In John 1:51,52 Jesus made a prophetic statement to Nathanael we could latch onto in this New year. He said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And he said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see the heaven open, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
I believe that no matter the reality of the physical conditions around us, 2016 will be the year of “greater things” for each one of us. We shall not only see “greater things”, we shall do “greater things” for God in 2016. After all Jesus said, that we shall do “greater works than these” (John 14:12).
Jesus’ ability to exercise the gift of the word of knowledge by predicting to Nathanael that he was a man without deceit, and that he saw him under the fig tree startled him. Jesus, then, told him, “You will see greater things than these.” No doubt, Nathanael must have wondered what Jesus meant by this statement. Jesus exercised the same gift of the word of knowledge and word of wisdom several times over in the course of his ministry.
I believe that Nathanael, at some point in his life must have witnessed the “greater things” Jesus spoke to him about in this passage, though the scriptures was silent about it. He probably witnessed the public announcements by the Father endorsing the sonship and ministry of Jesus Christ. Twice, in Luke 3:21,22 and 9:34-36, God publicly affirmed the sonship and ministry of Jesus. “You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.”
Surprisingly, unlike his fellow compatriots from Bethsaida, Philip, Andrew and Peter, the name of Nathanael is missing among the names of Jesus’ disciples in Luke 6:12-15, but we see him later in John 21:2, among the disciples when Jesus appeared to them by the sea shore. Was the miracle by the sea shore the “greater things” Jesus referred to when he spoke to Nathanael?
Whatever, let us look at this phrase, “you shall see greater things,” in the context of our present realities. I believe God is speaking to us through this scripture; he is saying to us to get ready we shall see “greater things” in 2016. I am sure we saw “great things” in 2015, but let us be ready for “greater things” in 2016. “Greater things” of what Jesus would do in the nations; “greater things” he would do in our lives and “greater things” he would do through us.
Wherever Jesus went, his ministry and miracles caused a lot of stir and consternation. In Luke 5:26, the people responded thus when Jesus healed the paralytic man: “And they were all amazed and they glorified God and were filled with fear , saying, “We have seen strange things today.” And in Luke 7:16, the raising of the son of the widow of Nain by Jesus evoked great awe and praise among the people, “Then fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen up amount us.” and God has visited his people.” This same Jesus has not changed, he will do strange things in our eyes in 2016. We shall not only see “greater things”, but we shall do “greater things.” See what Jesus said in John 5:20.
In his statement to Nathanael, Jesus said, “hereafter you shall see the heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” A cross reference to this was the experience Jacob had at Luz, which he later renamed Bethel (Genesis 28:10-17). At Bethel, God gave Jacob a vision of his destiny for him. In the vision, Jacob saw Angels ascending and descending from heaven. Jesus was possibly saying to Nathanael that he (Christ) would enjoy an open heaven over his life and ministry. There is no doubt Jesus experienced an unusual open heaven over his life and ministry. Be ready to experience the same open heavens in 2016.
WHY AM I OPTIMISTIC IN 2016?
Why am I optimistic about 2016, when the price of oil is declining and terrorism is on the increase? Why do I believe we shall see and do “greater things in 2016?” My optimism is due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, because the word of God said so. I believe the words of Jesus should not be taken lightly. When God spoke to Nathanael that he would see “greater things,” it was not based on Nathanael’s faith, but on Christ’s faith in his Father. So, what God will do in 2016 is not based on you, but on his plans and ability.
Secondly, because Jesus in John 14:12 said we shall do “greater works than these.”
Thirdly, God will do “greater things” because he said so in Habakkuk 2:5, “Look among the nation’s and watch – be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you will not believe, though it were told you.” I strongly believe that God will do a mighty work in the nation’s of the earth that would bring in unprecedented HARVEST of souls. My optimism is partly based on the volume of prayers the saints are making to God from all over the world concerning the harvest. I am sure these prayers are not for nothing and that God would answer them. After all, did God not do a rare thing to swear by his name, that as long as he lives the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth even as water cover the sea?
We should also believe God for “greater things” in our personal lives. During our anointing and Communion service this January, a lady who has had serious fibroid problem took the communion by faith, by night when she was sleeping she had a vision from God. By the next morning she realized the fibroid was already dissolving. This is an indication of the “greater things” God will do in 2016.
Four, we shall see “greater things” because God in Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do a new thing…” God is always doing new things though we may not know about them. What God plans to do in 2016 is not dependent on global situations, but on his sovereign plans and power.
The fifth reason for my optimism is because the Bible said in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” God spoke to the children of Israel specifically in this passage. When Israel was in captivity with little or no hope of returning to Jerusalem, God promised them a restoration back to their land. Even in the most gloomy times, we should be optimistic. God gives us hope at all times.
The sixth reason why we shall see greater things is because “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). With man many things are impossible, but with God, “all things are possible.”
The seventh reason why we shall see “greater things” is because of what Job 5:9 says, “He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.” (NLT). Is this not true of our God? Can there be any limitation with a God who does “countless miracles?”
The last reason why I believe we shall see “greater things” in 2016 is because this is the era of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus spoke to Nathanael, the Holy Spirit had not been poured out on the Church. We are in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, an era of all possibilities with God. Now that the Father has sent the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to do “greater works” in the name of Jesus.
In view of all these reasons, I boldly say to you, welcome to the year of “greater things” and look out for the things God is going to do!