Have you done anything greater than Jesus?

Jesus said:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do. (John 14:12)

That’s a pretty amazing claim. Jesus says his followers will not only do the miracles he did, but even greater ones! Jesus supposedly changed water to wine, raised men from the dead, and made blind men see. Jesus says his followers will do those and even greater works.

So… where are they?

Where are the Christians making blind men see? Raising men who have been dead for days? What about greater things — something like, say, having an amputee grow a limb back? No takers?

Does this mean no TrueChristians™ really exist?

Christians, of course, are quite willing to make this verse mean something entirely different — because if it were true, they couldn’t call themselves followers of Christ. So many interpret “greater works” to mean “bring salvation.” That is, they can convert more people than Jesus. Doesn’t that just suck the life out of Jesus’ meaning? But what else can they do? (Also, this doesn’t necessarily help them — does this mean they are not Christians unless they can draw greater crowds than Jesus?)

They certainly can’t take Jesus literally — they can only take him literally when it fits their little box. When it doesn’t, the meaning must be changed. They’ll insist on taking Genesis — mythic literature — literally, but when it comes to obviously literal teaching, they’ll turn it on its head.

So much for consistency and “rightly dividing the word of God.”

  • http://www.TheChristianAlert.org Edgar

    umm.. this is a good question and also a good observation of “in the box thinking”. There are some things that are literal and some that are not.

    But let me stay with this one… the simplest answer would be that we don’t have enough faith. We’re not good believers. Thus, we can’t produce miracles/signs.

    That said, just because you haven’t heard of any, or haven’t seen any, doesn’t mean greater miracles than Jesus’ are not happening.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Edgar: Well if nobody has enough faith, that would be a problem for Christianity. Why would you follow leaders who don’t even have enough faith to do the miracles Jesus could do, much less the greater ones he says his follows would do? He didn’t even say leaders — he said followers! Yet Christianity can’t even produce one — even the apostles didn’t do greater miracles than Jesus.

    And I’m pretty sure if greater miracles than Jesus were happening, we’d hear about them. We’d hear about ones that were significantly less! But they don’t happen. You can just say “things that are completely impossible might be happening!” You have to have evidence, or there’s absolutely no reason to say they do.

    For instance, I could say, “I’m sure people are changing water into gold and diamonds through magic. I know that sounds impossible, but they’ve talked about doing such things in ancient texts. Just because we don’t know of anyone doing it doesn’t mean it’s not done.” That’s very bad reasoning.

  • CS5

    Edgar: If greater miracles than Jesus’ are happening — we’d be hearing about them. They report on his face in a tree, or potato or waffle, or window — that is the best they can dig up.

    And it should be obvious to everyone as well. If to be christian means that you can do these things, it should be happening literally millions and millions of times all over the world. To say that it could be happening without our knowledge is an easy way out and it suggests that perhaps this argument should be given equal time because we cannot prove it isn’t happening. Of course, the claims deserve no more respect than those of Mohammed or any other “prophet”, and cannot be taken seriously in honest and reasonable discourse.

    And as an aside, who gets to decide which things are literal and which are not? You? Your minister? The pope? James Dobson? Falwell? Palin? Atkinson? Caeser? Bronze-age desert goat herders? You must see the quandary with statements such as yours. To proclaim what you did is really to say nothing at all.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    That said, just because you haven’t heard of any, or haven’t seen any, doesn’t mean greater miracles than Jesus’ are not happening.

    Right, because the media has such a high threshold for reporting miracles, that they’re just ignoring the people coming back from the dead so they can concentrate on important news like a statue getting a bit wet, or making babies float. Like all humans do.

  • Ton Tobius

    The obvious answer to this is that Jesus’ miracles were overplayed by the authors of the Bible, and that he was just an ordinary man, who in this instance was humbly and empoweringly pointing out that those who followed him could do as much or more good than he could.

    Unfortunately, the superstitious nutbags got hold of this and distorted this great man’s message beyond all recognition. Now it’s all about his vicious death, symbolically eating his flesh… Basically, Christian churches are just one more example of how humanity screws up even the most sublime gifts it receives.

  • http://www.TheChristianAlert.org Edgar

    @CS5 If greater miracles than Jesus’ are happening — we’d be hearing about them. They report on his face in a tree, or potato or waffle, or window — that is the best they can dig up.

    your point is well taken here. This is a huge annoyance for everybody. Why these people get attention is beyond me.

    @Daniel we don’t know of anyone doing it doesn’t mean it’s not done.” That’s very bad reasoning.

    You don’t have evidence that they are not either. Just because you can’t see or hear something – it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    In summary, these are valid questions –
    where are the miracles? really – where is Jesus? That I share with you.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Edgar: The proof is on the asserter. Otherwise, you would have warrant to believe anything. Nothing can be completely disproven. For instance, maybe there are leprechauns hiding under rocks. Maybe bigfoot is in the forest. Maybe fairies exist but we just can’t see them. But without evidence, there’s no reason to consider any of those being true.

    Maybe there is a dragon in my garage — prove that it doesn’t exist. You can’t see it? Ah, but it’s invisible. You can’t hear him? That’s only because he only appears to me. But I do have this melted piece of plastic…

  • http://intelligentscience.org Eric Kemp

    Daniel Florien

    I’m going to challenge your Biblical understanding a bit here.

    You quoted a verse (John 14:12): “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.” You also left out a phrase of the verse. The last phrase of the verse is, “because I go to the Father.”

    Firstly, it’s very easy to take a single verse, slap it down on your blog, leave a sentence out, and tell everyone what the verse is saying. As I’m sure you know, this is called taking a verse “out of context”. So let’s get rid of that fallacy by exploring what Jesus is talking about in the verses before John 14:12.

