Sunday, 24 January 2010

pondering miracles...

Today I'm left pondering miracles, healings and resurrections...

As a Christian we're taught of the many great things Jesus did while on Earth, as well as the glorious power of God. It is not at all uncommon that when someone becomes ill, people pray for them to recover quickly, or to be healed and restored to health. Even when faced with serious illnesses people pray in faith for miracles ~ and this is common.

Even people who are not grounded in faith and who may not know Christ will stop and pray for great miracles when faced with illness and death.

So why then do we not pray for resurrections? Why when this is mentioned do people doubt or question?

In John 11 we learn the story of Lazarus.
"1Now a man named Lazarus was sick." When Jesus heard this he said, "4This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." Jesus told his disciples that they should go to him in Judea, but his disciples had fear as they had already faced persecution there. Jesus told them, ""Lazarus is dead, 5and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

When they arrived they were greeted by Lazarus' sister. '21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." 23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,b]">[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world." '

Though at first she didn't understand, she never doubted Jesus.

When they took Jesus to see Lazarus' tomb, Jesus wept. Many people wondered why Christ hadn't come to heal Lazarus before death. Jesus asked to enter the tomb, despite the odor or death and the doubts of some of the mourners.

"40Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" 41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." 43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

We read of another resurrection in Mark 5.

Mark 5:35 "While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” Their faith had expired when the girl died, they lost all hope of seeing a miracle. Then (Mark 5:36) Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

5:41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” and (verse 42) Immediately the girl stood up and walked around.

We see here that people had faith Jesus could heal illness, but then doubted that he could resurrect the dead. But really, how can we distinguish what miracles are "rational," "believable," or "common" and which are not? Are any miracles described as "rational," "believable," or "common?" No, because then they wouldn't require faith.

In James 5 James writes, "13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

We are called to pray continuously, to pray in faith and to bring everything to our Father... so why not bring our deepest requests, fears and sufferings to him? Why not pray for miracles?

If we can believe in the works on Christ and his disciples on Earth, and if we can believe in the power and glory of God, why can't we truly believe that all things are possible through our Father?

For more listen to John Piper talk about (briefly) about miracles on YouTube:

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