Doing the Works of Jesus


Tony McCanless


Are Christians to do the works of Jesus?  If so, what are these works that we are to do?

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  John 14:12

In the preceding verse, Jesus said that we are to do the same works that He did, as well as greater works.  He also said that these works were to be done by believers, not just apostles or even preachers.  But what are these works that we are to do and are they greater?

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  Matthew 4:23

This verse shows that Jesus did three primary works in His earthly ministry: teaching, preaching, and healing.  I'm amazed at the number of people who think that we are to obey just a part of what Jesus said.  He did not say to do just some of His works.  He did not say some of His works would pass away when the last apostle died.  He did not even say that these works were just for the apostles.  While Jesus was in His earthly ministry He sent the twelve apostles to do His works, but Luke 10:1-11 records that He also appointed seventy disciples to preach and heal the sick.  Healing was not limited to the apostles.  Jesus in that day anointed His apostles and disciples to help do His works, including healing the sick.  Has Jesus changed?  Has God changed?

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Hebrews 13:8

For I am the Lord, I change not;  Malachi 3:6a

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  Acts 10:38

We must understand that the Lord Jesus has not changed nor has His ministry ended.  He is still doing His works today in the same way in which He did them then - through His Body.  He used His mouth to preach and to teach.  He traveled with His feet.  He laid His hands on the sick and healed them.  He used His body to do these works.  Doesn't the Bible also teach that He is now the Head of the church and that we are His Body?  As then, His Body today is made of many members.  No one member of the Body of Christ today can do all that Jesus did, because no one Christian is the complete Body of Christ.

For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.   John 3:34

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.     1 Corinthians 12:4

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?   1 Corinthians 12:27-30
Jesus had the Spirit without measure.  We as individual members of the Body of Christ have the Spirit by measure.  It seems reasonable that the same anointing that was on Jesus then is on His Body now. Since we are His Body, the anointing He had then is on His collective church today.  How else could we do His works except by His anointing?  Individually, we have different gifts, abilities, and ministries.  Jesus had all of the anointing of the Spirit in operation under the old covenant. Two of the nine gifts of the Spirit, tongues and the interpretation of tongues, were reserved for the Church, for the New Testament, and did not operate in the Old Testament or in Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, Jesus had the anointing without measure. No individual today has the whole of the anointing. Although we are different, we still do some things the same.  Every Christian has a personal testimony to tell and every child of God can share and teach what he has learned.  Also, every believer can lay hands on the sick and pray.  However, Ephesians 4:11 speaks of those especially called to teach.  Not everyone who teaches is a teacher.  First Corinthians 12:28-30 tells of special ministries that only some will have.  Speaking in tongues, as a ministry to the church is not for everyone even though as a prayer unto God, speaking in tongues can be enjoyed by all of His children.  Certainly God could give anyone at anytime the ability to interpret tongues, but some are especially gifted with this as a ministry.  All of these abilities, however, operate as the Spirit wills.

Now, what about the greater works?  In our first Scripture, Jesus said that believers would do His works and also greater works.  Notice that Jesus said we would do the greater works because He would go to His Father.  What happened when He went to His Father?

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  John 16:7

In the previous Scripture, Jesus is explaining how His departure is actually better for His disciples.  Some very important things happened when Jesus was raised from the dead and went to His Father.  Previously Jesus had been limited in that He could only be in one place at a time.  While preaching in Jerusalem, He could not be preaching in Capernaum.  Now, however, through the power of the Holy Spirit who has come into the church, we can preach on every inhabited continent at the same time.  This is a greater work than He was able to accomplish while on Earth.  He said that we would do greater works in His Name after His resurrection.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 
Romans 10:9

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Romans 8:9b

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  John 20:21-22

Jesus breathed on His disciples the breath of  “newness of life” after His resurrection.  No one was born again before God raised Jesus from the dead.  Now that Jesus has gone to His Father and the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit has come, we can be saved and filled with His Spirit.  After His resurrection, Jesus said to preach the Gospel.  When people believe the preaching and are saved and filled with the Spirit, His greater works are being done. Certainly these spiritual works are greater than the physical works (such as healings), but let’s do both.  Let’s do all that Jesus has told us to do.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  Matthew 28:19-20a

The works of Jesus are not just for the apostles.  Jesus told them to teach others to do what He commanded them to do.  He sent them in the same way in which He was sent.  We are to do the works of Jesus in His Name the way He did the works of the Father.  He obeyed the Word of God and was led by the Spirit.

The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  John 5:19b

Jesus obeyed the Spirit.  He did not minister to people just because He wanted to, nor did He heal apart from the leading of the Word or the Spirit.  He did not heal every sick person He saw.  The previous verse shows that He could not without the leading of the Spirit.  At the pool of Bethesda in John 5, He healed only one of a multitude.  Though He cared for all in that multitude, He was led by the Spirit to heal only one man. Today we minister in His Name not only obeying His Word, but also being led by the Spirit.  Though we also care for all people, the Holy Spirit sometimes leads us to minister to just one in a special way.  In Acts 3, Peter commanded a man to be healed.  He did so by the unction of the Spirit.  Peter could do nothing of himself just as Jesus could do nothing of Himself.  Peter explained in Acts 3:16 that the man was healed by the gift of faith in the Name of Jesus.  It was not Peter's faith, but the gift of faith as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.  Peter said it was the faith which is by Him.  If your faith could do everything, there would be no need for the gift of faith.  By the unction of the Spirit, Peter made a command in Jesus' Name, and Jesus did the work of healing.  You, too, can bring glory to the Father by, in Jesus’ Name, doing the works of Jesus.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.  John 14:13-14

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  Mark 16:15-18

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures are from the King James Version of the Bible.

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