“The disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders . . .” (John 20:19b, NIV2)
All of Jesus’ disciples were cowering in fear. After all, their Master had been cruelly crucified. They could be next! Already they had little faith. Hadn’t Jesus so recently said to them: “‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matt 8:26, NIV2)
But that was so long ago! Their faith was non-existent now!
Would we have done any better?
Something happened, however, that changed their lives dramatically. Within weeks, these same disciples prayed: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30, NIV2)
And with this prayer, miracles came forth in unimaginable ways: “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” (Acts 5:15-16, NIV2)
What happened to these disciples? Where did their faith come from? One day they had hardly any, and the next day they were filled to overflowing with faith, healing people in the same way Jesus did. All of them were healed! Every one of them! No exceptions!
“Jesus came (After his crucifixion) and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!'” (John 20:19c, NIV2) Ironic to say “Peace be with you” to a bunch of cowering people! After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side, and the disciples became overjoyed when they saw their resurrected Lord. They had experienced firsthand what He had done for them. That’s what changed their lives so radically.
As an added incentive, “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (John 20:21-22, NIV2), which they would later receive fully (See also John 14:17).
This truth can be ours as well. Meet the resurrected one face to face. How? Invite Him to reveal Himself to you. It will change you beyond anyone’s imagination. Also invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in you. He will guide you in all things. You will never be alone again (See John 16:12-15) After all, once the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we are guaranteed of our resurrection through Jesus: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Rom 8:11, NIV2)
Doesn’t that fill us with adrenaline? God is on our side. He wants us to live victoriously, not depressed and lethargic. We too, can walk in the steps of the disciples. Say goodbye to lack of faith. Instead, welcome the Risen One into our life. You are welcome here!
“At age 24, Michael was fit and trim. He was an experienced swimmer and an avid diver. But on this particular day, diving in a strange swimming pool, no one had warned him that the depth labels around the pool were mismatched in spots. Assuming he was diving in 10 feet of water, he arched high off the diving board, lifting his muscular 240-pound body skyward and then entered the pool gracefully, completing a near perfect dive.
With 10 feet of water to slow his downward momentum he would allow his body to travel about 8 feet before he would twist his body back upwards to miss bottom. With arms straight but relaxed, at 6 1/2 feet of depth, suddenly his hands struck bottom! With no time to respond, his massive 240-pound frame forced his arms to buckle, and his forward momentum continued. In an instant, his head went smashing into the bottom of the pool.
Lying at the bottom of the pool, he knew he was in trouble. He could not wiggle his fingers or toes. There had to be spinal damage.
At that moment, these thoughts began to race through his mind: I know I can hold my breath for 2 minutes under water. Stay calm!
At a young age, Michael had accepted the Biblical plan of salvation. Jesus Christ had been his Lord and Savior now for over 20 years. God had answered many prayers in times past — supernaturally intervened in times of trouble when there was no other way out — so what Michael did next was not strange communication with his God.
“Lord, I’m ready to go”
“Lord, I’m ready to go. If this is your will to take me home now, I’m ready to go. But Lord … I fail to believe that at age 24 you’re done with me. You called me to preach the gospel at a young age, and I’ve barely just begun.
“But Lord … if you’re not done with me … you’re going to have to help me off the bottom of this pool, because I’m in big trouble. I’m paralyzed from the neck down.”
Michael no sooner mentally prayed that prayer when suddenly he felt a distinct presence of God engulf him. A heat-like warmth started at his neck and began to spread downward. Seconds later he could feel tingling in his fingers and toes, and he began to move them. Propelling himself slowly upwards, he was able to surface and cry out for help. Up to this point, no one had known he was in trouble.
People came running to his rescue, carefully helping him out of the pool after they had been notified of his possible broken neck. Lying on the side of the pool, waiting for the ambulance to come, he asked someone to go get his wife. He wanted her at his side.
At the hospital, he was soon to learn that his neck was indeed fully broken. Doctors marveled when he related how the Lord had enabled him to swim to the surface of the pool from off the bottom.
A metal halo brace was attached to his skull. Two-and-a-half to three months was to be the minimal wearing time of the neck brace. As the weeks passed, his doctor made a special effort to show him what he was looking for on the numerous x-rays taken, and during this time Michael became very familiar with being able to read his own x-rays. After wearing the brace for 11 months, one day his doctor took special pains to point out to him on the x-rays how far the healing had progressed. Close to 3/4 of the neck had healed, and about I more month of wearing the brace was necessary before being fitted with a less cumbersome one.
Michael had a dream
Michael went to bed late that night and had a dream. Sometimes literally acting out parts of a dream in times past the nature of this particular dream was such that he literally began to rip his metal halo brace out of his skull and didn’t even realize he was doing so! When he woke the following morning, he was in such intense pain that he actually wanted someone to put him out of his misery.
At the emergency room, he knew what they would end up telling him. They would have to reposition the metal halo. That would require drilling 4 new holes in his skull, all the while remaining conscious with only a local anesthetic like the first time. Michael began thinking: Dear Lord, I’m not ready for this! Please don’t make me go through this one more time!
The halo brace specialist soon confirmed his worst suspicion, but said it would be up to the neurosurgeon to give the final word.
When the neurosurgeon arrived he ordered a fresh set of x-rays taken of the break area. All the while, Michael was thinking: Just yesterday I saw x-rays, and at most, only 3/4 of my neck has healed. I know what he’s going to find on this new set of x-rays, and they’re going to have to drill again. Lord . . . Please . . . Not again.
The neurosurgeon examined the x-rays in another room for the longest time, prolonging Michael’s agony. Why wouldn’t they get it over with and confirm his worse suspicion?
The neurosurgeon finally stepped out with a puzzled look on his face. “Uh … you said just yesterday your neck was only 3/4 healed?
“That’s correct, sir,” Michael answered. “My doctor can confirm that on the x-rays he took yesterday.”
“Well . . . I don’t know what happened overnight … but I can’t find a broken bone in your body. Your neck is completely healed!”
After coming out of his daze from this incredible report, Michael smiled and silently gave credit where credit was due.
“Thank you, Lord! You are soooooooooo good!”
By: Michael White. Thanks to http://www.precious-testimonies.com/general/f-j/heindex.htm
What happened in the first century among Christians, still happens in our day and age. It all depends on whether or not we believe in the power of God. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1Cor 4:20, NIV2)
Do we believe?
(To access the entire “Do we Truly Believe?” devotional series, please click here.)