Can we really have the same power as Jesus Christ had on the earth…or even greater? Are some of our church leaders, along with God in heaven, the I AM? Do they really have the power to do whatever they want?
I could name some of the preachers who today have many thousands of followers, and who are making such false claims. We could gather the claims into two groups: false miracles and false authority. Some, claiming to have as much or more power than the apostles or even Jesus Christ, are doing it in fleshly ignorance. In their zeal and their desire to be significant in the world, and to see God do something tangible, they’ve been led away from humility and from the true Spirit of God. Others know very well that they are faking it.
I’ve been to many churches where it’s believed that miracles are performed. But never in forty two years of being a Christian, I repeat never, have I seen a real and unmistakable miracle performed publicly. Don’t get me wrong: I believe one hundred percent, as any reader of my blog will know, that God is infinitely able to do great things. He can create the physical universe in six literal days; He can create life; He can heal the blind and raise the dead. I know God can do whatever he wants to do. And that’s the secret: what He wants to do.
THE WILL OF GOD
There are people who think they are instructing God in what He must do, because He said He would do it. He said he would heal or move that mountain, and now He’s got to do it. And you as a Christian must believe God is going to do it, they tell you, otherwise He won’t: He can’t do it without your faith. This lets the preacher or the healer off the hook. If you don’t get healed, it’s your own fault, because you didn’t have enough faith. How many people have languished in an unnecessary slough of failure and of rejection, because they didn’t get healed when they were told they could if they only had enough faith? The truth, apparrent to people who choose to believe Scripture over the words of even the most popular preacher or claimed man of God, is otherwise.
Consider the story of one leper healed by Jesus:
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy (Matthew 8:2-3).
The leper appealed to the mercy of Jesus-he didn’t demand to be healed. He said, “If you are willing”. In his brokenness and humilty, he recognised that God’s will was sovereign over his own. He was healed immediately and totally, and for all to see.
The story after this, in which a Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant, makes a similar point:
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:5-9 NKJV).
The centurion is acknowledging the soverienty of Christ over both sickness and his own position and will. He’s rewarded with a remote healing of his servant, and a complement, in which Jesus says he hasn’t seen such great faith even among the Jews who should have known better (verse 10).
The beggar at the gate of the temple didn’t even know he was going to be healed by Peter and John: he expected or hoped for money:
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God (Acts 3: 3-8).
So how about it, great man of God: lets see you in the hospital, emptying the beds!
I didn’t intend to write a lengthy study in healing. My point is that some of the most popular preachers. and some much less popular ones, are trying to tell God what to do, and trying to encourage us to do the same. They even command God on television for all to see, as if that were possible. It isn’t. And some are even claiming that they have the same authority and power as God. This is blasphemy: they don’t.
I have not seen any of them perform a real healing. Instead, we see people wanting to be healed file forward to the stage and file back to their seat-sometimes after they’ve been laying on the floor for a time. We hear that “someone here has a back problem”. Oh really-back problem? That’s unusual! And often the subject is so willing to experience the power of God, that they’re determined to believe they’ve been healed, and so announce to the world that they have. But where is the truly blind man who suddenly receives real healing for all to see, complete with documented blindness and documented healing? Where is the woman truly confined to a wheelchair who suddenly jumps out of it for all to see? It doesn’t happen: not beause God can’t do it, or because the woman doesn’t have enough faith. It doesn’t happen because it’s not the will of God for that woman to be whole-yet.
Claims of healing or miracles when there was no such thing makes a mockery of the real power of God. It makes a mockery of the real Holy Spirit, and it makes a mockery of the real Jesus Christ. In some cases, I’m conviced, it’s the devil himself who is using people to mock God and to diminish our perception of the real power of God.
Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins, not to make us all healthy and prosperous. He healed during his ministry to authenticate himself…. to demonstrate who he really was. If you disagree, you should be asking yourself if, perhaps, you are putting your own will over that of your claimed Lord.
In his “Olivet Discourse” Jesus warned of false teachers and false Christs, performing great miracles:
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (Matthew 24:11).
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand (verses 24 and 25).
WE HAVE BEEN WARNED
So then, be aware that even if someone does perform a real miracle, it does not mean that he or she is from God. He may instead be a complete fake; a charlatan; a liar; a deceitful worker of evil, leading multitudes away from the Word of God…as some are doing today.