John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
In thinking of this passage, I start with the mission of our Lord Jesus. When He read as recorded in Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
The poor here are those who are poor in spirit, healing of those who are of broken hearts by the weight and guilt of their sin. etc. And while He healed the sick and raised the dead, the greater mission was the preaching of the gospel, making converts.
John 5:20-21, “20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
Wherever the disciples went, we read of many instances of conversion, which the apostles were instrumental in, and which were more in number than those which were under our Lord’s personal ministry. Besides, the conversion of a sinner is a greater work than any of the miracles of raising the dead. Now Jesus having preached three years by the time of ascension, He had about 120- 500 converts. Great example, Peter preached ONE sermon and 3,000 people are converted, another time he preaches again and you hear of another couple of thousands.
Peter, John, Paul prayed for boldness to preach the gospel. When Paul was encouraging men like Timothy, he did not say perform more miracles but preach the gospel. I therefore believe the greater works is preaching the gospel with all believers collectively which was more than Christ did while Jesus was here on earth. I believe greater works than these shall he do; meaning, not greater in nature and kind, but more in number; for the apostles, in a long series of time, and course of years, went about preaching the Gospel, not in Judea only, but in all the world; “God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost,” (Heb 2:4).