Friday, April 2, 2010

Miracles That Are Always Available

Some thoughts from last spring: Jesus died on Good Friday and rose on Easter, but what does this mean for us? I thought about this as I've served on the intercessory prayer team at my church.

Jesus healed several people: the blind (Matt. 29:29-34, Mark 8:22-25; John 9), a woman with a hemorrhage (Matt. 9:2-8), a paralyzed man (Luke 5:18-2), other lepers (Luke 17:11-19), a deaf-mute (Mark 7:31-37), and a woman who couldn’t straighten herself (Luke 13:9-17). He also healed some people who hadn’t approached him at all (John 5:2-9), and some people weren’t healed because they didn’t believe (Mark 6:5-6).

Today, healing miracles happen but with much less frequency (and usually in conjunction with modern medical science). If, today, I needed a healing miracle but didn’t get one, I might think: perhaps I don’t believe strongly enough, or maybe Jesus is displeased with me for some reason, or I don’t deserve God’s care. I once knew a terminal-cancer patient who felt very distressed that God didn't seem to hear her prayers (although she did find peace at the end).

We need to interpret the pre-resurrection actions of Jesus alongside his death and resurrection. In his earthly ministry, Jesus particularly needed to show people God’s power, so they could believe even greater things would happen later. And now that Jesus has risen from the dead, we have all kinds of wonderful miracles daily and forever. These miracles are always available. Jesus has given us life with God forever. He gives us access to God in prayer. He gives us fellowship with other Christians. He gives us his Holy Spirit. He gives us power and grace through the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. He has given us the assurance of God’s love. He has given us power and guidance for daily living. He has given us the guarantee of Heaven and takes us there when we die. We may tend to forget these less "showy" miracles, but actually they’re the most important of all.

Also: remember that everyone whom Jesus healed died eventually! They faced the fear of sickness and death all over again. Even the best healing miracles are temporary; no amount of prayers can make us live physically forever. That’s where the greatest miracle of eternal life because especially precious.

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