These may be the most misunderstood, poorly translated, under realized and oft denied words of Jesus in the entire Bible. Yet, they are clearly stated and can safely be taken at face value, that is – “if you believe in Jesus”.
Anytime you see the word “truly” (which translates as the English word, ‘amen’). This is an “emphasis marker”. It introduces a statement of pivotal importance – i.e., that is essential in interpreting the over-all passage. When you see it repeated as it is in John 14:12, know that what Jesus is saying is being ‘double emphasized’. A colloquialism would be that Jesus is “doubling down”!
WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME
Secondly, the inescapable indictment from the most overlooked three words in this verse are, “whoever believes in me”. The reader is left with little choice here: You either believe in Jesus and will believe what He is saying at its face value, or you do not believe what He is saying, hence, you DO NOT BELIEVE IN HIM, despite what you say.
The “works of Jesus” are as broad and deep as the Bible itself. The word Jesus uses, (ergon), can mean, “work, task, employment; a deed, action; that which is wrought or made”. It can range from physical deeds to miraculous acts to faith. I would suggest you read John 6:29, “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent”, to start your study on this, and take close notice how the listeners completely misunderstand and mischaracterized what Jesus is saying. The more Jesus explains, the more confused the crowd becomes, until they leave him in disgust and disbelief.
(I must take an aside here. I have heard so many so-called Bible teachers, preachers and pastors say this refers primarily or exclusively to “evangelism”. I.e., ‘you will make more disciples’. This is ‘primarily or exclusively’ because they cannot or will not believe what Jesus is saying, and they are diminishing the Words of Jesus. It is blatant foolishness, exposing either their gross misunderstanding of a Jesus’ plain Words, or a complete lack of faith – a rebellious denial of Jesus.)
The ‘flip side’ of this matter is those who go too far. There are those who take license, and there are many, who take these Words of Jesus and innovate, extrapolate and invent acts and behaviors of their own making, some so weird as to be Satanic.
Jesus explains, in Matthew 10:24-25, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” Luke records it as, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Then, in Matthew Jesus gives a stern warning in Matthew 5-19, when He says, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished! Therefore, whoever nullifies one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven”.
If you insist that you believe in Jesus, then it follows that we must also BELIEVE HIM when He says, “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do”.
If there is anything, in following Jesus, that will test your limits of faith and obedience, this is the one. It won’t be easy, but, DON’T BE ONE OF THE CROWD – EITHER OF THE CROWDS!
Follow the One and Only, Jesus – in both His Word and His Spirit.
Let’s please God through faith and by our obedience to Jesus, desiring to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
Your Brother and Friend,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;.” 1 Peter 1:3-7