    This is the Lord’s Supper, in the upper room, the night before Jesus’ betrayal. Jesus’ tells his disciples that He is leaving to prepare a place for them in heaven (v. 2). And they know where He is going, and where He is going (heaven), He will bring them to that place (v. 3). Then Jesus makes, in my opinion, the boldest claim of His entire ministry, (v.6) “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ ” So, basically, what is Jesus talking about here? He is talking about reconciling (bringing) humanity to the Father.

    Jesus then says that if his apostles truly know Him, then they know the Father also (v.7). Phillip states (v.8), “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Incredulous, Jesus responds with, (v.9) “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?” Not only is Jesus claiming equality with the Father, He is claiming that the Father is acting through Him. Jesus calls those acts, “works”. In verse 11, Jesus tells us the purpose of those works, 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” So the purpose of the works is that those who see them would believe that Jesus is God (I am in the Father and the Father is in Me). Namely, that people would be reconciled to the Father through faith in Jesus Christ, that is, they would be saved. So the purpose of the works is salvation.

    Now we’re back to verse 12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do; because I go to the Father” What are the works that Jesus does? Bringing people to the Father. What is another name for “whoever believes in me”, perhaps “Christians” as they became later known, or “the Church” may be a better distinction.

    Why is the Church going to do greater works than those? Because Jesus goes to the Father. Jesus is speaking about the Resurrection here. So, because of the Resurrection, Christians will do “greater works than these”. Because of the Resurrection, Christians will reconcile MORE people to the Father than Jesus did.

    Now, you already did a preemptive strike on this salvation position. The only reason you gave for your position that Jesus isn’t talking about salvation is, “Doesn’t that just suck the life out of Jesus’ meaning?” Does it? My very brief discussion on the context of Jesus words shows clearly that Jesus means “works” as “bringing people to the Father.” Jesus himself shows this clearly in the versus leading up to v. 12. You have no such reason for believing that Jesus means “works” as “miracles”.

    You also stated: “Also, this doesn’t necessarily help them — does this mean they are not Christians unless they can draw greater crowds than Jesus?”

    Those who believe in Jesus, the Church, have surely brought more people to salvation than Jesus did, considering that the Church has had 2000 years and Jesus only had 3 years. What Jesus sowed, we reaped.

    “So much for consistency and “rightly dividing the word of God.””

    The funny thing about this statement is that you just assumed that Jesus meant “miracles” and did no research to back it up. You made no attempt to explain why Jesus meant “miracles” because you can’t, the context of Jesus words proves your position wrong. All this eisegesis and quote mining from the Bible puts your claim to be a former “passionate evangelical Christian” to rest.

    Eric Kemp

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Eric: Let me first say thank you for taking my post seriously and responding to it.

    I was writing a simple blog post, not a scholarly journal article.
    I had no intention of doing an in-depth analysis and quoting all of your commentaries. I am using the obvious interpretation — Jesus didn’t say “my believers will reconcile more people to the Father than me.” You can interpret him to say that, just as many Pentecostals interpret it to mean “miracles.”

    I didn’t include “because I go to the father” because it wouldn’t make the verse make any more sense to most of my readers.

    For now let’s use your interpretation to make things easier. You say Jesus meant:

    Christians will reconcile MORE people to the Father than Jesus did.

    I mentioned this interpretation in my post, though I phrased it differently (“convert more people than Jesus”). So I mentioned both major historic interpretations — you seemed to overlook that. Again, this isn’t wasn’t scholarly post (I try and stay away from theological and exegetical rigamarole these days, especially since I think the Bible is bunk), but I think I was pretty accurate in my generalizations.

    But anyway, I don’t think this interpretation helps you. How many people did Jesus reconcile to the father? How many people have you? Are you sure it is greater?

    I’m asking you this in all seriousness.

    All this eisegesis and quote mining from the Bible puts your claim to be a former “passionate evangelical Christian” to rest.

    You didn’t have to be so insulting here. You may think I’m an evil atheist who eats children for breakfast, but I’m actually a pretty nice guy and try to be sincere. If we got together for cokes, we’d probably get along just fine — well, as long as we stayed away from a few topics… :)

    How exactly does that put my claim to rest? Let’s say it’s true that I quote mined. (BTW, that was one of my favorite accusations to make as a Christian too, so I’m not too offended.) Every preacher I have ever known has quote mined before. So what? Does that mean they are not Christians? I don’t see how quoting a verse “puts to rest” my claim.

  • http://www.filmsandfolk.wordpress.com masonjars

    Very good thoughts here.
    I myself have seen several miracles.
    One of them while I was in Morocco with a group of people.
    We prayed for a man who had a deformity in his arm.. and had no hand.
    To our shock, as we prayed for him, he grew a hand right in front of us. no joke.
    I have also heard hundreds of other stories from my christian brothers and sisters around the world.

    Many of those miracles take place in other countries. I am not sure why that is. I know that people are hungry for something more, and willing to believe. Generally.. less skeptical than people are here.

    Maybe not many stories (or none) have come your way regarding miracles, but they happen..
    I know this because I have seen God work in marvelous ways :) Maybe we just need to proclaim more.

    But.. i understand the confusion/frustration.. cause i’d like to see more miracles and more good things happen!

    i guess, my question for you is…even if you heard stories of miracles.. would you believe them? Or would you insist on them not happening until you see them with your own eyes?

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    L.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @masonjars: So you actually saw his hand grow back right in front of you? YOU — not someone near you said that? Did anyone by chance think to start a video recording of this miracle? Do you have before and after pictures? If you actually saw this, I think you may have been fooled.

