July 27, 2011

Luke 5:23-24 Which is easier: to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Jesus specifies here that He is healing this man in order to teach those present the level of His authority. Jesus often used object lessons in His teaching, such as calling in a child to teach them about pride of position. (Luke 9:46-48) He was the consummate teacher, using parables with the crowds who had little foundation to understand what He was really saying, and being very explicit with those close to Him who had been walking with Him long enough to start putting the pieces together. In this case, I feel the man would have recovered over time, having had his sins forgiven, but Jesus used the more dramatic healing to demonstrate a vitally important point. God knows what each situation calls for, and how people will respond. That’s one of several reasons why we can’t dictate to God when and how miracles will occur. We need to have our hearts tuned to recognize and profit from the things God is doing all around us, whether or not they are spectacular.

Many times I have desired miracles to demonstrate God’s reality to unbelievers, but I haven’t seen many. That’s not to stop me from praying for them or expecting them, but it is to say that my focus is not to be on miracles, but on Christ. When a “miracle ministry” gets going, generally the focus shifts pretty quickly from Christ to the miracles, and often to the one “doing” the miracles. That is a travesty that generally drives people away from true devotion and obedience to God. I am to seek to draw people to Christ by whatever means He enables, whether that be miracles or anything else, because every­thing is secondary to bringing people into the kingdom eternally.

Father, I do continue to ask for miracles to confirm the Word You speak through me, because there are so many who can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that You are who You say You are. Help me be faithful on every level, whatever is going on around or through me, so that I won’t get in the way of people coming to Christ, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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