What does it mean to do the works of Jesus? How we answer the question reveals our understanding of what it means to live “in Christ.” Jesus had a high view of his followers. He believed in them more than they believed in themselves. He gave them extravagant assignments during their three years together on earth. And as Jesus prepared to leave, he charged his disciples with the impossible.
“I 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. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14: 12-14)The first disciples were up to the task: they found themselves so transformed by the new birth that they were, in fact, a new creation. Heaven’s DNA had altered their very being. As a result they demonstrated the character of Christ to a degree not possible by their own good intentions or human effort.
The first disciples were up to the task: the record of the Book of Acts is that the first followers of Jesus were startlingly like Jesus, in thought, word and deed. The history of the early church is filled with descriptions of ordinary people who declared the message of the Kingdom of God--as Jesus had done--and demonstrated the coming of that Kingdom with powerful actions--as Jesus had done.
The first disciples were up to the task. In the intervening centuries the people of God have sometimes lived up to the charge left by our Lord, and sometimes have changed the task into something attainable by human effort. I believe every generation should wrestle with the challenge Jesus left us. The first disciples were up to the task. The obvious question is whether we are up to the task as well. That’s something to consider on a Monday, and for the rest of our lives.