Usually a death bed promise works the other way. The one who will continue on promises to do something after the loved one is gone. As further proof of the resurrection, Jesus, while still alive but soon to die on the cross, makes a promise to His church that through Him (alive again and interceding for us at the Father’s side) we will do greater things than He did while on the earth.
I. John 14:12-14. There’s no doubt that Jesus did great things in His three-year earthly ministry. After all, He was God in the flesh. But the King of Kings showed Himself to be the servant of servants with great compassion: touching the leper, raising the widow’s only son from death, multiplying food to feed the hungry masses following Him, casting out demons from a man long bound. And while He did these things, He spoke of how we would become parts of His body (Matthew 16:18), bought with His blood (Acts 20:28) and disciplined to share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:7-11). Why? So that we might serve as He did (Galatians 5:13).
II. Romans 12:4-8. Belief in Him is essential for the various body parts to work together to do great works (John 10:37-38). We are to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) and walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6). Not awkward like the participants in a three-legged race, we are to move together as one body, seeing ourselves as parts of the body contributing to its working and connected to the Head (Colossians 2:19). Whatever your function, you are essential to Christ’s body serving properly.
III. John 13:12-17. We stand in awe of what the Amish can accomplish in just one day by working together … and without power tools. But Jesus promises the body that we will do even greater things than what He did while in his body. We certainly see His enemies powerless from the start (Acts 4:14-16) to thwart a unified body. Even their efforts to smash the hornet’s nest in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-4) backfired as the scattered disciples preached the gospel wherever they went. So, as an individual body part, how are you serving in your personal ministry? And, as a member of Christ’s body, how are you working together with others to serve and function as one body?
Jesus built His church with His own blood so that Christians around the world could serve together in local bodies and together be the body of Christ with Him as its Head. It starts with you. How are you serving as Christ did?