12 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. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
The main idea of Jesus words here is that, as consequence of Jesus’ relationship with the Father, those who believe in him will also reveal the Father to the watching world. Just a few verses ago, at the beginning of chapter 14, Jesus was urging his disciples to put their faith in God and in him. Now this section closes with a description of the person who does put their trust in Jesus: they will express this faith in ‘works’— the kind of works that Jesus has been doing.
Jesus works have amazed the crowds and demonstrated power that could only come from God. The other thing about Jesus’ works is that their purpose is always to glorify the Father. Therefore the works of which Jesus speaks here must be of the same nature. Whatever we do through faith in God will be for his glory. This is how the world will come to know God.
Already the disciple of Jesus is overwhelmed to think that they should have such role but in the second half of verse 12 he goes one step further. Jesus’ disciple will do even greater things than these, because he is going to the Father.
The ‘greater works’ are not greater miracles (that would be impossible) but they are a greater testimony to the Father (note the context is dependant on Jn 14:8-11). This testimony to the Father will be greater in relation to Jesus’ testimony in the sense that it will be more widespread, carried out by many more people, and have a collectively greater positive response. It will not be clearer or more important, just larger and more widespread.
This is the purpose of Jesus’ encouragement to pray ‘in his name’ so that the Father may be glorified in Son. As Jesus’ disciples apply their faith to doing works which reveal the Father, they may be confident that their requests will be enabled by Jesus. He will be enthroned in power at the right hand of the Father, eager to see his Father glorified through the actions of his disciples. Of course he will answer those prayers!
So what is it that we want to do to glorify the Father? Let us ask him for the opportunity and ability to do it, in the name of Jesus, and then get to work!