Tag Archives: miracles

Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2017

Luke 8:42-48 (NIV) As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

This woman’s faith in Jesus’ ability to heal her was as strong as Jairus’ faith that Jesus could heal his daughter, but it manifested itself differently. Jairus’ faith led him boldly into Jesus’ presence to ask Him to come and heal the girl. This woman’s faith led her to touch just the edge of Jesus’ robe, believing that that touch would be enough to heal her (Mark 5:28).

The thing that caused her to touch Jesus secretly was the reason that she needed the healing: her twelve-year-long battle with hemorrhage. The constant flow of blood made her ceremonially unclean. And anything and anyone she touched became ceremonially unclean as well, and had to undergo a cleansing ritual to be made clean again.

If the woman had asked Jesus publicly to cleanse her, everyone in the crowd who had stood next to her or jostled her would have suddenly realized that this woman had made them unclean. And she didn’t want to face that kind of scorn and rejection.

In her mind, the plan was simple: creep up in the crowd, touch Jesus’ robe – He wouldn’t even notice – receive the healing, and go home whole. And everything went just as she planned, up to a point. As soon as she touched Jesus’ robe, she felt a rush of power that told her the healing had happened. But before she could move away from Jesus, He suddenly stopped and looked around asking, “Who touched Me?”

The woman froze, terrified that an accusing finger would be thrust into her face. But Jesus was still looking around. The crowd was still jostling Jesus, and Peter pointed out that dozens of people were pushing against Him and touching Him.

But Jesus said no, that the touch He was talking about was different. All of the people jostling around Jesus weren’t receiving anything in the process. But one touch, done in faith, had received a burst of power through Him. A healing had been done.

Jesus continued to look around, and the woman knew that it was only a matter of seconds before His eyes fell on her. So she took a breath, stepped forward, and declared, “It was me.”

All eyes focused on her as she briefly told her story, a story of twelve years of isolation and fear that had been transformed in an instant when she had touched Jesus. All eyes then turned to Jesus. This woman had intentionally touched Him when she knew that she was unclean! How would He react?

But Jesus’ face broke into a gentle smile as He said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Then He moved forward again to continue His journey to Jairus’ house.

Father, this woman’s desire was to receive a secret, private miracle that nobody would ever know about. But You don’t work that way. The miracles You choose to do are designed to bring You glory, and to reveal Your power and Your grace. But none of that can happen if the recipients of the miracle don’t tell anyone, but just keep it to themselves. It’s significant that Luke points out that the woman testified to the healing “in the presence of all the people.” All who heard could thus give You appropriate praise for the wonders You had done. Help me, Lord, to testify freely about all that You have done and continue to do in my life, so that Your name is glorified through me every day. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – September 25, 2017

Luke 8:40-42 (NIV) Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

Jesus had returned from the eventful trip to the region of the Gerasenes, and was immediately mobbed by the people of Capernaum, who wanted to see more miracles. But one man, Jairus, the synagogue ruler, came to Jesus on a special mission.

Jairus was no gawker or spectator. And he didn’t bring with him anyone for Jesus to heal. His twelve-year-old daughter was far too sick to leave the house. In fact, the doctors had told the whole family that she was dying, and that they could do no more for her. The signs of death were clearly on the girl, and the family had lost all hope and had begun the mourning process.

But then Jairus heard the news that Jesus had come back to town and, without a word of explanation, he headed out the door to the waterfront. If Jesus would only come before his daughter died, surely He could heal her and save her life.

Jesus was surrounded by a huge crowd, but Jairus’ desperation propelled him through the throng, right into Jesus’ presence, where he fell to his knees. His plea was simple: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” (Mark 5:23 NIV)

That plea demonstrated a huge amount of faith that did not rest merely on desperation, but on Jairus’ knowledge of what Jesus had done before, and what he knew that He could do now. And it was that strong faith that moved Jesus to start immediately for Jairus’ house, pushing through the crushing crowds.

Father, we need to maintain that same faith in Jesus’ ability that Jairus had. We have adequate testimony of His ability in the gospels and the book of Acts, as well as the testimony of multiplied millions of witnesses through the ages. Add to that what He has done in our own lives, and there is no rational reason to doubt Him. I know that He has already done so much in my own life, and those acts of transformation, restoration, healing, and empowerment should form the basis of a boundless faith in my heart. Help me to keep all of these before me every day, so that my faith never falters, but continually grows in strength as Jesus’ faithfulness to me continues to be demonstrated. Amen.

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Today’s Scriptures – September 20, 2017

Luke 8:32-37 (NIV) A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

There are two groups that are terrified of Jesus in this event: the legion of demons, and the people of the area.

The demons knew who Jesus was, that He was the eternal Son of God who was destined to one day hurl them all into the abyss to be imprisoned forever. Not being omniscient, they were shocked to see Jesus suddenly come ashore and walk purposefully toward them. They believed that their time had come, and pleaded with Him not to utterly destroy them.

