2017 were likely child sex trafficking victims. 8 Of the 15.4 million forced into marriage worldwide, 37 percent are children. 9
Human trafficking is also a serious problem in the USA.According to the Fox News Investigative Unit, America is among one of the worst nations for human trafficking along with Mexico and the Philippines. 10 Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), said in an interview with Fox News, “We have a major issue here in the United States. The United States is the No. 1 consumer of sex worldwide. So we are driving the demand as a society…We do have men traveling the globe to go to places like Thailand and other places in East Asia to purchase sex with kids. But, in fact, the demand is so great that the supply has needed to be filled here in the United States.” Rogers also said that 50% to 60 % of these kids are coming out of the foster care industry in America. 11
According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, over 300,000 of America’s young population is considered at risk for sexual exploitation. It’s also estimated that 199,000 incidents occur within the U.S. each year. 12
According to DeliverFund’s website, in the USA, every 2.5 hours a child is taken by traffickers; every trafficked child is purchased for sex 5.4 times a day; 7 years is the average lifespan of a child victim once taken. 13
One teenage sex trafficking survivor known as “C” says, “Five men came in and it went from a Friday night to a Sunday morning — constantly. There was no sleep or break or anything it was just constantly being attacked by these men, and they kept giving me drugs and giving me liquor. And they just kept me hopped up.” 14
Sex trafficking is also connected to politicians in the USA as the more recent Jeffrey Epstein case has shown. 15 I wonder how many political candidates will address the pandemic of child trafficking along with the COVID pandemic as the November Presidential elections draw near?!!! This is not likely if they are also connected to this shameful industry.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 is causing an increase in isolation and human vulnerabilities that traffickers are eager to exploit. 16 “With many people stuck at home, stressed, or bored, pornography use has increased – Pornhub’s traffic shot up nearly 20 percent in late March. Sites like OnlyFans, a subscription-based social media platform used heavily by sex workers, have increasingly drawn unemployed people desperate for cash. OnlyFans saw a 75 percent increase in signups in March and April. Glamour magazine reported that up to 10,000 creators were joining OnlyFans daily during the month of May.” 17
Pornography has become an entryway for purchasing people for sex.18 Amanda Eckhardt, the executive director of Restore NYC, a faith-based nonprofit that works with immigrant survivors of sex trafficking, says, “It’s important for the church to know that beyond the shutdown and pandemic, there will likely be a whole new cohort of people who will increase beyond traditional pornography viewing to purchasing sex, which will intersect with the trafficking of women and girls.”19
I do not want to leave out the fact that childsexual abuse is also a problem in churches. Countless children have been sexually exploited by Catholic priests, nuns, and members of religious orders around the world. 20 Even among evangelical churches, there are young people being exploited sexually by their church leaders. 21 Regardless of culture or religion, the sexual exploitation of children is a very dark reality.
Let’s not forget the horrific treatment of unborn children worldwide. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 73 million abortions took place each year around the world between 2015 and 2019. 22 Since the legalization of abortion on demand in the USA, over 50 million unborn children have been torn apart in their mother’s womb through abortion procedures. 23
WHAT IS GOD’S RESPONSE TO THE MISTREATMENT OF CHILDREN?
Young children are very valuable to Jesus. They have a special place of love and respect from Him. Jesus said, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10). Little children are very valuable to God as demonstrated by how close their guardian angels stand to the throne of God. Christ said, “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14). God the Father does not want any little child to perish forever in hell.
We also see Jesus’ concern for little children in Matthew 19:13-15:“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.” Jesus rebukes those who forbid little children from coming to Him. He says not to forbid little children from coming to Him because “the kingdom of heaven” is occupied by those who possess childlike faith in Jesus.
One of Jesus’ strongest statements against the mistreatment of children is seen in Matthew 18. “5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. 6 But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6). To welcome children and serve them is to welcome and serve Jesus (18:5). So if you want fellowship with Jesus, you must treat children and those who are childlike with tender love and care. Otherwise, Jesus warns of the great danger of causing them to stumble. He says it would be better to drown in the depth of the sea with a heavy stone hung around your neck than to cause a child to get tripped up (18:6). I can think of nothing worse that exploiting children sexually! Those who do so without getting right with God, must face the wrath of Jesus Christ!