    Everyone has heard stories of miracles — but without any evidence, why should anyone believe the impossible? If miraces can happen, you have no reason to deny that anything happened. For instance, I guess you believe Joseph Smith was given golden tablets from heaven? That Muhammad ascended into heaven? There are always eyewitnesses to miracles — at least, that’s what they say. But there’s never any evidence.

  • http://intelligentscience.org Eric Kemp

    Daniel

    “I was writing a simple blog post, not a scholarly journal article.”

    I understand that. However, when you quote a certain verse and then claim to know what it is saying, the least you can do is tell us why you think it says that, and doing that is impossible without the context.

    “I am using the obvious interpretation — Jesus didn’t say “my believers will reconcile more people to the Father than me.” ”

    My point was that you don’t have the most obvious interpretation, in fact, you don’t need an interpretation at all. Reading the context of the verse, it is clear what Jesus is talking about as I pointed out.

    You can interpret any verse any way you like, but with out evidence for doing so, as you like to say, it means nothing.

    “I didn’t include “because I go to the father” because it wouldn’t make the verse make any more sense to most of my readers.”

    Then include a (…”) at the end of the verse so that everyone will know the verse isn’t actually over when you stop quoting it. By closing the ” ” before the verse actually ends, it just looks like quote mining. I understand now that you didn’t quote mine on purpose, but you have to be careful about leaving out relevant phrases.

    “I mentioned both major historic interpretations — you seemed to overlook that.”

    No, I know that I say you mention them, and I thought I made that clear in my post, I apologize if I didn’t. However, you acknowledged them and discarded them without a reason for doing so. That is what I was pointing out to you. If you acknowledge a counter-argument and reject it, at least give us a reason.

    “But anyway, I don’t think this interpretation helps you. How many people did Jesus reconcile to the father? How many people have you? Are you sure it is greater?”

    Jesus had 3 years, the Church has had two thousand. Jesus brought the good news of salvation to Judea and Galilee, and the Apostles took it at least to Rome, North Africa, Babylon and India, while the Church has brought it to the entire world. Yea, I’d say that’s greater.

    I know that you think you have a point here. That no Christian could do works “greater than Jesus”. But when Jesus himself says that that we will, it’s ok that that we say we have.

    “You may think I’m an evil atheist who eats children for breakfast, but I’m actually a pretty nice guy and try to be sincere. If we got together for cokes, we’d probably get along just fine — well, as long as we stayed away from a few topics… ”

    I’m sure that this is true. I want you to know that no matter how much I challenge you, or how stern my language is, that I’m not attempting to be personal towards you nor do I take anything personally. Like you, I’m actually a cordial fellow who shows kindness and respect to everyone I am able to, eating children or not.

    When I take your ideas seriously, and challenge you on them, I feel that I am respecting you more so than just responding with, “I will pray for your soul and my heart goes out to you” kind of condescension. If you ever feel that I am too stern, please let me know and I will re-evaluate my tone. The last thing I want to do is to a bad representative of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    “Every preacher I have ever known has quote mined before. So what? Does that mean they are not Christians? I don’t see how quoting a verse “puts to rest” my claim.”

    By “quote mined”, I don’t mean that you must quote an entire chapter in order to not. But, generally speaking, when you are quoting a verse that are you claiming to know what it means, and leave out the last phrase that begins with “because . . .” this seems disengenuous. If all the preachers you knew were always leaving out phrases that affected the meaning of what they were preaching about, it’s no wonder you left the church!

    On to your claim to be a former Christian:

    Would you agree that not everyone sitting in church pews yesterday morning were true Christians? If you disagree with this, and your view is that all those who claim to be Christian are such, then yes, you used to be a Christian.

    However, the Biblical definition of a “Christian” is someone who knows Christ (I can defend this if you need me to). And by “know Christ” I mean, knows Him personally, Christ literally indwells the Christian. The Christian knows Christ just like you know your best friend (you know he exists, you talk to him, you know his personality). So, in order to then deny Christ, would be like denying that you ever knew your best friend. Now, you could say that you hate your friend (if things go bad), but you couldn’t say you never believed he exised, because you’d be lying to yourself.

    So, under the Biblical definition of “Christian”, if someone claims to be a former Christian, but now denies that Christ even exists, that person never knew Christ in the first place. As I said, this is evidenced by your penchant for twisting Christs’ words and taking them out of context for the goal of proving Christians wrong. You would never do this to Him if you knew Him.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Eric: Thanks for your clarifying comment. As for your concluding statement:

    You would never do this to Him if you knew Him.

    I beg to disagree. You are right in one sense — when I knew him and loved him and adored him, I would never have left him. But now that I think I was deluded, and that Jesus did not perform miracles or was God himself, I changed my mind. That does not change my previous experience.

    For instance, I could say “if you really loved your childhood invisible friend, you would have never stopped believing in him.” But you’d say that’s nonsense — you did love him as a child. But then you learned he never existed. So you were quite free to stop believing without that negating your previous experience. If evidence were to be shown that he did, in fact, exist, you’d be happy to start loving him again.

  • http://intelligentscience.org Eric Kemp

    Daniel

    “For instance, I could say “if you really loved your childhood invisible friend, you would have never stopped believing in him.” ”

    Don’t you see how you assume your conclusion in your premise? That Jesus was your “invisible” friend therefore you never really knew Him? But I agree with you, Jesus WAS invisible to you because you never really knew Him. I’m not doubting that you were dogmatic or passionate or that you did the things you were “supposed” to do. My example stands; you would never be able to claim that your best friend never existed after he was your best friend. If you do, you prove that you never really knew the guy.

    I would honestly like to hear what started you down that path to denying the Christ that you loved.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Eric: Now that’s a bit insulting. How would you like it if I told you that you don’t actually believe in Jesus, that you don’t actually know him at all?

