June 9th (Pentecost Sunday): “Greater Works Than These”; Confirmation & Baptism
Main Text: John 14:8-17 (Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21)
“I just hope that I am half
the man/woman as …” This is a statement often heard when speaking of someone we
admire and revere. We say this with the assumption that we could never live up
to what they have done and who they are. This would surely be the case with
Jesus. What does it mean then that Jesus tells the disciples that they will do
greater works than his? These were the same disciples that abandoned, denied and
betrayed him on the way to the cross. How could these weak men do even greater
works? To understand this statement, you have to understand the nature of the
works of Christ. In John’s gospel, Jesus often identifies the works he does as
coming not through his flesh, but through his relationship with the Father.
God’s works flowed through Jesus. We will not do greater works than Jesus on
our own, because Jesus works were not done on his own. When our works flow
through our relationship with God, it is not our works being done but God’s.
The story of Pentecost and the story of the Tower of Babel are contrasting
stories. The Tower of Babel is a story of people’s work done outside of
relationship with God. The Pentecost story is about the power of God’s work
done through community. The more and more we grow in relationship with God, the
more God’s works are done through us. The more people living out God’s works in
their lives, the greater those works are then what Jesus could do by himself.
Greater works will we do as the Spirit gives us ability together through faith
in Jesus Christ.