Recently, a young woman from our Messianic synagogue asked me the question "Where is the power?" She asked further that if the body of Yeshua has access to the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit, then why are we not seeing many miracles signs and wonders?
I have been asked this question many times, but this time seemed especially relevant because of current events we are experiencing. We are dealing with a pandemic, locusts, fires, riots and many other natural and man-made catastrophes. Many believers have been fasting and praying looking for a supernatural event to take place that would show the world the power, majesty and sovereignty of G-D.
Because this question seemed to resonate so strongly within my spirit and stayed in my heart since she spoke those words, I decided I would spend this week's blog answering that question.
Let me begin before actually answering the question by saying that I believe in the gifts, power and working of the Holy Spirit. I believe that all of the miraculous gifts that were present in the lives of first-century believers are still available to us today. Not only do I believe they are available, but I have seen and experienced many miracles in my life and the lives of those around us.
One recent example was when a dear friend and member of our synagogue family was recently told by his doctor after many tests and scans that one of his kidneys was filled with cancer, and he would need surgery to remove the cancer along with chemotherapy and other types of treatments. We began to pray and during prayer before his surgery, my wife prayed and asked G-D to remove the cancer so that when the doctors began the surgery, they would not find any cancer and simply close our friend up and end the operation.
The day of the surgery arrived, and when they opened him up, they found no cancer, closed him up and he is now back worshipping with our family. This is just one of many, many examples of prayers being answered with miracles.
However, even knowing and experiencing those types of supernatural miracles, my answer to the question is that we are seeing miracles, signs and wonders. They are happening all around us every day. We just don't seem to see them because our eyes and hearts are longing to see what we consider major miracles because our priorities and our grading system for miracles is vastly different from G-D's.
Let me explain. G-D's concern is with the eternal and our concerns tend to be with the temporal. When we think about great miracles, we tend to think about events such as the Ten Plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, healing a leper, raising the dead or maybe the feeding of the 5,000. Yet, not one of these miracles were what G-D would consider a major miracle. Why? Because all that those miracles accomplished was extending the temporal. There were those who were recipients of each of the above who never entered the eternal.
To clarify a little, let's look at Luke 17:12-21:
As He entered a certain village, ten men with tza'arat (leprosy) came toward Him. They stood some distance away and raised their voices, saying, "Yeshua, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the kohanim." And as they went, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back, glorifying God with a loud voice. And he fell at Yeshua's feet, facedown, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. Then Yeshua answered and said, "Weren't ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Weren't any found who came back to give glory to God except this foreigner?" Then Yeshua said to the man, "Stand up and go! Your faith has made you well." Now when Yeshua was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be seen. Nor will they say, 'Look, here!' or 'There!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
As we read this text, we find 10 men with tza'arat who are crying out for a miracle. Yeshua responded by healing all 10 of them and told them to observe the Torah and go show themselves to the priest to be declared cleansed. Yet, only one of them came back and glorified G-D. When Yeshua spoke, He asked him, "Weren't ten cleansed? But where are the nine?" (v. 17). Yeshua then spoke directly to the healed man and said, "Stand up and go! Your faith has made you well." (v. 19).
Notice the difference between being healed and being well. That is the difference between a temporal miracle and an eternal miracle. The nine lepers' miracle happened on the outside; it was visible and could even be seen by looking at the outward man. The one leper had two miracles take place. The first one was outward, but the second one took place in his heart; it was only visible by his response to the miracle.
In John 14:12, we read a very familiar and often quoted passage: "Amen, amen I tell you, he who puts his trust in Me, the works that I do he will do; and greater than these he will do, because I am going to the Father."
This verse speaks of those who put their trust or faith in Yeshua being able to do the miracles that He did, but it goes on to say "and greater they will do." These words excite us as believers (and should excite us), but in order to understand what "greater works or miracles" are, we have to look at the context of these words. So, let's look a few verses back so we can know the context.
"Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be" (John 14:1-3).
Notice that as this discussion between Yeshua and His disciples begins, Yeshua is speaking of His Father's house and preparing a place. This text is not about the temporal world or temporal miracles; it is about the eternal kingdom.
The response of Thomas (one of the disciples) was: "Master, we don't know where You are going. How can we know the way?" (John 14:5).
Yeshua's response was: Yeshua said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6b).
When the disciple asks about seeing the Father, Yeshua responds by saying:
"'Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven't come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe because of the works themselves'" (John 14:9-11).
Look at verse 11 when Yeshua said if he could not believe in who He was, at least he should believe what he saw outwardly. It is those words that we often skip over to get to the line about doing greater things that are the point of this blog. Basically, Yeshua is saying to His disciples, "There is a miracle happening here, the eternal kingdom, and you can receive this eternal blessing." But if you cannot believe for the eternal blessing, at least believe in the temporal ones. Remember that the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, healing a leper, raising the dead or maybe the feeding of the 5,000 all were temporal miracles, none of which brought people into the eternal kingdom. They only provided an open door to the kingdom.
Let's look back at Luke 17:20-21: "Now when Yeshua was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be seen. Nor will they say, 'Look, here!' or 'There!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."
Yeshua is answering the Pharisees concerning the Kingdom of G-D. Notice Yeshua's answer is that the kingdom doesn't come with signs to be seen. It is within your midst.
So, while I long to see miracles, signs and wonders, the ones I am most longing for are not when people are healed; they are when people are made well. I would rather have a congregation filled with people whose hearts have been changed than a congregation who is seeing healings take place every week with no one getting well. The greatest miracles are not raising lost men from the dead because those men can die a second time still lost. The greatest miracles are seeing men die to self and be born again. As we read in Romans 6:3-5:
"Or do you not know that all of us who were immersed into Messiah Yeshua were immersed into His death? Therefore we were buried together with Him through immersion into death—in order that just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become joined together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also will be joined together in His resurrection—."
So, while we may not be seeing the "power" or seeing physical "signs, wonders and miracles" every day, we are seeing hearts change and people enter the eternal kingdom. Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 and 8-10:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. ...
Love never fails— but where there are prophecies, they will pass away; where there are tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is partial will pass away.
The temporal miracles of tongues, prophecy, mysteries, knowledge and moving mountains are nothing in comparison to that which is perfect, the eternal kingdom. And in a world dealing with a pandemic, locusts, fires, riots and many other natural and man-made catastrophes, we need the eternal kingdom more than ever.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.
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