    Jesus was not invisible to me — I thought he was real. I would have died for him. My point is that after years of intellectual (not emotional or relational) struggle, I finally decided Jesus was not God. It was a very long, hard, gradual journey. Basically, I went from YEC to old earth to ID to theistic evolution (as I studied more and more science), then doubted inerrancy and then finally inspiration. Doubting inspiration was the nail in the coffin, of course. Because without the Bible, there is no reason to believe.

    I think you are too quick to dismiss my example. Believing in God is far more like believing in an imaginary friend than a real best friend — God is invisible, he doesn’t directly speak to you, you can’t touch him, etc. But I stopped believing because I finally realized there is no evidence — only hearsay. That does not mean my experience was not true.

    You can say I never really knew Jesus, but honestly, you have no idea what you’re talking about if you insist that. You are just taking the little you know about my life and fitting it into your calvinistic theology (you may not be a five point Calvinist, but you must believe in Perseverance of the Saints to be so stubborn about this — or, in the more ignorant baptist churches, it’s called “eternal security”).

    Why is it so hard to admit that I had a genuine experience, and then fell away? (You could even explain it with Heb. 6, like many other believers do.) Lots of other Christians (e.g., arminians, semi-pelegians, Catholics) would be fine with it.

    Whatever you may think, I believed — I believed with all my heart — but now I don’t. Those are the facts, and you saying “no you didn’t believe” doesn’t mean anything except you put your interpretation of Scripture over all the experience of everyone who has “fallen away.”

    Your argument is:

    (1) You say you used to believe, and everyone who knew you would agree.
    (2) But the Bible says TrueChristians™ don’t fall away.
    (3) Therefore, you must have never really been a Christian.

    But Christians have disagree about #2 throughout history — and it certainly isn’t agreed upon today. So perhaps you shouldn’t be so dogmatic in your condemnation of others, because many of those who hold that the Bible is true disagree with you.

  • http://intelligentscience.org Eric Kemp

    Daniel

    I must admit, I’m very intrigued by this conversation. Allow me some time to do discover wether or not my position is the Biblical one, bring some Scripture into this discussion, and I’ll get back to you.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Eric: I think you’ll find the Bible says both. On an issue like this, sincere Christians are divided because you can find both in Scripture — so it ends up on your starting points and which verses you emphasize.

    It’s like the whole predestination thing — responsibility and predestination are both in the Bible, but many Christians swing to one extreme side and emphasize one set of verses, because they prefer certainty and elaborate theological systems.

    Whichever system you pick, you’ll have to “explain away” (euphemized in Christianity to “interpret”) the other side to some degree.

    My guess is actually your view (as long as it is in a complete calvinistic theology) is quite logical, given a certain set of presuppositions. Of course I don’t hold those presuppositions, so it’s all nonsense to me, but it’s consistent and tries to make sense of the variety of verses on the subject. But because the Bible is written by so many different people and teaches so many different things, IMO you can’t systemize it the way so many evangelical theologicans want to.

    I’ll give a simple example. A new believer asks you, “Why does good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people?” You may have a great answer for that, but the Bible answers it in many ways. For a great overview of the various ways the Bible explains this, see this interview by Bart Ehrman. It’s very good. The point is, which one do you use? That God punishes those who disobey him, like the OT teaches? Or that God doesn’t punish those who are in Christ, because they are justified (like St. Paul teaches)? Is it going to be because God is testing us (like Job)? Or is it because there are demons running around trying to ruin our lives? Or perhaps God is working the evil for our good?

    My point is, it can be hard to have a simple answer to a problem and then label it “biblical” because there are often many answers in the Bible, and not all can be merged into one simple answer. Perhaps that is surprising to you — or maybe even offensive. I know when I had drunk the the Christian Kool-Aid, I basically treated the bible like it was written by one author in one time period (not always, but that’s the way preachers seemed to want us to treat it), but you’ll always be running into cement blocks trying to fit all the Bible says about one issue into a simple syllogism.

    Our minds have an amazing way to get around it, though — just look at the Mormons or Muslims, for instance, the way they interpret all the crazy things in their holy texts. We’re all capable of this.

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    I have to say, Daniel, reading this conversation has increased my already considerable respect for your scholarship. I consider myself well-read on the history of religion, and I’ve never even heard of the semi-pelegians.

    I’d just like to add something… if, indeed, Jesus is referring to bringing people to the Father in this verse, no one can do any greater than Him. This is because everyone who is brought to the Father is, by definition, brought to Him by Jesus, even if it’s someone else who makes the actual real-world contact. After all, everyone who comes to the Father does so through some sort of apostolic succession… that is, from a chain of being brought to the Father that eventually goes back to Jesus, making him ultimately responsible.

    So he has to be talking about something that originates with each believer, rather than reconciliation and salvation.

  • wisdom

    The problem with Christian’s is that others have interfered for their own gain. Jesus told us to pray to ‘the Father’. He never once said to pray to him or to thank him or anyone else for that matter.

    I believe what Jesus said is completely true! But, we have not ‘kept our eye on the ball’, so to speak. We must focus solely on God. I can’t say how many times in the bible it warns us of praising any ‘one’ or ‘thing’ other than God, the one true living God.

    I believe through organized religion we have been dumbed down! Stopped, so that we will believe what the ‘teacher’s of today’ would have us believe.

    Jesus believed in us. There was not suppose to be ANY other leader short of God himself! Jesus has left us enough notes. Our answers are with God. Should we focus on God instead of praising Jesus perhaps we’ll hear God speak. Perhaps we’ll be able to graduate past the oracles of God so that we can get on to our next ‘class’ so to speak. All Jesus asked of us was to pray in his name…

    Believe and it shall be done…God bless and good luck to all who have the courage to go for it…not just ‘try’!