They saw the herd of pigs nearby, and begged Jesus to let them leave the man and go into them instead, which Jesus gave them permission to do, fully knowing what would happen. As soon as the demons went into the pigs, the pigs panicked, stampeded down the hill into the sea, and all of them drowned, leaving the demons to wander in search of other victims.

The people did not know who Jesus was. All that they knew was that He seemed to be at the center of the pig panic. Two thousand pigs (Mark 5:13) was a sizeable loss, but the mystery of why all of them should simultaneously lose their minds and drown themselves was frightening. The people of the area moved as a body to where Jesus and His disicples were on the shore of the lake, ready to demand an explanation, and even reparations.

But what they found when they got there moved them from righteous anger to full terror in a single step. There was that crazy, demon-possessed man, clothed and quiet, sitting and listening to Jesus like a school boy. They had tried everything to tame this wild man, including chaining him up. But he had simply broken the chains and run howling back to his shelter among the tombs.

In an instant, they decided as a body that someone who could cast out demons, destroy a whole herd of pigs in one fell swoop, and tame a wild man was not someone that they wanted around. But all of the “demand” had left them. This was someone to be reckoned with. Who knew what He was capable of if they made Him mad? So they politely “requested” that He leave the area. And Jesus, never one to stay where He wasn’t wanted, simply nodded and headed for the boat, followed by His disciples.

Father, being that close to that kind of power is kind of scary. Even among Christians, a real miracle can cause as much fear as rejoicing! We are uncomfortable with the supernatural, with things that we can’t explain and understand. But Your power unleashed in our world will always be beyond explanation, beyond understanding. Help me, Lord, to never be afraid of Your power, but to be a channel of it so that, as I do the things that Jesus did, and even greater things (John 14:12), the people of the world will see Your hand at work, and turn to You for salvation. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – September 17, 2017

Luke 8:22-25 (NIV) One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
I
n fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

This event came fairly early in Jesus’ ministry. His followers were still being surprised daily by what He could do, and were still trying to put the pieces together in their minds as to exactly who He was.

When Jesus told them to make for the far side of the lake, they obeyed without argument. They knew that Jesus never made an idle suggestion; He always had a reason for what He did. But they didn’t expect the storm.

Several of Jesus’ followers were seasoned fishermen who made their living on this inland sea. They knew how dangerous the storms were that came down from the surrounding hills. They could be deadly. But these men had a lot of experience even with the storms.

When the storm rose up, the men employed their usual tactics to weather it, not concerned enough about their safety to disturb Jesus, who was asleep on cushions in the back of the boat (Mark 4:38). But the intensity of the storm quickly ratcheted up to the point that waves were crashing over them, and putting them in danger of being swamped and sunk. At that point they woke Jesus with the grim news that they were all going to die.

They didn’t really expect Jesus to do anything about the storm. They had seen Jesus take on sickness and demons, but the wind and the waves were outside of anyone’s control except for God Himself. They merely thought that He should be apprised of their dire situation.

Jesus looked around at the towering waves crashing over the boat with spray being blown off their tops by the shrieking wind. Then He stood up and simply yelled a command to the storm that it stop. A simple rebuke, as if disciplining a child throwing a tantrum. And in an instant the wind stopped and the waves dropped to their normal height.

The change happened so quickly that the disciples nearly fell over on the suddenly steady deck. Then Jesus looked at them all, soaking wet and shivering, with eyes as wide as saucers, and simply said, “Where is your faith?” before lying down again on the cushions and quickly falling back asleep.

If the storm had scared the disciples, the fact that the storm had obeyed Jesus terrified them. They had never seen anything like it in all of their collective years on the water. They knew that Jesus was an amazing person, a miracle worker, a prophet, probably even the Messiah. But this was far beyond what any mere mortal could do. So they asked each other in hushed voices, “Who is this guy?”

Father, Jesus kept on demonstrating who He was, God in the flesh, to anyone who had eyes to see. But even His own closest disciples were slow to believe. Today there are many who will accept Jesus as a good man or a great teacher. But they stop short of accepting Him as truly God. He has proved that to me by the changes in my life that He brought when He came into my heart. Help me to show others that same great truth through my life every day. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – August 29, 2017

Luke 7:6-10 (NIV) He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

The centurion was definitely a man of profound faith. He had faith in God and worshipped Him as a God-fearer, which moved him to connect to the Jewish community, even to the point of building a synagogue in his town.

He had faith that Jesus would be able to heal his deathly-ill servant, prompting him to send the Jewish elders to Him to ask for His help. But now that he got the word that Jesus was on His way to the house, the true depth of his faith was revealed.

The centurion knew that it was against custom for Jewish people to enter the home of a gentile; that such an act would make them ceremonially unclean. So he sent some friends to Jesus letting Him know that, in the centurion’s opinion, He didn’t have to break this tradition. The centurion believed that all of the forces of nature were available to Jesus, and that all He had to do was to speak the appropriate word, and his servant would be healed. His model was his own authority over soldiers, who jumped at his every command. He believed that Jesus had a similar authority over whatever sickness had control over his servant. So, rather than have Jesus come all the way to the house, the centurion respectfully requested that Jesus simply speak that appropriate word.