In the Old Testament when God’s people sacrificed their children to pagan gods, the Lord’s wrath was kindled against them. “36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, 38 and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they were defiled by their own works, and playedthe harlot by their own deeds. 40 Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance.” (Psalm 103:36-40; cf. Deuteronomy 18:10; 2 Kings 16:3; 17:17). What we are seeing in the world today with children being sacrificed on the altars of sexual exploitation and abortion is equally abhorrent to the Lord and invites His wrath.
The God of the Bible is holy and cannot be around our sin (Psalm 5:4; 66:18; Isaiah 59:2;Romans 3:23; 6:23). He hates sin (Psalm 45:7; Proverbs 6:16; Zechariah 8:17), but He does not hate sinners. God loves sinners and wants to save them from sin’s penalty (eternal death) and give them everlasting life. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Christ died for us “while we were still sinners,” not saints. The idea that we must clean ourselves up and stop sinning before we come to Christ is not found in the Bible!
Jesus loved and died for all sinners including the pedophile, the child molester, sex traffickers, the abortionist, and the parents or grandparents who sell their children’s bodies to make money. No exceptions!!! God’s grace is greater and stronger than our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ! “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Romans 5:20). If Jesus’ blood can wash away the sin of all nations from all time in all of history (Hebrews 9:14; Revelation 1:5; 5:9; 12:11), certainly His blood can wash away the sin and shame of those who are caught up in human trafficking the moment they believe in Him for His gift of forgiveness and everlasting life (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; 16:31)!
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE?
My prayer is that God will use the darkness of human trafficking to awaken the world for its need for the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ! All of us have sinned against God with our words, our thoughts, and our actions (Romans 3:23). All of us deserve to be separated from God forever because of our sins (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:15). In the sight of a holy God, the people who spend more time in a church or a mosque or a temple are no better than those who spend more time in human trafficking. We all have sinned against God.
How will we respond to the mistreatment of children worldwide? Will we try to justify our participation in these very dark practices by saying “everyone is doing it” or “no one has to know as long as I can keep it a secret”? Are we so desperate for money that we are willing to sacrifice the innocence of our children or grandchildren on the altar of human trafficking?
We may think that this does not apply to us because we do not participate in such atrocities. But are we any better than those who practice such evil as we turn the other way and pretend that such wickedness does not exist or perhaps we assume someone else will fix it? The Bible says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). Sins of omission are just as evil in God’s sight as sins of commission.
The Bible says, “Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:4). Are we delivering “the poor and needy” children of this world from human trafficking when we turn the other way and pretend this does not involve us? When the Bible says, “8 Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” in Proverbs 31:8-9, are we obeying the Lord when we remain silent concerning the millions of children who are speechless and needy in the human trafficking industry? Oh may the Lord have mercy on all of us!!!
Human trafficking is one of the darkest expressions of our human sinfulness. Children are being robbed of their innocence through this very dark industry. Whether you are a victim of human trafficking or a consumer, you are probably silenced by your shame.
If you do not have Jesus Christ in your life, God invites you right now to come into the light of His love so He can set you free from your shame. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus did not say, “Come to a church or a mosque or a temple.” No. He said, “Come to Me.” Jesus is the One who can deliver us from the burden of our sin and shame.
Nor does Jesus say, “Come to Me and I will give you stress and shame.” Human trafficking will give you unbearable stress and shame whether you are a victim or a consumer. But not Jesus. He says, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.” You may be suffering in silence feeling horrible about what has been done to you as a victim of sex trafficking. Or, you may be coming apart on the inside with shame because you purchased children for sex. Please know that Jesus invites you to come to Him just as you are to receive the spiritual “rest” of His cleansing forgiveness and everlasting life. The “rest” Jesus offers here refers to a state of mind that exists when a non-Christian realizes he or she does not have to earn or work for their salvation. This refers to the positional rest of eternal life that is based on trusting in Christ’s accomplishment on the cross (John 3:14-16). Jesus finished the work of paying our sin debt in full when He died in our place on the cross and rose from the dead (John 19:30; I Corinthians 15:3-6). Jesus is alive today and He knows how deeply you are hurt or ashamed. He loves you infinitely and invites you to come to Him for rest.
