In some areas of Christianity, miracles are still a controversial topic. One camp says that God still does miracles. Another camp says that God COULD do miracles but doesn’t (at least not like the kind we see in the Bible). Every time someone talks about miracles it seems there are others who pop up decrying the miracle or the “miracle worker.” Yes, there are some crazies out there that seem to be fraudulent, but who am I to judge?
Even so, genuine miracles DO happen. Jesus really DID perform supernatural miracles!
It’s time for church…
At the end of this digital church service there’s a place for comments. We’d love to hear from you. What did you take away from the service? What spoke to you? What do you have questions about? How can we do better to serve you and your friends and family?
Here’s today’s word…
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Jesus do miracles. But we still have trouble accepting it sometimes…
After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
Do you see what’s happening here? A centurion is coming to see Jesus. A centurion. A Roman Soldier. This is not someone who is naturally part of “God’s people.” Clearly he is friendly towards the Jews. He knows Jewish elders and helped build the local synagogue. Yet he has a level of faith that puts God-believers to shame. Not only does he ask Jesus to heal a servant, he demonstrates an understanding of Jesus’ authority that everyone else around Jesus seems to miss.
He believes Jesus can heal the servant from a distance.
It’s one thing for a local healer to put hands on someone and to say some words and to bring about a healing. Here the soldier is asking Jesus to demonstrate the impossible – a distance miracle. There is no touch involved (a common element in ancient healing rituals). But as the centurion understands military authority, he believes Jesus has the same spiritual authority.
In all of Jesus’ healing stories, the response of the crowd is to marvel and amaze at Jesus. Here, Jesus marvels at the centurion! This truly is incredible faith, and because of the faith Jesus delivers and the servant is healed. If Jesus can heal from a distance like this, what limit is there to his ability?
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
By the time we get to this story and we see Jesus approaching the dead son we have a feeling we know what’s going to happen. Jesus just healed a dude long-distance. What can he do when it comes to death? Of course Jesus doesn’t disappoint and the young man is brought back to life.
Sounds incredible, yes? That means NOT credible. But real miracles always sound that way.
I just recently saw a news piece about a boy in St. Louis who was DEAD (fell through the ice, CPR administered, etc.). After his mother’s fervent prayer, the boy came back.
I posted the link on Facebook and a non-Christian said, “Obviously wasn’t dead then.” When I pointed out that multiple medical professionals said the boy was indeed dead the non-Christian came back sarcastically and said, “Then he came back to be cast in the walking dead.”
Here’s the thing – the Bible has multiple accounts of God bringing people back from death.
The primary question is one of faith.
If one doesn’t hold the Bible to be trustworthy then there’s no reason to believe the story of the St. Louis boy. However, for those of us who believe the Bible to be trustworthy, the St. Louis boy is a contemporary version of what we just read about Jesus doing in Luke!
And that’s what you’ve got to ask yourself. Do I believe the Bible to be trustworthy? Do I believe that Jesus has the power to heal the sick? Can he even raise the dead?
This Jesus who heals the sick and raises the dead cares for us. This Jesus is the one who calls us and says, “Walk with me.”
Will you walk?
We’re going to have some reflection and response time. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.
Our first song is called Waiting Here For You. This has become one of my favorite worship songs lately – while the music is quite pretty, the message is downright powerful.
You are everything you promised
Your faithfulness is true
We’re desperate for your presence
All we need is you…
Waiting here for you!
As you listen, ask yourself, “Have I ever been in need of Jesus’ touch? What lengths have I gone to in order to pursue him?”
Our second song this morning talks about how the love of God is bigger than any problems we might face. Even if we don’t receive healing in this life, God still loves us more than anything. The song is called One Thing Remains and says:
Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in thr trial and the change
This one thing remains
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me!
– How would I react if I saw the power of God working miracles? Would I believe even my own eyes?
– What kind of healing do I need in my own life?
MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, pray that God would move miraculously in your life!
– Look for miracles in your life and in the world around you (no, I don’t mean the sunset – I mean MIRACLES!).
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
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We’d love feedback from you. You can send us an email or comment below. Let us know your thoughts and how you think we can get better.
Finally, if today’s message resonated with you at all, we would appreciate it if you would share this digital church service with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other media you use. Help share about Jesus!
Thanks, and have a great week!