Now, these verses come at the start of the “farewell discourse” or “speech” by Jesus in John’s gospel. He’s going away, but he’ll “come back.” It is this time “in-between,” as scholars call it, that Jesus is talking about.
The basic point is whether or not one believes in Jesus, believes in his “name,” in who he truly is – the divine Son of God. Such a belief opens one’s eyes to see that the Father and the Son are One. Jesus even uses “imperative” verbs to make his point – and an imperative verb means it is a command. “Don’t be troubled”; “believe”; “have faith in me”; and so on.
Once that belief becomes a reality in one’s heart, a true relationship is established between the believer and Jesus. Now one can approach Jesus in faith, and not demand a sign. Now all that remains is to carry on the work of Jesus, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own power. Precisely what is it that makes a believer’s works “greater” than those of Jesus? As Fr. Francis Moloney (the noted theologian) says, the greatness comes from the very fact of his absence! Jesus is still present – in his absence! And as the number of members of the believing Body of Christ increase, the works of Jesus increase proportionately, because now he can spread his word and works of love through millions of believers!
Once again that puts the burden of responsibility on the believer. Are we actually carrying on the mission of Jesus, by spreading his words and actions of love? Our answer determines whether or not we are in the proper relationship with Jesus. Because our journey is a pilgrim’s progress, it is always possible for us to make improvements in our relationships with Jesus.
So, for a Christian, believing in God can’t be separated from believing in the One he sent, his “beloved Son” – the One to whom the Father commanded us to “listen.” Jesus is our model of holiness; he is the Way, the Truth and the Life for us to follow.