I’ve been reading through the gospel of Luke. Some of you might remember my post here about Warren Wiersbe’s book/bible study on the first thirteen chapters of Luke. I said when I reviewed it that I hadn’t had time to really delve into it but I would because I could really see a need in my own life to be more compassionate.
I have been very true to my word. I started it almost immediately and in the past few weeks I have learned so much. I am just right now starting chapter 10 and I am seeing things, learning things I never realized before. I can’t tell you the number of times I have read the book of Luke but this time is different. I know, “The Word of God is quick and powerful” and I know because it is living you will always learn something from reading it.
I’ve realized, fully realized, just what the disciples gave up to follow Jesus. They sacrificed EVERYTHING. They left home, jobs, family, everything. To follow an itinerant rabbi who was always just left of the law-keepers. The day my eyes were opened to this, I couldn’t help but pray, “Lord, what can I sacrifice for You?” Immediately I had an answer and immediately I made the sacrifice. It wasn’t easy, but it has gotten easier.
Today I was reading the first 24 verses of chapter 10. You know, Luke is telling us of Jesus sending out the 72 other disciples. We are told in verse 9, that Jesus told them to “heal the sick”. I had to stop and ask “How?” When they returned rejoicing because the demons were subject to them, Jesus says in verse 19
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
I told Jesus if it was okay with Him, I would rather not walk on snakes. Unless He specifically told me too.
Warren Wiersbe says that these miracles, the miracles Jesus commissioned the 72 disciples to carry out, are not available today. We can’t heal the sick, we can’t cast out demons. Those miracles were for a time only and now is not the time.
I am not sure I agree. Quite frankly, I’m almost positive I don’t. You see, my Bible very clearly says that my God does not change, there is no shadow of turning with Him, He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. And while He can and does use different methods to get His point across to humanity. He is the same. If He did miracles 2000 years ago, He STILL does miracles today. I think…no I KNOW He still desires to use us to accomplish, to perform the miracles He longs to do in our midst.
I am reminded though of the town (I believe it was Nazareth) Jesus refused to do any miracles for them, why? Because of unbelief.
In Luke 4,Jesus tells them there were plenty of widows in Israel, but God sent Elijah outside of Israel, there were many in Israel with leprosy during the time of Elisha, but only one was healed and he was Naaman the Syrian. While Jesus does not say, I am sure we can conclude that these two outsiders were healed because of their belief.
I believe that to be true of those of us in western civilization today. I don’t believe the miracles of healing, casting out demons is over and done with. I firmly believe those of us living in the western world don’t see any miracles because of affluence of purse and poverty of faith. Jesus marvels over the faith of the Romans who came to Him for healing, “I have never see such faith in all Israel!”
I am not by any means, saying we aren’t healed because of our lack of faith. I am saying we don’t see the miracles those in other cultures see because of our lack of faith…corporately.
I wept when I read of a husband praying for his wife, who was in agony. She had taken pain meds but it was too late to keep the pain under control, and now she was behind the proverbial 8 ball. Awake in the wee hours because of pain. Writhing and crying. Her husband, prayed that the pain would be taken away. And immediately it lessened in severity and soon was gone.
That my friends is a miracle! That is what Jesus longs to do for each of us. But our lack of faith….our affluence of doctors, our affluence of purse, our affluence of attitudes that scream “I can pull myself up, thank you.”
It’s not that we don’t seek Him, not that we don’t ask Him, we just don’t really know if we really believe He not only can but that He wants to heal us. That He wants to perform miracles in and through us.
I can’t help but cry out, “Lord, I believe, but help my massive unbelief. I want to see miracles! I want to see Your power, I want to see You are more powerful than everything.”
See, I don’t really think those of us in western civilization really think God is more powerful than anything. Powerful? Yes, maybe. To a point. But more powerful than cancer? More powerful than planes crashing into buildings? More powerful than a murderer? More powerful than my debt? More powerful than my own propensity to sin?
He is! Even if right now I can only say that because of a head knowledge, I long for the time I can say I believe it because I’ve seen His hand at work. I’ve seen Him perform miracles. I’ve seen Him calm my storms, and I’ve seen Him calm me in the midst of my storms.
Jesus is moved not by our affluence, not by what we can do for Him. No. He is moved by our faith.