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    So, Wisdom, you’ve been trying that…

    have you managed to do anything greater than Jesus yet?

  • wisdom

    Baby steps. It’s hard to let go of old habits. Lossing all vices seems to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m confident it will be done!…with help from God of course!

    By ‘vices’ I mean ‘any’ vices…right down to the need for caffeine which is hid in chocolate as I hate coffee. Any thing one personnally believes one ‘needs’ to have. The only need we actually need is God’s direction. Back to keeping ones eye on the ball!

    It’s a lonely path though…not too many up for it!

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    God’s direction… and, I presume, food, water, a temperature between the freezing point of water and around 40 degrees celsius…

    But the question is not whether you are being as righteous as Jesus, because it’s actually not that hard – some of Jesus’ actions are of questionable morality. The question is whether you have ever achieved anything greater than Jesus did, which is what was promised to those who believe in Jesus. Not to those who follow a perfect morality, which would be a small group indeed if it existed, but to anyone who truly believes in Jesus, which, from your own comments, definitely includes you.

    have you?

  • wisdom

    No, not as of yet. But I am only now placing more focus on the subject then just a couple of thoughts through out each day.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Jesus say to take up our own cross and do as he did. Not to be mistaken with the same circumstances as his though. Also, Jesus probably had quite a few miracles to preform, but was cut short on the old life cycle compared to the majority of our life spans.

    I have taken Jesus’ suggestion to be ‘do as I have done and you shall do greater things then I’ quite literal. Is it possible that if more then one person does even a small amount of miracle that the compined effort would accumulate to something far greater than his personal accomplishments! I mean if we all as one decide to ‘go for it’ ~ the results would easily surpass his. This would easily answer the ‘you can accomplish much more then I’ part of the equation. Things we can’t even concive would result from the combine singular results.

    …any thoughts?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @wisdom: I hate to add to your burden, but here is something else Jesus said you should be aware of:

    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matt. 17:20)

    In the parallel Mark 4:31 (Matthew’s source), Jesus calls the mustard seed “the smallest of all the seeds on earth.” Now that’s not true, but Jesus didn’t know about orchid seeds. Regardless, the point is even if you have THE SMALLEST amount of faith, Jesus says you can move a mountain.

    Now, what’s less than THE SMALLEST? That’s right, NONE. So if you can’t move a mountain, it’s not that you don’t have enough faith, it’s that you have none. Because you can’t have less than the smallest, unless it is nothing.

    Maybe you should start small, like start moving small hills. Let us know how it turns out, and remember to get witnesses and a video recorder.

    Of course, that’s just the beginning. Jesus said NOTHING is impossible for you! You can fly, you can create things from nothing, you can make pretty girls have sex with you, you can eat all the candy or poison you want without getting sick, you can travel back in time, you can travel to different solar systems… Nothing will be impossible!

    If that’s not true for you, I guess that means you don’t any real faith. Which means if your God exists, we’ll be going to the same place.

  • wisdom

    Well now Daniel, you have been used by God to enlightnen me. I say thank you to God for using your voice Daniel to have me become aware of an number of gifts he has granted me. And the answer to my question…what is stopping me!

    I am able to cast out evil spirits and those who do not come directly from God. I am able to ward off my house from any residing with me and my famile. I am able to open myself up to God’s healing light to pass through me allowing me to heal others. I do all of these things with the light of God in Jesus’ name. The more I do the more I receive. I know there is one who listens on this very conversation with ill intent. I know there is light in every human being only that some have hidden their light for there own personal reasons. I know that these people are not lost.

    My problem is not faith, rather self confidence in receiving powers. With great power comes great responsibility. There are steps I have taken which others my not be ready to progress to as of yet. There are words I speak that are so clear to me that not all understand. I have read passages in the bible that were once a mystery that now I wonder why I didn’t see and understand in the first place. God has given me the power to see the harvest for the weeds. So, I suppose hills are what I am able to move.

    Now, that being said, you ask why not move mountains. The question is which one and what will the result be. If I choose to move some mountains it may not have the desired effect God had wished for. I need more training to make these choices. The fact is ~ I am a babe in the woods. I am aware I have the power. I am also aware I need to cleanse myself of my ego’s need for control of me. Not that ‘ego’s’ don’t have a place, but it should not be the leading front for decisions made. Once I lock myself down permanently from outside influences , be that physical or spiritual, and the inside ones too, (while still living in the world), only then would I even consider moving a mountain…and only if God had requested it. I don’t consider my self in any position to mess with God’s plan. My only desire is to to his will. I must ensure my desisions will be in alignment with his desire first.

    This confersation has now brought me to my next step in my journey. And I thank God for having you place the title to your blog. Other wise I would not have found this result…at least not this soon! :)

    Life is good! And miracles happen all the time. Here lies the problem…people may not see or believe them. I believe that there is no such thing as quincidences!

  • wisdom

    I guess nobody’s going to touch this one? Take care all! And remember just because churches have weeds and are a little off ~ think of them as a first step for those completely lost…as for you guys … it’s time to get off the milk and get on to the meat!

    God Bless!

  • Richard D’cruz

    The disciples themselves did greater things :

    As a result, people kept carrying their sick into the streets and placing them on stretchers and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he went by. – Acts 5:15

    Praise the lord

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    Richard: They were that anxious for shade?

    I’m joking, of course, I can guess what they’re hoping for… but hope doesn’t mean action, and if the disciples could do it, why can’t Christians today?

    Wisdom: it was just kind of… well, the closest word I could think of was non sequitur, which literally means “does not follow”… I think you’ve made some leaps of logic which we can’t follow.