Jesus’ stunned reaction was caused by the fact that this man, a gentile, actually got it! This man understood who Jesus was and what He was capable of accomplishing better than any of the Jewish people He had met, including His own disciples!

Of course, the faith of the centurion was immediately rewarded. The friends were sent back to the centurion’s house, and found the servant completely well, and the centurion joyful.

Father, sometimes we make things far more difficult than they need to be. The centurion believed Jesus could do a miracle, he asked for the miracle, and the miracle happened. It brings to mind Mark 11:24 (NIV): “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” There are some conditions in the context, but this is the exact kind of faith expressed by the centurion. Help me to exercise that same faith in You at all times. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – August 7, 2017

Luke 6:17-19 (NIV) He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

When most people think of Jesus’ disciples, they picture the Twelve. But there were actually multitudes who followed Him as disciples. Jesus had selected the Twelve out of all of those who followed Him to be His inner circle and, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, to lead the work of continuing to grow the kingdom after His departure.

But in the meantime, ALL of His disciples needed to learn more about the kingdom, how it operated, and what the people of the kingdom were to be like. But before He taught them, He saw to the needs of those who had come from all around the area to be healed of their diseases or to be set free from evil spirits.

Notice that the healing of the people and setting them free from evil influences was not a separate thing from Jesus teaching them about the kingdom. The two went hand in glove. Jesus, the very embodiment of the kingdom, healed the people and set them free as a sign that God’s kingdom was becoming a reality right in front to them. Then He taught them what the kingdom was all about, and how to live in it.

Later, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, and after the Holy Spirit filled His followers on the day of Pentecost, the disciples often used the same process: they healed someone, or several people, and when a crowd had gathered, they used the miracle that had been done as a springboard to tell the people about Jesus and about the kingdom of God, and how to live in it. And, because of the power that was being demonstrated through the lives of these men, the people listened and believed, and great numbers flocked into the kingdom.

Father, thank You for this example from Jesus. Lord, we need that same power flowing through our lives today to help us to be powerful and effective witnesses of Your kingdom. Sadly, the lives of many people who go by the name of Christian are very little different than the lives of those we are trying to reach with the gospel; very little different in power, in purity, or in Your evident presence. So we are often seen as offering nothing to these people that they don’t already have. Those first disciples’ lives were of a completely different kind, a different quality than the lives of those around them due to the presence of Your Holy Spirit. And that difference was immediately apparent to everyone around them. Lord, unleash Your Holy Spirit in my life today, so that the whole world can see the difference, and hunger for You, the One who makes that difference. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – July 27, 2017

Luke 5:21-26 (NIV) The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 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.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

The place where Jesus was teaching was filled with people, quite a few of them Pharisees and scribes, or teachers of the law. This was quite early in Jesus’ ministry, and these religious leaders were still trying to figure out what to make of Him. So they came to where He was, listened to His teachings, and asked penetrating questions.

These men were stunned when Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.” This was not a simple platitude that anyone could say, like, “God loves you.” This, to them, was a clear pronouncement of forgiveness, something that only God Himself was authorized to do. For Jesus, whom they considered a mere man, to take that divine prerogative on Himself was a clear example of blasphemy, an offense that carried the penalty of death by stoning.

None of them said any of this out loud, but all of them were thinking it. Before that conversation could start, however, Jesus called them on what was going on in their minds. (The fact that He could tell them what they were thinking freaked them out a lot, too!) The question on the table was one of authority: did Jesus have God-given authority to pronounce sins forgiven? If not, then to do so was clearly blasphemy, and had to be confronted as such. If so, then that would be tantamount to Jesus claiming to be God.

Jesus presented His argument as a test of sorts. It was very easy to tell someone that their sins were forgiven. On the surface it was simply a matter of words; there was no outward sign that would prove that the forgiveness had indeed taken place.

On the other hand, it was a much more difficult thing to pronounce someone healed of paralysis. If they couldn’t then get up and walk home, the healing didn’t happen, and the healer’s authority over the infirmity was conclusively disproved.

So Jesus’ solution was simple. He would do the hard thing, the thing that was visible, as proof that He also had authority to do the easier thing, the invisible thing, of pronouncing sins forgiven. And before any debate could begin, He did exactly that. He commanded the paralytic to get up, pick up his mat, and walk home.

All eyes turned to the paralytic. After only a moment, the man sat up with wonder in his eyes at his own ability to do so. Then he stood to his feet for the first time in ages, bent over and picked up his mat, and walked out in full view of everyone, praising God the whole way.

The crowd, including the Pharisees and teachers of the law, had no idea what to do with this. It was not only an outstanding miracle, it also threw the whole question of who this man really was open to unthinkable possibilities. It tore open theological compartments that these religious leaders had long believed to be hermetically sealed and settled.

Father, we can be equally rigid in our theology, unwilling to accept any new light or fresh insights that You want to show us, because they might throw out of kilter what we already believe. So we miss out on knowing You better and more completely as we grow. Help me, Lord, to always stick completely to Your word, but to always be open to new insights into Your word that You want to share. Amen.

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