Jesus is asked by John’s disciples if He is the one to come, or if they should expect someone else. Jesus’ reply tells us what it looks like when the Kingdom of God dawns upon us; “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.””
Even from the very beginning of His work, Jesus understood His ministry was to do exactly these things. Luke recorded when Jesus began; “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”” Subsequently the blind were made to see in 9:27–31, the lame able to walk in 9:2–8, a leper cleansed in 8:1–4, and the mute able to speak in 9:32. Moreover, a dead person was raised in 9:18–26, and the preaching of this good news was a prominent part of the ministry of Jesus all through that time (4:17, 23, 9:35, 11:1). Taken together with his reading of Isaiah, it is indisputable that Jesus knew and purposefully did all He was doing. So to John’s disciples He merely gave a witness of what was happening.
The conclusion John’s disciples must have come to is obvious: When we see such things happening, we can know that the Kingdom of God is upon us.
In this way Matthew challenges his readers: Do we or do we not we see such things in our day?
Truly, many are the pastors and ministers of the Lord who never see a single miracle in all their days as servants of God. Many are the congregations who faithfully gather – even for generations – but never even hear of such things. Sadly, the question must be asked: “Are we as the global church really bringing about the Kingdom of God if we never hear or see the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the diseased cured, the deaf hear, or the dead raised?” Even sadder is the fact that whole denominations in the Western world have ceased even in proclaiming the Good News –opting instead for ‘inclusivity’ via endorsing sin, and for ‘safety’ via proclaiming only what the secularists already spout.
There is no doubt that it takes a good deal of courage to do as Jesus and His disciples did – to pray for and minister to others, expecting a miracle. But if we do not even try, we are sure to not even hear of it. John Wimber (who prophesied over Nicky Gumble before Nicky got involved in Alpha) once noted that when he and his team didn’t pray and minister (for miraculous healing), no one got healed. But when they did so for many, some were healed.
Why do we not do try to do likewise?
When we first started healing services at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, some of our elders were uneasy. We worked in groups of three—one pastor and two elders—and people came forward and sought prayer for physical and mental healing, relationships, and addictions. When we prayed, we knew there would be miracles, but we couldn’t say where or when or how.As time passed, the elders were feeling more secure in praying for healing. They were learning not to be afraid of what looked like a failure, because they realized that prayer is never wasted. Even when we can’t see results. God is at work.Bruce Larson
If someone you are ministering who is hurting, ask the Spirit for His leading in what to pray for them. Then, knowing God is leading, pray accordingly.