Wednesday, May 3, 2017
It looks to me, that very slowly with each generation further away from Jesus ... there seems to be fewer and fewer observed miracles.
The disciples of Jesus, the ones who walked closest to Him during the three and a half years of His public ministry, seem to have displayed a greater power and spiritual authority than the average believer has today. Miracles of healing were seen as almost common place to them as they proclaimed their faith in, and the authority given them through the name of Jesus.
Could it be that walking with Jesus during this time had a special effect on them that we today can't receive since we were not in physical contact with Him as they were? Did something rub off on them? According to John 20:22, He even breathed on the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit the evening of His resurrection as they were gathered together in fear of the Jews behind closed doors.
But the disciples didn't receive the Holy Spirit until 50 days later on the day of Pentecost ... or did they? Could it be the disciples were filled when He breathed on them, and the other 120 followers of Jesus were then filled later in the upper room. If you read Acts 2:1-14, you will notice that the disciples are not mentioned until Peter stands to speak about what is happening.
The breath of Jesus. I'm pausing here a moment thinking, what would it be like to have Jesus ... breath on me? Would I be different?
As the creator, He also breathed on Adam and he became a living soul. We should not ever forget that our breath is from Him and it's just on loan to us. Oh, and when God chooses to take it back, we will have to relinquish it back to Him, won't we? We won't have a say in the matter either.
Could it be ... that the disciples, walking with Jesus daily, hearing His words, feeling His touch, eating their meals with Him, as well as His breathing on them ... did any of these things contribute to their boldness and authority in proclaiming the name of Jesus as they started the first century church.
Something happened to these men by being with Jesus ... and miracles were the results.
In my August 12th, 2011 post, I wrote about the Disciple John ... as I saw him in my mind's eye, "Covered in Blood" as he helped take the body of Jesus down from the cross. In it I asked this question; because of having the physical blood of Jesus smeared upon John's back and shoulder as he carried the body of Jesus, could it be that is the reason he lived to be an old man? He was the only disciple that died a natural death around A.D. 100 and was most likely in his late nineties when he died.
It seems to me that John was different then the others, closer to Jesus, taken under His wing so to speak. Jesus even gave the care of His mother to him. He's the only disciple who didn't run away from the crucifixion of Jesus. Oh well ... these are just my random thoughts. Pay no mind to them. I don't either some times.
We know that the disciples of Jesus had many miracles in their ministries within the 1st century; John being the last of the twelve to die. History also records that men like Polycarp (A.D.65-155) who was a friend, student, and disciple of John, also had many miracles in his ministry as did his contemporaries like Clement and Ignatius.
The label, "Apostolic Fathers" has been applied to them to indicate they were the generation that had personal contact with the twelve disciples. They provide a link between the disciples ... who had personal contact with Jesus ... and the later generations of Christians who came after the 1st century.
So what am I getting at? From what I have read about miracles in church history, it reads something like this. Jesus had hundreds, even thousands of miracles during His ministry. Each of the disciples, those who had personal contact with Jesus, had perhaps hundreds of miracles themselves. No one kept count.
The Apostolic Fathers, those who had personal contact with the disciples, (the ones who had personal contact with Jesus) also had many miracles ... but fewer than the disciples of Jesus had. Notice the downward progression ... from thousands to hundreds to many fewer today.
Could it be ... Jesus gave a special anointing to His disciples, that over time, from generation to generation seemed to dissipate and disappear from believers?
Could it be ... the anointing faded like it did with Moses? The Apostle Paul explains in 2nd Corinthians 3:13 the reason why Moses, after receiving the Law and then coming down from the mountain placed a vail over his face. After being in the presence of God, the face of Moses shone with the glory of God still upon it. (Exodus 34:29-35) The vail prevented the children of Israel from observing the glory fading slowly from his face.
So I ask, why couldn't the glory, the anointing, and the power of Jesus ... given to the disciples and church fathers likewise have faded slowly away.
Many so called spiritual giants of the church over the past 800 years or so have suggested the same thing. I certainly don't know ... but it looks as though that might explain what has happened to the church.
If one were to look at what John was instructed to write in the Book of Revelation in Chapters II and III concerning the seven churches ... which alludes to seven different periods of church history ... we read the words of Jesus as He begins telling the first church, "you have left your first love." And then it goes downhill from there as He addresses all seven.
To the last church (or dispensation of time in church history ... perhaps ours) Jesus says, "because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth."
Could it be ... that the Church the disciples started in the first century has fallen so far away from what the church was intended to be, that the same power and anointing of the Holy Spirit has very few places or people to work with anymore? Is that why it seems as though God doesn't work miracles as often in this present church age?
Have we, including myself ... lost our first love and become lukewarm?