I realize I am dating myself a bit by saying this, but when I was growing up, our family had three channels we could watch on television (on a good day). Since we didn’t have a huge selection of programs to choose from, the ones we did get to see left a strong impression. One such show was called You are There. The host, news anchor Walter Cronkite, would take you back in time as if he were producing a newscast built around a particular piece of history.
Certain episodes stick out in my memory, but what strikes me most as I think is the imagination that would develop – that I was there with the characters to see the story unfold; to see and breathe the dusty air after a historical battle; to see the looks on the people’s faces; to hear their voices cry out. I remember those freeze-frame moments of history, pretending and experiencing the emotion of the characters involved through the screen of a black-and-white television.
As I began to consider this week’s topic regarding the miracles of Jesus, I couldn’t help but think of those same type moments when He was on earth. This man, Jesus, in the three years He was in public ministry, made quite a splash. I surely would have heard about Him had I lived in the same region where He trod.
Let’s take it a step further. How would I have responded if I had been in the small town of Nain (Luke 7:11–17) the day Jesus saw a dead man being carried through the city gate, followed closely by his grieving mother? Seeing Jesus make eye contact with her and, with His voice filled with compassion, hearing Him tell her not to cry. Seeing Jesus hold His hand up to stop the funeral procession, touch the frame that the corpse was sitting on, and speak to the young man, telling him to get up. Seeing the flesh and bone that just a few minutes earlier had been a lifeless body, swing his legs off the burial frame, run to and warmly embrace his mother.
How would I have responded if I had been in the house where Jesus was teaching (Mark 2:1–12), completely captivated by His message and the authority with which He spoke. Watching clumps of dirt and straw begin falling in the middle of the room as someone begins making a skylight entry. Seeing a paralytic man being slowly lowered into the room by his four close friends. Noticing there is no look of surprise on Jesus’s face, but instead a slight grin because He knows what is about to transpire. Seeing Jesus look deeply and with compassion into the man’s eyes as he descends. Hearing Him call the man, “Son,” telling him to rise, pick up his bed and go home. Seeing the man immediately respond and, with a glow on his face and a spring in his step, look up at his friends with overwhelming joy as he walks outside the meet them.
Let’s take it an additional step. How would I have responded if I were the man who had been crippled for 38 years, waiting by the Pool of Bethesda along with a multitude of other invalids (John 5:2–5), hoping someone would help me get in the water when it stirs? Then Jesus sees me, locks eyes with me and asks if I want to be healed. Following my response, He tells me to get up, pick up my mat and walk. I take Him at His command, immediately experiencing a broad array of emotions as I rise from my mat for the first time in almost four decades.
It’s easy to gloss over these stories as we read or hear them. Think about it though – the witnesses and recipients of these miracles (as well as the numerous others that are depicted in scripture) were changed forever! One day they woke up in the same broken state that they were in the day before, but that night they went to bed healed and whole.
This same Jesus still performs miracles today. The type of miracle I am referencing is the greatest of all and is available to all. It is the miracle of a life saved from the power of sin and darkness, of being called into the wonderful light of Christ (1 Peter 2:9), then spending eternity with Him (Romans 6:23).
This greatest miracle is available to all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13), acknowledge their sin, believe in His saving power, and ask for His forgiveness. I have personally experienced this miracle, and you can too.
If you have never asked Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, I encourage you to do so right now. He meets you where you are, patiently waiting for you – longing to perform within you this greatest miracle of all. Although you may have woken up this morning in the same broken state which you were yesterday, tonight you can go to bed spiritually healed, and whole.
If you would like to experience this greatest miracle or speak with someone further about it, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our pastors would love to answer any questions you may have, guide you and discuss or celebrate your decision with you.
Remember, “You Are There,” and so is He.