WONDERS AND FAITH
June 9, 2013
Today’s readings: 1 Kgs 17:17-24; Ps 30:2-13; Gal 1:11-19; Lk 7:11-17
Faith works wonders, but wonders stir up faith. With faith we can do the works of Jesus and greater ones that those. With greater works people are led to faith in Jesus.
Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead in Nain, and “fear seized them all, and they glorified God” (Lk 7:16a). The people recognized that God was acting in and through Jesus. Elijah also raised a widow’s son (1 Kgs 17:22), and the woman said to him, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God, and it is truly the word of the Lord that you speak.” (1 Kgs 17:24). The woman recognized that God was acting in and speaking through Elijah. God delivered David (Ps 30:2-4), overturning his dire situation (Ps 30:12), and David recognized his proper response: “So that my glory may praise you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.” (Ps 30:13). By God’s amazing salvific work in his life, David had become a grateful and zealous proclaimer of God’s glory.
Wonders turn people around. The widow at Zarephath had become bitter against Elijah when her son died. Recognizing him as a man of God, she would have become bitter against God as well. “Why have you done this to me, man of God? Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?” (1 Kgs 17:18). But because of the wonder of Elijah bringing her son back to life, she then affirmed, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God” (1 Kgs 17:24a), and she became open to God’s words through him (1 Kgs 17:24b).
In the case of Saul, God directly and dramatically intervened in his life, and totally turned him around. He became Paul. He was totally transformed, from his “former way of life in Judaism, how (he) persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it” (Gal 1:13), to the zealous apostle who would “proclaim him to the Gentiles” (Gal 1:16b). The greatest persecutor of Christians had become the greatest proclaimer of Christ.
Today, with a secular society and a disbelieving world, signs and wonders are even more important in bringing people to God. So how about you? We might not be called on to raise the dead, but we certainly can do wonders as God acts in and through us. Jesus himself has assured us, that our faith will work wonders (Jn 14:12).
Such wonders that can help bring people to faith in God would be such things as our total transformation in Christ, which many people, especially those who know us, could consider miraculous, a transition from death to life. People need to be able to conclude that “God has visited his people.” (Lk 7:16c). People can then become more open to the gospel, revealed through us. “A great prophet has arisen in our midst” (Lk 7:16b).
We must know that God has commissioned us, and so will empower us. We are just His instruments. We go not on our own strength but on God’s. We do God’s work, and “the gospel preached by (us) is not of human origin.” (Gal 1:11). Thus we need to be intimately connected with God. We pray, knowing that what we ask for in Jesus’ name will be granted. Then we, and those we are trying to reach, can experience the wonders of God. “The Lord heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he lived.” (1 Kgs 17:22).
Faith works wonders, and such wonders stir up faith. Let the gospel of salvation in Jesus be proclaimed to all, and let all be awed by the glorious wonders of God. “This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.” (Lk 7:17).
God bless you all.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)