If you know me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know him, and you have seen him.”
Philip asked him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever sees me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
All that I say to you, I do not say of myself. The Father who dwells in me is doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do.
Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. Everything you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon my name, I will do it.
In today’s gospel reading we hear another mysterious statement of Jesus which a person can find hard to believe. It is this statement: “The one who believes in me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these.” Now is this true?
Well, if we limit ourselves to the miracles of Jesus (what are often called “works” in John’s gospel), it is not clear if ever in the course of the Christian centuries any given saint restored to health more people than Jesus did. We will never know because we have no statistics to compare.
However, presumably Jesus is also thinking here of his many sermons and intimate talks delivered in the course of his public life. How many people did he reach during that time? Given the estimated population of Palestine at the time (a few millions at most), we can guess that Jesus’ preaching reached a few hundred thousand people. But nowadays, thanks to the modern mass media, a popular televangelist or a successful religious author can easily reach millions of people. Naturally Jesus could not have anticipated this development. Yet, as a prophet, he could have a good idea concerning it. And, far from being jealous, he rejoiced in it, glad to be surpassed by his own disciples.
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