“As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (verses 7-8)
I’m not sure what to do with these verses.
It is clear that the preaching of the Kingdom was demonstrated in Jesus’ ministry by the works of the Kingdom being performed. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was also the disciples’ calling and experience. Certainly, this is the report Luke gives (Luke 9:16) and it is the ongoing experience of the early church in Acts.
But it is beyond my own present experience. Therefore, it tugs at mind and heart. I think of the many times I, and others, have prayed for healing. Sometimes we have rejoiced. Yet other times we have not seen the release for which we’d prayed.
I know there is a mystery to prayer, which is to say I don’t always understand the Lord’s timing and will. And yet, these verses tug. The Kingdom is evidenced by the power of God breaking into this present age and making a real difference in real human lives. Yes, the Kingdom is here, but not yet; not yet in all its fullness. But, in the Person of Jesus, by the presence of the Spirit, it is very definitely here – the breakthrough has begun.
I know there are seasons of the Lord’s working. I know there is a necessity for faith that is real and alive, if only mustard-seed-sized. I know that heroes of faith don’t always see what they hope for; indeed, faith is demonstrated in the midst of not seeing. All of this is crucial. But I know, too, that my own expectation of Kingdom breakthrough has often grown very dull.
So, Lord, this morning, please wake me up. Wake me up to your desire to keep on breaking into the world around me. Wake me up to the reality that the human condition does not need to stay unchanged, that real needs can be met and transformed by your intervening power.
The greatest miracle will always be the eternal salvation of a lost soul. But you see us as whole people (body, soul and spirit) because you have made us that way. You choose to make yourself known to us in our very physical world. So, dear Lord, give me capacity for more – more faith, more of your power, more of your inbreaking presence.
Jesus, let me hear your voice. Equip me by your Spirit to be your hands and feet.
Try it: Keep eyes open today for the places and occasions the Lord wants to bring his kingdom presence. Turn the sightings into prayer.