Week 6 (February)
Wouldn't words from Jesus' answer to John's followers in Luke 7:22 (quoted above) be great sign on a church building? I've thought how dramatic it would look splashed in giant letters across the end of a building so all could see
Oh, I wouldn't put it there to imply that we had a "miracles show" going on in that building. I just feel that in some dramatic way we need to shout to the twenty-first-century world that God has visited His people.
To the worshipers coming to such a building, these phrases would emphasize the celebration their worship should be — the celebration of a personal relationship with a Creator who cares about His people.
Of course, my huge sign might have very little impact. For the idea of miracle — a word which ought to send a tingle up our spines — has become blunted and dulled. Today, everything is a miracle. we've even got a "miracle" salad dressing!
It was to His ministry of compassionate miracles that Jesus pointed to answer John's question about Jesus' Messiahship. What John's two followers witnessed was an ordinary day in Jesus' ministry. He didn't slyly let them in on some secret revelation. Jesus simply told these two men to go back to John's prison and report on these ordinary day happenings.
Parenthetically, this account has made me wonder if the events of an ordinary day of ministry by my church today would be strong evidences of the Lord's presence in our midst.
The ministry of compassionate healing which Jesus had during his earthly ministry is carried on today by His Holy Spirit. Miraculous healings, such as those which confirmed Jesus as the awaited Messiah to John and his two followers, serve today to confirm our belief in Jesus as the Christ.
During our first home assignment from Italy I saw a walking demonstration of the powerful visitation of God to His people. In May of that year I spoke in an evening service of the Mansfield, Arkansas church where Johnny Lee Self was pastoring. Over dinner in the parsonage before service, Rev. Self told me part of his life's story.
Years ago, injuries in the military had paralyzed his left side. He became a wheelchair pastor and served the Lord faithfully for years. Then, not long ago his health worsened and he had to be hospitalized. It was his heart. The days of hospitalization stretched into weeks and then months.
All this never dampened Rev. Self's vibrant Christian experience. It never crushed his faith. He just kept on loving Jesus and praising the Lord.
The doctors finally decided to try to replace a valve in his heart. Not long before that surgery the Lord revealed to Rev. Self that he would not only recover from the operation but that he would also begin to walk again.
He shared that vision with his medical doctor. "I'm sorry, Rev. Self," said the surgeon, "but you're only creating a false hope for yourself. There's no way this particular operation will have any effect on your paralysis. Please be realistic."
But Johnny Lee Self knew he had heard from the Lord. Within days after the heart surgery, movement returned to his left side. Today, a once-lame preacher walks around Mansfield, Arkansas. The wheelchair has been thrown away.
God has visited His people! Alleluia!
I wrote these devotional thoughts while a missionary in Italy. They originally appeared in the February 10, 1980 edition of Standard, a take-home piece for adult Sunday school classes
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132
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