This week there are more questions than answers! Questions about Enoch (Genesis 5: 24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2: 11) taken from this earth to heaven, without dying? The Three (or four) in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace (Daniel 3). Aaron’s staff that turned into a snake, and ate up the Egyptians’ snakes (Genesis 7: 8-13). Moses’ brass serpent in the wilderness brought healing (Numbers 21: 9). In 2Kings 20 Isaiah asked God at, Hezekiah’s request, for the sun to go backwards! God calling Gideon in Judges 6. I could make reference to many, many more instances in the Old Testament, and when we get to the New Testament, in the Life of Jesus we see many more miracles. Instances where the normal physical rules of this universe are suspended. Water to wine (John 2: 1-11); Jesus came to the disciples on the lake walking on the water (Mathew 14: 25-33); the storm stilled (Luke 8: 22-25); Jesus appeared in the room where the disciples had gathered, twice! (John 20 19-29). But it was not just Jesus who performed miracles, we see Peter & John healing at the temple (Acts 3: 1-10) The apostles healed many people (Acts 5: 12-16). After speaking to the official from Ethiopia, Philip was suddenly found about 25 miles away (Acts 8: 39-40)
What is the explanation for all these things? Is God a God of the supernatural? Yes.
Why do we see so many of these instances in the bible? It was on these occasions that God was revealing to someone who he really is. Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3: 1-6); a word of knowledge for the woman at Sychar’s well (John 4); Peter, James & John when Jesus was transfigured before them (Mark 9: 2). The 5000+ who ate five small loaves and two fish (Mark 6: 30-44); I could go on and on.
Another question arises, as we see so many cases in the New Testament, is there an underlying principle to what is happening?
Jesus often referred to the ‘Kingdom of God’ or Kingdom of Heaven. A kingdom is a place where a king holds ultimate authority, or where God’s will and purposes are paramount. In scripture heaven is described as a place where there is no sin, no sickness, (Revelation 21: 1-6), a place of worship (Revelation 4), a place that we find difficult to imagine, in fact we are told we cannot know what God has planned for us (1
Corinthians 2: 9-10).
So what is happening when we see miraculous healings today? We see a little glimpse of God’s rule and reign, here on earth. We see a glimpse of what heaven will be like here on earth. Heaven has no sickness so healing comes when God will and God’s reign is seen in action. (1 Corinthians 13: 9-12). We do not see the full picture yet and we do not fully understand yet, but the little that I do know is, that there is an infinite amount I need to learn about God, because God himself is infinite.
So how do we live, as we seek to know more about God? How do we experience more of God in our lives?
We partner with him. The Holy Spirit lives within us , not just as a ‘entry ticket for heaven’ but as a means of bringing heaven to earth now. Bringing the rule and reign of Jesus here on earth through not just our actions, but through who we are in Christ. It is by listening to the Holy Spirit we learn God’s will and as the Spirit works through us we see glimpses of heaven, glimpses of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and we will have a better knowledge of God, and how he works through us. He gives us prophesy ( forth-telling as well as foretelling); words of knowledge; the right word to speak on every occasion (Luke 12: 11-12), the ability to hear and see what God is doing and to follow his lead, even Jesus did what pleased his Father (John 8: 28-29).
So is this the experience of all Christians?
It is what Jesus tells all his disciples to ask for when they asked him how to pray. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God that his “kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven”. Mathew 6: 10 (NIV), Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Are we ready to pray this prayer as individuals, and together as church? Only when we step out in faith God will answer our prayers.