I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the BBC show: Call that Hard Work? but the basic idea is that three working professionals swap jobs for a while to get a glimpse into how difficult someone else’s role really is. (I remember one particularly funny episode featuring a window cleaner, a train supervisor and a children’s party entertainer!).
Having been Tim for a morning I can confirm – it really is hard work! Everything from discovering the core idea, to trying to use the right language, to finding images and sound effects, to the sheer amount of extra editing to make it as visual and memorable as possible… And I did it once – he does it once a week on top of the Tuesday and Friday night youth zoom bible sessions! #newfoundrespect!
Oh and by the way, on top of that – he just so happened to completely knock the preach out of the park, managing to be thoroughly biblical, real, honest and huge inspiring all at the same time! (Look out Lorraine and Janet – people will be itching to hear you preach next!)
But for me it meant watching back some of Tim’s now mahoosive (and impressive) back catalogue and trying to replicate what he’d done. It meant trying to think differently… it meant (rather scarily!) trying to think like Tim...
But when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zones and experiencing the “Role-Reversal Of All Role-Reversals”, how does this one sound?
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they 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 Father may be glorified in the Son!
As Jesus prepared to leave the disciples and return to the Father He announces what is quite simply the greater ever job swap of all time. “You will do the works that I have been doing…” Jesus’ breathtaking vision for discipleship (theirs and ours) is to multiply His life in us until we literally do what Jesus does.
The “works” that Jesus is referring to are those supernaturally charged moments where God’s compassion and power are revealed:
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 works themselves.
But He’s not done yet.
To this amazing promise He adds these even more amazing words:
…and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Why is that? What happened when Jesus went to the Father? Remember Peter’s words on the Day of Pentecost:
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
The Day of Pentecost confirms Jesus’ current location and status – He is Risen and Exalted, Ascended and Reigning – and now His Spirit is available (“poured out”!). The only explanation for the miracle of preaching in multiple languages at one and the same time is that Jesus is Risen and His Spirit has been lavished on the church, unleashing wave upon wave of power, boldness and gifting.
I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry to see the church bathed in that power (or in Jesus’ words: baptised in the Holy Spirit – Acts 1.5) again today. I’m longing to see us discover the greater works that Jesus promised; to move in supernaturally charged ability and authority, so the compassion and power of the Father might actually be seen in us today!
But how on earth do we begin to do that?
I love these words of William Temple:
It’s no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it; I can’t.
And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it; I can’t.
But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like his.
And if the Spirit of Jesus could come and live in me, then I could live a life like His.
If that sounds like a great idea to you – then I’ve got some good news… it wasn’t William Temple’s idea – it was God’s!
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you!
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The whole of the Trinity, (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit) are fully committed to this singular mission – to fill your life (your whole being) with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that you may walk in the likeness of Jesus, to glory of God the Father!
When it comes to tasks we’re not used to doing (such as in the case of ‘job swaps’!) we often joke about trying to “channel” someone else’s abilities or thoughts or personality… but in the case of doing the works of Jesus, the very same spirit who anointed Jesus is available to work through us today! He longs to take up permanent residence in our lives, and for His ministry to flow out of our intimate relationship with Him!
Last Sunday evening, I spoke about being Immersed in the life of the Holy Spirit, and about a time in my life where I was asking God for more of Him. Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, and I wonder if you would join me this week in asking daily for more of His Spirit, and waiting to see what His power enables and inspires us to do!
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
I’m a huge fan of the band Casting Crowns, and their album: Only Jesus is very special and means an awful lot to me. The song from that album: The Change in me is very special:
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