Monday, March 13, 2006

Greater Things Than These

There is a scripture in John 14 where Jesus talks about the fact that those who bear his name will later perform even greater things than he did. He said this while referencing his miracles. I believe he made a similar comment in Luke.

Over the years, I have heard Christians lament that we are not seeing the sick healed and the dead raised. "Why are we not seeing these things?" they ask. What is wrong with us? Didn't Jesus say that we would do greater things than these?

An answer occurred to me one night during our family small group. I wondered if, as often is the case, we were approaching the question wrong. Perhaps we are missing a point.

First, as a people, we are very into signs and wonders. We love the "ohhh and ahhh" effect. However, when you look through scripture, fancy miracles never accomplished too much. Regardless of what one saw, no matter how grand, it brought about little heart change.

So was Jesus really insinuating that we would be performing greater parlor tricks? That, like Bruce Almighty, we would part our soup while everyone looks on in awe? Is that all Jesus is looking for?

Consider - If God suddenly granted me the authority to heal those I touched, cause the blind to see, raise some dead folks..... what has that cost me? In what way is that taking up my cross? How am I dying to self? Does my being responsible for a miracle cause me to- (borrow from Romans here) "hate what is evil, cling to what is good"? ; "Be devoted to others above my self"? "Be joyful in hope"?; "patient in affliction"?; "faithful in prayer"?. Does it cause me to "share with God's people are in need"?

Probably I would simply have another level of arrogance to contend with.

This is just my opinion, but I think Jesus had something else in mind when he said we "would do greater things than these". His miracles tended to focus on outward circumstances. I think he was saying (and I paraphrase intent here), "So you think these miracles are cool? Wait till you see what is coming! Today I fixed a problem on the outside, but in the future WE are going to heal people's hearts and lives. People can live without an eye.... they cannot live with a broken life".

Look at Peter... for all he saw, there was little change in him. He desired a lot, but lacked the power to change... and that was with Jesus being right there.

Look what happened to him tho... once he really surrendered, he was a different man and went on to help other people leave their darkness and start a journey with Christ.

Doesn't a healed leg seem rather feeble when compared to a healed life?

On Sunday, our Pastor talked about some of the stages you go through as you progress in Christ. In the beginning, it is all about "me". In time tho, if that person continues to surrender, it becomes about others and Him.

I am really beginning to think that the "greater things" Christ was referring to was not "miracles". Rather, he was seeing ahead to a day when people would set aside their life for His.
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