From Death to Life

God definitely still performs miracles today. In John 14:12 (NLT) Jesus says “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” When He says “the same works”, Jesus is referring to not only miracles but His entire ministry: His teachings, evangelism, deeds of mercy and compassion. In this one verse, we have confirmation from Jesus Himself that whoever believes in Him will be able to do not only the same works He did but even greater works. I have been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some of these miracles before.

My freshman year of college I started to have a lot of shoulder pain when I was swimming. It got so bad that I couldn’t really even use my left arm, and I had to go see our trainer every day, before and after practice, for treatment. The trainer told me I had nerve damage, and the only way it was going to get better was rest and treatment. However, my coach wanted me to practice still so he just told me to take a lot of ibuprofen. At one point I was taking ibuprofen 8 times a day. After a while of little to no improvement, I just started praying consistently for God to heal my shoulder. God answered my prayer, miraculously healed me, and I didn’t have any more shoulder pain. It was incredible, I didn’t have to go see the trainer anymore, I didn’t have to take ibuprofen anymore, and I was able to fully practice again. I was at a junior college in south Georgia my freshman year, and if the pain would have persisted the way it was, I probably would have stopped swimming after a while. That wasn’t God’s plan though. He healed me so I could continue to pursue something that brought me joy, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I would be here if God didn’t heal me back then.

Last year I got really into basketball, but every time I played, my knees would ache so bad afterward that I could hardly walk. Bumps started to form under my knee caps, and they were incredibly painful. Once again, I found myself going to see a trainer before and after I played in an effort to mitigate the pain, and in hopes that the pain would go away. So one night at Wesley I decided to go to the healing corner to get prayer for my knees. I got prayer, but nothing crazy happened. My knees didn’t get super warm, and neither the pain nor the bumps went away right then. I walked away thinking I wasn’t healed, but a couple of weeks later I realized that my knees just didn’t ache anymore after I played basketball. I didn’t even have to stretch before I played, or ice my knees afterward. They were completely healed. God did His thing once again and healed me.

So Jesus tells us that miracles will still happen, and I have seen them happen, but I’d like to look at a different kind of miracle. A lot of times we think of miracles as healings, but one thing that is really interesting is the language Jesus uses when talking about nonbelievers becoming believers.
 
In John 5:24-25 (NLT) Jesus says “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.”

Jesus refers to those that don’t know Him and the Father as dead, but He says “those who listen will live.” We see this same kind of language used in Luke 15 in the parable of the prodigal son. Verse 24 says “‘for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” Verse 32 says “We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Every time the father is talking about his son coming back home he refers to his son as dead, but now that he has come back home he has “returned to life”. All of this to say, every time someone becomes a believer or chooses to come back home to God, it is nothing short of a miracle. The spiritually dead are being brought back to life.

In my opinion, people coming into relationship with and experiencing God is a far greater miracle than someone being healed. I don’t want this to sound like I am downplaying how amazing it is when God heals people, because that is incredible, but bringing the spiritually dead back to life is ultimately what Jesus came to do.
 
What is so cool is we get to play a part in that. In Matthew 24:14, Jesus says “and the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world so that all nations will hear it, and then the end will come.” In this passage, Jesus is talking about the future and the end times, but what I want to focus on is the way He says this. He doesn’t say “if the Good News is preached throughout the whole world”, He says the Gospel “will be preached throughout the whole world so that all nations will hear it.” Because we know that everything Jesus says is true, the language He uses is a promise and a guarantee that the Good News is going to be spread throughout the entire world - it’s just a matter of time. It is up to the body of Christ, us, to go out and share the Good News. Think back to Matthew 5:25 when Jesus says “the dead will hear my voice...and those who listen will live.” All peoples will hear the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and those that listen will have life, and life eternal. We have the Holy Spirit in us, and we are called to go out and share the joy and pleasure that comes from having a personal relationship with the living God. When we do, when we participate in Jesus’ ministry, we will see “the same works [Jesus has] done, and even greater works” John 14:12.

Author | John Wesley

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