  • Zephyr

    Wisdom: You have, I want to say, distorted view about Jesus…Jesus didn’t say to only use his name in prayer…there is a reason for the trio and it does say in the bible “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”

    Daniel: Your question about doing something equal or greater than what Jesus did…the best answer I can say is, yes, I loved others. Maybe I didn’t die for the person or give up all of my belongings but those are my choices and I believe in a much greater calling in my life.

    Personally, I know for a fact no one can equal up to Jesus’s miracle of living a perfect life and then dying for all of mankind.

    But anyways, one of the main things Paul (actually, the whole Bible) constantly talks about is love. He especially addresses it in Corinthians that there is nothing without love. So wouldn’t one of the greatest miracles to love each unconditionally as Jesus did? So assuming you have seen “loving” acts or acts of kindness, then you have seen glimpses of God…that is if you believe God is love.

    Now speaking about other miracles, you seem to have a “doubting thomas” sort of perspective. I’m more curious to whether you actually gone out and asked people around the world or just around your town. One of the churches I got to is called Bethel, here in California. There are frequent miracles and I have heard thousands of stories…I can understand the idea that, hey these stories may be exaggerated. But then I would be calling friends that I grew up with liars. I have seen a miracle, been a part of 1, and there are too many people that have seen miracles to disbelief them because of the fact that if a miracle didn’t happen to say person “John”, John can easily stand out and say this didn’t happen.

    As far as why there aren’t more and more miracles? It’s just God knows best and has a greater plan, the same way your parents probably knew what was best for you when you grew up.

    And I’m curious Daniel about your claims as a former believer, if you have ever experienced God’s love? Like physically felt it or felt the spirit come alive in you?

    Anyways, I would love to chat and you can always email me at zephyr834@gmail.com if you would like to talk.

  • Polynesianreason

    I spent 29 years in the church, Pentecostal, Baptist, Calvary Chapel. I went on a 10 day fast, studied biblical Greek and Hebrew, read the Bible front to back at least 50 times. The real issue here is fear. Christians fear if they doubt God will torture them in hell for all eternity. I know many Christians who would lie and deceive rather than accept any truth which disproves their beliefs because again if they don’t believe God will cast them into a fiery lake of burning lava for their crime of unbelief. Now, the second issue is our believers capable/mandated to do miracles? the answer is of course yes. The arguments against biblical miracles hold zero weight. Now if Christians can or should do miracles the question is why don’t we see any? Because the Bible is full of things that are not true. I personally have witnessed hundreds of people including myself being prayed for for healing and never saw any healing take place.

    Furthermore even Jesus and Paul told people to believe the evidence of miracles not just their words are preaching. Secondly Mark 16 to 18 clearly states that believers will not only lay hands on the sick but Drake deadly poison as well. The only thing I will respond to from Christians is if they want to perform a miracle before my eyes or if they want to at their own expense transport me to somewhere I can see one or thirdly pray for a miraculous healing for me and if I am instantaneously healed I will believe it because medical science cannot heal me.

    1 Corinthians 2:3-5
    I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

    Mark 16:18
    they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    John 14:9-11
    “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

  • Polynesianreason

    For those who like to use context when it suits their arguments, here is proof that Jesus was absolutely talking about supernatural miracles and not salvation. CONTEXT, FUNNY HOW THE CHRISTIANS didn’t want us reading reading above the verse, only below this particular area of Scripture. In verse 11 Jesus clearly stated that it was miracles in fact unlike Christians of today Jesus told people not to believe in here say or mere words or subjective experience he said to believe in EVIDENCE which Christians hate.

    John 14:11-14
    11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

    furthermore Jesus said Christians could ask for anything and it would be done, so when Christians ask for healing supposedly the compassionate merciful God decides not to heal and lets babies and people die for no good reason, all a part of his wonderful plan. I’m still waiting for Christians to provide evidence that I can see such as drinking deadly poison, healing me, or handling poisonous snakes. Remember just because you believe something does not make it true, just because you have stories of healing does not make that evidence, faith and belief are not evidence, look to Jesus he said believe in evidence as did the apostle Paul.

  • Jesus is just alright oh yeah

    I agree with this:

    “Of course, that’s just the beginning. Jesus said NOTHING is impossible for you! ”

    1) “You can fly…” – okay, yes, done.
    2) “…you can create things from nothing…” yep, check.
    3) “…you can make pretty girls have sex with you…” – not specific girls, because there are Universal Laws like free will, but, generally speaking, yes.
    4) “…you can eat all the candy or poison you want without getting sick…” This one seemed interesting. It seems like setting the intent to endanger oneself might actually put one in danger. I can’t say I’ve tried this one.
    5) “…you can travel back in time…” Yep, done it.
    6) “…you can travel to different solar systems…” Sure, it’s a great way to pass the time.

    So, I guess I haven’t done all of them. But quite a few. Do I get a faith sticker now?

  • Jeffrey Lee

    of coz it is logical that we can do greater work than Jesus did on earth? Why, because God’s power is infinite, when Jesus did miracle at the power point A, there is always a point great than point A. It is sure that all christian can do greater things than Jesus did since all christian have holy spirit in us. And even though it is not logical I still believe it since Bible say so.

    Bible say the just live by faith, not by sight, that is what faith means, not with your own understanding, but by conviction of God.

    I understand why you become skeptic about Christianity, because Christianity doesn’t make any sense. But let me ask you one question. Do you think it is logical assumption that we know all the things, even same as what God knows?

    “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom the foolish of his world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1 Cornithians 1:21-22

    I believe there is no function of letting God doing miracle through you. At best, the happening of miracle is the function of how much you summit to God.

