Monday, July 16, 2007

You--A Miracle Worker

One of my favorite stories in the bible takes place in Matthew, chapter 11. John the Baptist is in prison and he sends two messengers to ask Jesus an important question:
"Are you the Coming One or do we look for another?" --Matthew 11:3
When asked the question, in typical Jesus-fashion, the Lord doesn't say simply Yes or No. He responds by telling the messengers to report back to John. He tells them to report to John all the miracles they have witnessed during their time with the Savior.
"Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:" --Matthew 11:4
Here's what's amazing about this text. Yes, Jesus lists some powerful miracles...but look closely at the list. What do you see that perhaps sticks out a bit?
"The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed
and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor
have the gospel preached to them."
I'm amazed at this verse. Jesus lists the miracles that He's been peforming:
The blind see: Remember how Jesus performed this miracle with just some mud and spit?
The lame walk: Jesus performed this miracle with nothing more than a command. A few words and those who had never taken a step in their lives were leaping with joy!
Lepers are cleansed: Sometimes, Jesus demanded an act of faith before this cleansing happened. But imagine going from shunned from society for your illness--to completely whole, clean.
The deaf hear: I remember one story where Jesus stuck his fingers in a man's ears. Weird...but apparently effective.
And of course, the stories of the dead rising: Lazarus--who had been dead for days. The little girl whose family mocked Jesus when He said "She's just sleeping!" (My favorite is when Jesus walked into a town and saw a funeral procession. It was for the only son of a widow. She was heartbroken to have lost her son. The Bible says Jesus had compassion on her and touched the coffin. The dead man sat up in the coffin and began speaking! Incredible!)
But it's the last miracle that really blows my mind. Of all the things Jesus listed, why is this one here? "...and the poor have the gospel preached to them."
Why was that listed with these miracles? Why did Jesus include this in the list of examples that proved He was the Christ?
Maybe it's because Jesus understands the message of poverty:
"You don't matter. You don't stand a chance.
You'll never amount to anything. Nobody cares. Give up."
And how the most powerful weapon against that message is the message of hope in Christ.
"You DO matter. You are valuable. You were made for a purpose.
God loves you. He created you. He cares about you."
When a person goes from "I don't matter" to "I'm important to God", the message of poverty is defeated. It's sight for the blind...cleansing for the leper...hearing for the for the dead. It is a miracle.
Now let me ask you this question: Which of these miracles can YOU perform today?
I'll even give you the answer: You can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone struggling in poverty today. There's one organization that is not only serving the poor by meeting their physical, social, environmental, emotional and educational needs...but their spiritual needs as well. Compassion International partners with churches in the poorest countries, bringing the Gospel to the poor. It's what Jesus did. It's a miracle you can perform today. Check out Compassion. Give. Sponsor a child. Be a miracle worker.

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