If you have never understood and believed this before, and now you do, you can tell Jesus this through prayer.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you deeply burdened by my sin and my shame. I have sunk deeply into darkness. Before today, I thought no one could ever love me or want a relationship with me. But I am realizing that You showed me how much You love me by dying in my place on a cross for all of my sins. Thank You, Jesus, for taking all my punishment when You died and rose from the dead. I am now trusting You, Jesus, alone to forgive all my sins and cleanse me of all my shame. Thank You for the forgiveness and complete cleansing I now have. Please help me to see myself as You do now – as a dearly loved child of God who will never be alone again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you are a believer in Jesuswho is a survivor of sex trafficking, please know that Christ loves you infinitely for who you are. What was done to you was terribly wrong, but that does not mean you are wrong. Jesus wants to walk with you through your pain and shame so you can be free from the past. Since you were deeply injured through relationships, you will need to experience healing in the context of relationships with people who will love and care for you regardless of your past. Please see the “NEED HELP?” section for contact information of those who can help you.
If you are a believer in Jesus who enabled human trafficking or purchased children for sex, you also need to know that Jesus loves you very much and He wants to shine His love in the dark places of your soul. Yes, what you did was wrong, but you are not wrong in the sight of Jesus! You are still God’s beloved child who may have unresolved trauma that has led you to medicate your pain and shame with these dark practices. Jesus wants to heal you in the context of loving relationships. Please see the “NEED HELP?” section for contact information of those who can help you.
May all of us pray for the God of all grace to bring to light the darkness of human trafficking in the world so children and consumers will be rescued from the chains of shame through the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ! Only Jesus can replace the enemy’s darkness with His marvelous light and hope!
If you are being trafficked or suspect that someone you know is being trafficked contact:
– The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST(843-5678) or CYBERTIPLINE.ORG.
– National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888
If you are a survivor of sex trafficking or a consumer thereof and would like healing, please contact one of the following Christian Counseling services:
“John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I
said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
that the Word, Jesus Christ, is the Creator God and only source of eternal life
Who became a human being (John 1:1-14), the apostle John records the testimony
of John the Baptist (John 1:15-36). He begins with, “John bore witness of
Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is
preferred before me, for He was before me’ ” (John 1:15).
We are told
that John the Baptist “bore witness.” What does it mean to be a witness?
Is witnessing something one is or something one does? Sometimes we think
that to be a witness for Christ means “I
just have to live a godly life and that is enough. I don’t ever have to tell
anyone how to be saved. They will eventually come to Christ on their own.”
But listen. The Greek word translated “bore witness” (martureō) is used
in a courtroom setting. And it means “to testify, give evidence, or speak
the truth.” What would happen if you took the witness stand in a court of
law and never said anything? The judge would hold you in contempt of the court.
holiest life does not tell people how they can obtain eternal life. No amount
of watching your godly life tells me how I can know Christ personally. If you
live a holy life, it tells me something has happened to you, but it doesn’t
tell me how I can have the same experience or what causes you to live that way.
Maybe you are a person of high morals. Perhaps your parents disciplined you as
a child. Words are more than just helpful for me to know Christ: they are essential.
Sooner or later, someone has to talk to me about Jesus in order for me to
know Him personally.
