Thursday, May 9, 2013

Through The Name of Jesus

by Donna L. Watkins
Acts 3 includes the story of a lame beggar who was crippled from birth. He had somebody to carry him to the temple gate daily so he could beg alms. Peter and John came to the temple and told him to look at them. They wanted his full attention. They told him they had no silver or gold to give him but such as they had they would give and commanded him in the name of Jesus to stand up and walk. The man not only walked, but he was jumping and praising God. Obviously he created quite a stir amongst those who were at the temple because all knew him as the crippled beggar at the Gate Beautiful.

In verse 12, Peter says to the crowd, “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?" He also tells them about Jesus whom they had killed and that it was through Him that this man was healed. In Acts 3:16 he explains, “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all."

His name heals, not our will, strength or determination. If it was any of that, it would mean it partially depended on me, but it's all Jesus. He is the one who paid the price for our healing. He took the diseases on His body, died and then dumped them all back into Hell. "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:16).

In Luke 4 and Matthew 21 Jesus went to the temple in His home town, Nazareth, and was handed the scroll of Isaiah to read. He unrolled it and found the passage of Isaiah 61:1-2a (which was originally from Leviticus 25:10) where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year of the Lord's favor.” Then He said to them that the passage was fulfilled in their hearing.

The "year of the Lord's favor" was the year of Jubilee. In the Old Testament the concept of the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, aJubilee year is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, land was returned to its original owners and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. The economy was reset to zero giving everyone a fresh new start. The poor had a chance to recover, the rich could not continue to exploit others for selfish purposes. The year of Jubilee was a time of liberty and freedom--a fresh new start to erase inequities in the culture.

When Jesus went to Hell after the grave, He returned all the inequities that the devil had placed on mankind and threw them back in Satan's face. He "took captivity captive." Ephesians 4:8-9 says, "Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" Now every year is the year of Jubilee for Christians as far as the meaning that was applied to it. We have been set free from our sins and diseases and whatever holds us captive that is within the evil realm. We no longer need to think that salvation was only to give us a ticket to Heaven. Jesus said He came to give us a "more abundant life" (John 10:10).

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© Donna L. Watkins - Monarch on Coreopsis
North Carolina Botanical Garden at Chapel Hill
Through His name we have the resurrection power of God because Christ is within us. In and of ourselves we can do no good thing (Romans 7:18). This is a very difficult thing for people to learn. Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), but Christians still attempt to do many things apart from the Lord. We feel like we simply must do something, anything. And even though the Bible says there is nothing good in our flesh, and the flesh profits nothing, we spend a lot of time doing fleshly things apart from the Spirit of Jesus, thinking they are good and profitable.

Peter and John knew they had nothing to give the man, money or otherwise. But they had Jesus to offer this crippled beggar and so they did. Mark 16:17-18 has Jesus speaking to His disciples, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Imagine what our health care system would look like if this were in place within the Body of Christ and the Church today?  What kind of live would we have being totally healthy and surrounded by everybody else being healthy.  Healing wasn't just for Christians.  Christ healed everybody.  He didn't qualify folks.  Unsaved people today are healed all the time and then they learn who it is that healed them, just as the man at the temple gate did, and they jump and praise God.

Scripture never says these signs would ever stop following believers. If you believe -- they will follow you! If you don't, they won't. Jesus mentioned many times the requirement of faith was belief. He wasn't talked about belief in the head, but belief in the heart. That's why He often used the phrase, "those who have ears to hear, lt them hear" or "those who have eyes to see, let them see." He was speaking to crowds that obviously had eyes and ears, so He was speaking about the matters of the heart. Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

Some Christians say that those signs and abilities were only for His disciples, but in John 14:12 Jesus shows that it was not limited to the Apostles when He says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, 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."

If you need another reference of proof, Paul was not one of the Apostles. His experience on the road to Damascus was after Jesus' was crucified, risen and returned to the Father. But Acts 28:8-9 tell us that Paul healed people: "And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed."

We have more power and ability through Christ than we can imagine. The Church (speaking globally) has left much of what Jesus came to give us on the table and walked away from it. Why? Probably for the same reasons many Christians do today. It's not understood with the mind. These are spiritual abilities and we get used to functioning in the physical realm and aren't always able to cross the bridge to the spiritual realm. The world has become more "me-focused" and mindful to what we can accomplish in and of ourselves.

But it's the name of Jesus and the faith that comes through Him that gives us complete healing .... and we can meditate on that until it gets into our hearts. The Holy Spirit imparts revelation when we seek God with all of our hearts and lean not to our own understanding, and in all ways acknowledge Him. He will then make our paths straight. I am certainly tired of crooked and crippled paths. I know there's a yellow brick road to all that God provided for us when He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to redeem us.

Reach out, earnest seek His face, desire nothing else so much as relationship with our Heavenly Daddy. Life will be so much more full and complete healing will truly be ours.

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