Saturday, March 29, 2014

Works of God

"Jesus Healing the Blind Man"
by El Greco - 1570

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 9:1-23

TO CHEW ON: "'I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.'" - John 9:4

Jesus' works are on display all through the gospels. Our reading today describes one: the healing of a man with congenital blindness.

A short exploration of Jesus' works reveals some interesting things that relate even to us:

[Works: ergon means toil occupation, enterprise, deed, task, accomplishment, employment, performance, work, labor, course of action. "The miraculous accomplishments and deeds of Jesus are works of God implying power and might" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1460.]

  • Jesus' works encouraged John the Baptist in prison (Matthew 11:2-3)
  • Jesus rebuked the cities which had witnessed His works but hadn't repented. Witnessing His works demanded a response from onlookers (Matthew 11:20).
  • One of Jesus' works was an amazing ability to teach (Matthew 13:54; Mark 6:2).
  • Jesus' works caught the attention of the secular world (Mark 6:14).
  • Jesus' works inspired praise to God in onlookers (Luke 19:37).
  • Jesus' works proved that God had sent Him (John 5:36; 10:25; 14:11).
  • In our reading today, Jesus alludes to the fact that the time for doing His works is limited. Someday (when the night arrives) no one will be able to work.
  • Jesus makes the startling prediction that "'...he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father'" - John 14:12.

Did you get that last? Believers—you and I if 'believer' describes us—are empowered to do what Jesus did. Think of all the categories of miracles—healing the sick, multiplying food, teaching, raising the dead. Jesus said these would be our works.

And they are...

I think of the miracles that missionaries often describe. Here, for example, is a story of God multiplying food: "Miracle Macaroni." I think of the wise teachers that have influenced my life through their writings, podcasts and in-person sermons. Though I relate strongly to John the Baptist who gained encouragement from news of Jesus working elsewhere, God has promised the power to do His works through all of us. May it be so!

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be a conduit of You doing Your works through me today. Amen.

MORE: Modern miracles

Marilyn Skinner, co-founder with her husband Gary of the Watoto Church in Kampala, Uganda tells the story of an incident early in their missionary career.  This was when bands of men roamed Kampala's streets, looting, stealing, raping, and killing.

One night when Gary was away and she was alone in the house with her young children, the watchman they employed tapped at her window.

"Mama, they have cut the electricity," he said.

At first she was not overly concerned as this happened often. But when the guard came back a few minutes later and whispered, "Mama, they are here, and there are many," she knew the situation was grave.

"Run for your life or they'll kill you," she told the watchman. Then she piled every piece of movable furniture in front of the simple wooden door and huddled with her kids in the bedroom. For three hours they listened as the men banged on and kicked at the door, demanding entrance.

"Don't think I wasn't scared," she said. "I was terrified, and I prayed the whole time. They never got in!"

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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