If we live a
holy life but never tell people about Jesus, then the world will give us all
the credit instead of glorifying the Lord. Silent believers are like beautiful
road signs with no words or directions printed on them. They are nice to
look at, but they don’t tell you how to get where you need to go. We need a
balance. Yes, we need to live a godly life, but we also need to use our lips to
tell people how to have eternal life through believing in Jesus alone (John
When John the
Baptist testifies about Jesus, he is not speaking softly. The Bible says he “cried
out.” The Greek word translated “cried out” is krazō. This
word is imitative of a raven’s piercing cry. It expresses an urgent scream or
shout from someone who has deep emotions about their message. John was extremely
passionate regarding what he was about to say. Why? Because he understood Who
Jesus is and he also understood his purpose. John the Baptist was “sent from
God… to bear witness of the Light,” Jesus Christ (John 1:6-7; 8:12). He
understood his identity as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make
straight the way of the Lord’” (John 1:23; cf. Isaiah 40:3). John’s purpose
was to prepare the people of Israel “that all through him might believe”
in their coming Messiah-God for His gift of everlasting life (John 1:7b; 3:36; cf.
Acts 19:4). John’s voice was temporary, but his message was eternal.
Baptist’s message centered around an eternal Person. He cried out, “This was
He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was
before me’ ” (John 1:15b). The word translated “preferred” (emprosthen)
denotes having greater dignity or rank than another (cf. Genesis 48:20; John
times, chronological priority meant superiority (those who were born
first were considered superior). John is saying that Jesus is superior to him
because Christ came before him. John the Baptist recognized the pre-existence
of the Word, Jesus Christ, as God (John 1:1-2). Even though John the Baptist
was born six months prior to Jesus (Luke 1:26, 36), John says “He
was before me.” How could John the Baptist say this? He could say this because Jesus
was always before John in His Pre-existent state as God.
In the Old Testament, the Lord God of the universe
said, “This is
what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: ‘I am the
first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God’ ” (Isaiah 44:6; cf. 41:4;
48:12). The God of the universe
has no beginning and no end because He is eternal. This is what makes Him
In the last book of the Bible, the exalted
Lord Jesus Christ said, “I
am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is, and Who was, and Who
is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). The apostle John shares Jesus’ testimony, “When I
saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand
on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last’ ”
(Revelation 1:17; cf. 1:13). At the end of the Book of Revelation the exalted
Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the Alpha
and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning
and the End” (Revelation 22:13). Make no mistake, the Lord God of the Old Testament is the same as the
Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This is John the Baptist’s message. He
is acknowledging Jesus’ superiority as the eternal God with no beginning and no
end when He says, “He was
before me” (John 1:15b).
Coronavirus in the news a lot, all of us are confronted with the frailty of
humanity. None of us are promised life on earth tomorrow. God is using COVID-19
to persuade people to think about what is eternal.
Since Jesus has no beginning and no end, we are to invest our
lives in what lasts. What two things on this planet last for eternity? It
is not your bank account… cell phone… video games… house… car… job… or your achievements.
I have done a lot of funerals, and I have never seen anyone pull a U-Haul
behind a hearse. What lasts forever on earth is people (Matthew 25:46) and
the Word of God (I Peter 1:23-24). We have an incredible opportunity to
invest in both by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved (Mark
16:15) and then training those who believe in Christ through the discipleship
process (Matthew 28:19-20).
Whom are you sharing the gospel with and training in discipleship? If we are not
evangelizing and then discipling those who believe the gospel, we are failing
to invest our lives in what is lasting. But this need not continue. Today, you
can decide to invest your life in what lasts forever.
Prayer: Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, I bow my heart before You in worship. You are so amazing! You could have remained in heaven for eternity receiving glory from all of Your angels. But instead, out of love for me and all people, You humbled Yourself and became a human being on earth without ceasing to be God. And You were obedient to death on a cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins! Therefore God the Father has exalted You to the highest place and given You the name that is above every name, that at Your name, Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that You are Jesus Christ the Lord, to the glory of God the Father! Forgive me my Lord for focusing so much on what is temporary. Thank You for reminding me to focus on what is eternal. Use my voice, Lord Jesus, to proclaim that You are the eternal God who offers eternal life to those who believe in You. Please use me to multiply followers of Yours while there is still time on earth. I pray this for Your glory and honor, Lord Jesus. In Your name. Amen.