    And this is my church web site, you can listen to the preaching http://www.citychurchinternational.net

    Jeffrey

  • Ronnie

    Hello everyone. I love the blog topic. There are to many post to address the different opinions so I will just make some statments and then tell you a little about my mission in life.
    First I find in ironic that most people are talking about Christians doing these works or miricles. Christians are the ones that generally discount anyone being able to work miricles ( I do healing work and its Christians that fear this as the devils work) Most Christians have no clue who Christ was or their true relationship to him. Emporer Constantine saw to it that we would not know the true Christ.
    Who is Christ? Well the virgin birth was a sun god tradition long before Jesus and jesus was only one of several so called virgin births in the mythalogical history.
    Was jesus the son of GOD. Absolutly just as you and I are sons and daughters of GOD. We all have the Mantle of spirit in us. It is that Mantle of spirit that allows us to do those works that Christ did. The Mantle os spirit is the essence of god that resides in us all. ALL OF US, it has nothing to do with being Christian, just has to do with being human and possible the other sentiant beings out there. As for people doing works like christ.. yes it is Happening but they are quiet about it and most are not Christian, at least not traditional Christians.
    I teach people to do healing work and most are amazed that in just a few minutes they can start to help people.
    I myself have helped facilitate the healing of many different things. Many things where the Dr’s had given up.
    I am not working at Christs level yet but I am working on it, I think my ego holds me back.
    Some of you will read what I say and know it as truth and you will also be doing those works as christ. Some of you will have the seed of truth planted and maybe it will sprout. Some of you will say this man is an idiot and continue to live your mundane ignorant lives.
    Peach be with you all.
    Namaste’
    The White Dragon

  • http://www.ancientsuns.com Carl Martin

    Each of us has had different experiences. We view the world colored by our own points-of-view. There are some very lovely points-of-view, here.

    Miracles! I have found out a few things about miracles. In fact, you might say I’ve discovered the mechanics of creation. A bold claim, yes, but I’ve also created a few miracles. Perhaps none of them greater than those supposedly performed by Jesus, but transcendent to physical law, nonetheless.

    Peter at least walked on water for a moment before doubt set in. Skepticism is like doubt. Only I’ve found that one’s confidence has to be perfect for a creation (miracle) to manifest. If you have 99.99999% confidence, you get zero result. I’m a scientist. I care about such details. I have my own measure of skepticism, but I’m able to suspend disbelief at times for the sake of an investigation. Truth, not my own opinion, is what is paramount.

    In 1977, on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, on a smoggy afternoon in the thick of rush-hour traffic, a miracle occurred. More accurately, I created one. As I approached a section of Wilshire called the Miracle Mile (a touch of irony that!), my car was assaulted six times by those of other drivers, all within two blocks. My destination was Century City to pick up my wife from work, and I was running very late.

    I had already experienced several miracles prior to this, all minor ones, and nothing that anyone else would notice enough to entertain a claim of proof of miracles. Yet, I knew they were proof. I experienced each moment of creation and felt the simultaneity with physical manifestation.

    That day in 1977, I was feeling frustration at the thick traffic. My frustration turned to anger with each dangerous near-collision as others cut me off when there wasn’t enough room for their cars. Suddenly, I saw the mechanics of creation. There was no doubt. Suddenly, I felt light — unburdened by the presence of thick traffic. Suddenly, I was no longer selfish or vulnerable. Getting to my destination sooner no longer mattered. I felt a profound humility. It seemed my shoulders were rubbing the tops of the skyscrapers along mid-Wilshire.

    From the Buddhist point-of-view, I had viewed the “as-it-isness” of my frustration and it disappeared. From the Christian point-of-view, I now knew the “truth” of my frustration and was free of it. That in itself was a miracle, but no one else could see such a thing. A kinder, gentler driver in L.A. traffic would likely go unnoticed — or merely taken advantage of. But that didn’t matter to me.

    The next moment, I created a picture of a more desirable situation — one of wide open spaces and smooth sailing all the way. That was the creation, but a creation, as I discovered, does not have any persistence. It has no width in the space-time continuum. Next, I “allowed” the creation into space-time. This is the same thing as God’s “day of rest” (which, by the way, we seem still to be living in, all 15-20 billion years of it). With “allowing” my creation into the time stream, it was manifest.

    The car in front of me immediately moved into the lane to the right. Then another car moved into the lane on the left. Within 5 seconds the center lane in from of me was empty of cars. More than two miles of empty lane stood in front of me, with snarling traffic held at bay on either side. More than 2000 cars and their drivers participated in my silent request. Yes, I think that qualifies as a miracle.

    It’s sad that such things seem so rare. I hunger to get closer to that state of being, to dwell there for more than just a few moments at a time. Were you there that day on Wilshire Boulevard? Did you witness the miracle? If so, tell me what kind of car I was driving that day. That would verify we’re talking about the same miracle.

    Is there any truth in the Bible? I think so, but it has been interpreted so many ways, it has become hard to know who is right. One Christian website on this same subject asked the question, does John 14:12 mean that we can do even greater miracles than Jesus? Their answer was “No way!” I have to laugh and cry. In effect, he’s saying don’t believe what Jesus said; my interpretation is better.

    Genesis 1:26 says that man was created in God’s image. What is that image? God, it would seem, is a non-physical, immortal spirit, with the power of creation. That would make us non-physical, immortal spirit, with the power of creation. I’ve created miracles, more than a dozen of them.

    Also, I’ve been outside this physical body known as “Carl Martin.” And no, it was not induced by physical trauma or drugs. One moment I was talking to a friend about philosophical things, and the next I was outside the second floor window looking back toward the closed, blue-gray blinds. I could see the cracks and bumps of the pink stucco second floor wall. I could also see the asphalt driveway 15 feet below me, and the round light fixtures of the near-empty, Chez Claude Restaurant parking lot, next door.

