I remember that it was a about fifteen years ago, that it was a Sunday, and we were in that short period of time between Sunday School and the 11:00 service when she told us. Her name was Edith Woods, a woman in her seventies, and on that particular Sunday, she was characteristically poised and elegant.
Larry, the Senior Pastor and I were standing just inside the church office, by the mailboxes. She was wearing a silver broach and a yellow sweater when she told us that her cancer had returned, she said “I want you to know that I am doing just fine and I do not need anything, but I wanted you to know.”
Edith was already a walking miracle. She was nine years in from her original diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and her physician had told her that she was one of two people he had ever heard of to live that long with that diagnosis. But now it was back, and now, Edith had decided, it was time to start talking about it to the two clergymen who would bury her.
In this morning’s text, Jesus has a similar conversation with his disciples. He tells them, in no uncertain terms, that he is about to die. Indeed, the disciples likely did not understand what Jesus meant by the coming of the Holy Spirit and they probably could not fully process him saying “You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.”
This sermon will be preached tomorrow at Reveille United Methodist Church at 8:30, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. Please join us.
Neil Osbon said:
Doug, my old friend,
Peace and wholeness to you in Christ from Japan!
I can’t help but think of Matthew 8:1-4, where Jesus heals the leper, and Matthew 10/Luke 9, where Jesus gives the twelve authority over sickness. Then He sends out the whole church in Mark 16:15-20. Every time, He gives us a command to heal the sick while we preach the kingdom of God.
It grieves me that so many Christians have more faith in their diseases, or in the words of doctors, than they do in the power of God to heal them, as revealed in both Testaments. Jesus commanded us to heal the sick and raise the dead. He was not speaking only metaphorically.
Death is, of course, ultimately unavoidable. But our loving, living, powerful Heavenly Father promises us an abundant, satisfied life full of blessing. We the church have settled for less, and the powerless “form of godliness” we have accepted will never win the world to Christ.
It’s a shame that people have not experienced God’s power to heal them physically. Believers need to see healings happen. I’ve seen them and done them many times, at church and on the street, but mostly in the public school where I taught for eleven years. As Jesus plainly demonstrated, and as He commanded us to demonstrate, His divine message demands divine evidence. We can and must produce that evidence. I’m working on a book right now to make it plain to Christians everywhere. I hope to stir up a restoration of miracles in the church.
Forgive me for mistaking the intent of your sermon. I know you love God and His people and provide the very best for them. I wish you well, brother!