What glorious things await us who love the Lord Jesus!
To begin, in the first chapter of The Gospel According To John, there is an interesting dialogue between Jesus and Nathanael as Andrew, Peter, and Philip looked on. When Nathanael confessed Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel, Jesus answered and said:
“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?’ YOU WILL SEE GREATER THINGS THAN THESE.” -John 1:45-51
So, as we travel through John and mine the treasures of His written Word, what was the beginning of ‘these greater things’ Jesus spoke of to His disciples? And what awaits us?
Well, for one thing, He immediately told them from now on they would “see Heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” And just as Jacob saw in his dream a ladder that reached to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it; and the LORD stood above it, so were there times in the past whereby God opened heaven for men to see the Almighty God, so too will God open heaven in the future when Jesus Christ comes out of heaven to the air above the clouds to gather up His holy church to Himself. And even during the horrible seven-year Tribulation to follow, when the church is Heaven with the Lord, mankind will see heaven open and realize who is sending the wrath of God upon an unbelieving earth! But that is for a time in the near future…
Our story begins at Bethsaida in Galilee in the year 30 AD. It is here Jesus draws the first disciples to Himself; here Jesus speaks to Nathaniel. Three days later, Jesus and His disciples attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. And when they ran out of wine, Jesus turned six barrels of water into wine! The very best wine that there ever was!
Over the course of the three years of Jesus’ ministry, huge crowds were drawn to Him. He healed the sick, the lame, the cripple; He gave sight to the blind, forgave sins, raised the dead, walked on water, stopped a storm, healed leprosy, and cast out demons. He was transfigured for a moment to the glory He was to be, and is today as He sits at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven.
Jesus shed His blood on the cross for the sins of the whole world; He was buried, and on the third day He was resurrected from the dead. They saw Him in His new, glorified body. Later, He ascended to Heaven from the Mount of Olives as His disciples saw His rapture…
He sent the Holy Spirit into the world after He left. And the holy church grew and grew and grew all over the world!
The disciples saw one great thing after another, yet the greatest event in church history still awaits us! What is this great event both Jesus and Paul talked about as a greater thing than these? Well, it didn’t happen then, and it hasn’t happened for over 2,000 years!
And now, in the 21st century of the Church Age, the Age of Grace, what ‘even greater things than these’ await us faithful believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?
Just this, as John 14:1-6, I Corinthians 15:51-56, and I Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us, there will come a day, a very special day, perhaps soon, when the Lord Jesus will come out of Heaven to the air above the clouds, and with a mighty shout and the blast of the trumpet, He shall raise the dead who sleep in Christ with immortal, glorified bodies just like His, and at the very same time, He shall change (translate) the living believers to immortal bodies, and together He shall immediately draw us to Himself, where we shall meet Him in the air, above the clouds, and shall see Him as He is, for we shall be like Him.
All this shall take place in an instant, ‘in the twinkling of an eye,’ by the almighty power of God. And than we shall follow Him up to Heaven to the throne of the Father Almighty. And so shall we ever be with the Lord! That is His promise! That is what He is going to do! And that is His comfort to you and me, the church.
For He told Nathaniel and He tells us, “You shall see greater things than these!” This is our hope, this is the glory that awaits us. And this is what we wait for, to look for with glad and joyous hearts, and tell others of this great mystery in God.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.