    So, when a scientist says that Moses likely didn’t part the sea but merely walked across a shallow swamp, I have to laugh. When another scientist says that Jesus likely didn’t walk on water, but merely surfed on a block of ice, I also have to laugh. But they have their limited experience. Skepticism or doubt stands in their way. It’s like they’re performing a chemical experiment, but putting the wrong chemicals in the test tube. When observing the creation of miracles, skepticism is the wrong tool.

    For myself, finding a way to maintain 100% confidence is one of my next tasks. My grandfather was a Southern Baptist minister and missionary to Nigeria, Africa. I don’t think he would approve. He certainly wouldn’t understand.

  • Bria

    I haven’t read through everyone’s comments, so I don’t know if I’ll be repeating myself. But, because you haven’t seen and you haven’t heard of crazy amazing miracles happening doesn’t mean that they aren’t. You’re just in the wrong country. American “Christianity” is mostly dry and powerless. I’m an American Christian saying that, yes. I’m sorry that you got turned away from the faith, man. But, a true encounter with the Living God would’ve made it impossible for you to leave thinking that the Bible is bunk. You may leave angry with God, but His existence would not be improbable or impossible. And when I mean encounters, I’m not talking about emotional highs or feel good sermons, either. But I’ve seen and heard of God doing amazing things through people.

    You want to know why here in America you’re not seeing greater things than what Jesus did? It’s because there aren’t many Christians in America. LoL, I’ll probably be hated for that there statement. But “narrow is the gate,” man. He should’ve said narrow is the gate in America and most westernized countries. There are a whole bunch of religious folks walking around with their noses up, bibles in hand, and hearts closed to what and who God truly is and what He can do because they love themselves and sin too much. They don’t know what it means to live holy, because God is Holy. They don’t know what it means for someone to truly die to their own desires so that the desires of another is met and so that obedience to God’s will is number one. They don’t know what means to really get into His presence and operate in power. And those they may pray and ask to be able to do miracles ask because THEY want to be famous, instead of making God famous. People are afraid to be hated, and disliked. They want Jesus’ miracles, but not the suffering. The power, but not the faithfulness to God.

    I don’t pretend to know if Jesus meant miracles or numbers, but why is it impossible that He meant both? I know of a man that fasted for about 78 days. Jesus did it for 40. I know that there are pastors and preachers who have ministered to thousands more people than Jesus. How awesome! How amazing! But, don’t generalize, and don’t ask questions like

    “Where are the Christians making blind men see? Raising men who have been dead for days? What about greater things — something like, say, having an amputee grow a limb back? No takers?”

    when you haven’t truly even met any real Christians. When you haven’t been to Peru, Haiti, or even Puerto Rico, where God MOVES. Not with feelings or emotions, but He physically moves. He’s ready to do all of that stuff here. He’s just looking for people that He can use to do it. I tell you, He’s already found some. A friend of mine’s mother was in her nth stage of cancer, and he prayed for a year, and took the time to fast and prayed even more. Her cancer’s in remission. It went from nth stage (she was about to die, only had maybe a month left), to remission. I believe that she can be completely healed.

    But people don’t want to fast. They don’t want to pray in power. They don’t want to live for God TRULY if it costs something. But, they want to bear His name. THAT’s what using God’s name in vain looks like. It’s not just cussing with God in it, but it’s saying “I’m a Christian,” and “lacking the power there of.”

    • Elemenope

      According to David Bowie, God *is* an American.

      So, hah.

    • Sunny Day

      “I haven’t read through everyone’s comments, so I don’t know if I’ll be repeating myself.”

      Not only are you repeating whats been said before, you also sound incredibly stupid.

      To sum up: No true Scotsman.

      Gee thanks!

  • Custador

    Ive saved three lives that I know of. Does that count?

  • http://N/A Joshua

    Before saying too much, allow me to clarify. I am not a christian, I believe it is a shattered and man made religion. Yeshua haMashiach was not a Christian either. He was a clansman of the tribe of Yahudah. And its no great wonder no one experiences more of his energy that they do or have the proof of it to show, seeing that not a single christian is willing to keep the laws of Israel…Torah. The Sabbath is the fourth of the 10 commandments, the sabbath has always been from friday eve to saturday eve. How many christians do you know who have re-married while their “ex” spouse is still alive? (How many of you will look up Matthew 5:32). Do not think I have come to loosen Torah or the Prophets, I have not come to loosen but to fulfill. For TRULY I say to you that until heaven and earth pass away not one Yodh or vowel stroke will pass from Torah until everything happens. All who loosen, therefore, from one of these small commandments (mitzvoth) and teach thus to the sons of men will be called little in the the kingdom of Israel. But all who do and teach the mitzvoth will be called great in the kingdom – Matthew 5:17-19. Every church teaches the opposite by saying that the laws of Torah are obsolete, even though they read this all the time – they can’t comprehend it because the darkness of the material nature with all of its goodness, passion, and ignorance has blinded their minds and skewered their hearts. So which of you have experienced with the doing of Your Father’s mitzvoth and then not experienced His shakanah (dwelling with you)? Which of you will even try? Start with the 10, there are 603 more. These are the regulations for being in the mystic circle of fellowship with my Father. Oh, by the way, eternal damnation burning forever and ever in a lake of fire was merely a parable to sift out those who can not at this time follow me from those who will. And it was a parable explaining how the desire to give gratification to your senses (smell, taste, feel, see, hear, think: your mind is the higher vibration of what you eat – thus atleast go kosher, if not vegetarian… how many christians will give up their pork chops, I wonder?) is maintaining a perpetual fire burning your life away to death and back to the high hair and the Gerber dripping down your chin again. Take a hint because I’ll say no more than what I’ve said all along.


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