Perhaps you’re familiar with the story in the gospels when Jesus gives his twelve disciples both the power and authority to cast out demons and heal diseases (Luke 9:1-6). Everywhere they went they brought good news and cured illnesses.
If you’re like me, then you read some of these stories from the gospels and think: I sure wish it were still that simple. I don’t have the education necessary to preach. Miracles happened then, they don’t happen now.
But what if I told you that was a lie?
Miracles in Africa
In 2008, I traveled around the world with a small mission team where we partnered with missionaries, churches, and non-profits to assist them in the work they were doing. On one occasion, we were at a church in the middle of the African bush when the pastor called my small team forward during the worship service.
We didn’t speak the local language and we didn't know what was going on, so I asked my translator what the pastor said. He informed my team that the pastor invited the sick and injured forward and that the “team from America” was going to heal them with prayer!
While at this point in my journey I had witnessed many miracles, I had never fully participated in one! I had no experience with healing prayer. I didn’t have that spiritual gift. I didn’t know what to pray. How could I be of any help?
But before I could protest, an older man came shuffling forward and stood in front of me with his back hunched over.
I asked him what he requested prayer for and he said he had a case of severe arthritis in his back that prevented him from standing upright. Every time he took a step, pain shot up his spine.
Immediately, I began sweating.
I had no idea what to do.
Closing my eyes, I placed my hand on his back and said, “Jesus… heal this man.”
No sooner than the words left my mouth, I felt (and heard) an intense popping sound in the man’s back and he stood straight up! Tears welled up in his eyes – and my jaw hit the floor.
He smiled, said something to the translator, and walked away like a normal human being.
“WHAT DID HE SAY?!” I asked enthusiastically.
“He said he is healed. Praise Jesus!"
Keep it simple
I like the way Eugene Peterson translated the passage from Luke 9:1-6 in the Message. He wrote, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple, you are the equipment."
It’s easy to overcomplicate the gospel, to erect barriers to sharing good news and to convince ourselves we are not enough, that we don’t know enough, or that we lack the proper credentials.
It’s what I almost convinced myself of during my time in Africa when the man came to me for prayer. I didn’t think I knew what to pray. I didn’t think I “had the spiritual gift” necessary to see him made well.
In 2 Peter 1:3 we read, “[God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
We have ALL we need in Christ Jesus. We just have to keep it simple, believe that we are enough, and trust that the Spirit is with us.
Share the good news
So next time you read these miracle stories in the gospels and wish that it were “still that simple,” know that it is still that simple.
All you need is to take a leap of faith (take a risk!), trust that God is with you, and believe that you are enough.