FOLLOW OUR PODCAST ON (search opentheword):
A few days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine and ended up sharing what I would be discussing in this podcast.
He had a very unusual response to what I am going to be talking about and said it was either very powerful or really bad.
So, I have no idea what you are getting.
But it was three o’clock in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day in Jerusalem, and Peter and John were climbing up the steps to enter the temple for prayer when a very strange thing happened.
They encountered a man lame from birth begging for alms.
Now that in itself wasn’t particularly strange, as the sick and the disabled were often forced to beg to survive, it is what happened next that was.
We read in Acts 3:6:
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
And the man was instantly healed. And even that wasn’t all that strange because, for the previous three years, Jesus had been healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead.
It is how he was healed that is strange.
Because it was very similar to a strange healing that took place in Germany, 1,500 years later.
During the 1500s Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, started the protestant church after the Roman Catholic church rejected his call for reform.
Luther claimed that the Bible was the final authority and that man was saved by faith in Christ not by purchasing indulgences for some old cathedral in Rome.
But a strange thing happened in 1540 when one of Luther’s important protestant coworkers, Friedrich Myconius, was in bed dying from tuberculosis.
Myconius had sent a letter of his impending death to Luther.
Luther responded with what basically consisted of a prayer proclaiming his friend’s healing. After reading the prayer, Myconius was instantly healed and would actually outlive Luther.
But it was a strange prayer.
Martin Luther wrote:
“I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church… The Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God.”
Now, there was nothing wrong with the first line, as Luther commanded Myconius to live in the Name of God.
But where we run into problems is at the end of this prayer, when Martin Luther prayed that it was his will, Martin Luther’s will, that Myconius be healed.
And except for the one small fact that the Holy Spirit healed Myconius on the spot, it almost sounds heretical.
Now, as strange as that sounds, this is similar to what Peter said.
When Peter looked at that lame man, he said ‘hey man I don’t have silver and gold but what I do have I am going to give it to you,’ and the Holy Spirit instantly healed the lame man.
Notice how Peter said ‘what I have,’ because it is similar to what Luther said when he wrote, this is ‘my will’.
And though we look at Peter and Martin Luther’s statements as almost pretentious, I think it reflects a misunderstanding that people have of their position in Christ.
In Luke 9, we read that Jesus gave His disciples authority and power:
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. (Luke 9:1-2)
But we need to read this verse carefully. It says that Jesus gave them authority and power.
If I give you my Bible, it is now your Bible, and this means you can give it to whomever you want.
So, when Jesus gave his disciples power and authority, it was now their authority, and they were shocked by what happened when they prayed.
It is similar to police officers today.
The government has given them authority to arrest people.
They don’t have to call the mayor and ask, “Do I have permission to arrest this guy” when they see someone breaking the law?
They have the personal authority to do it.
Police officers understand their authority and what is equally curious is that police actually go through training on how to enforce this authority, including training in voice inflection in order to command attention.
As believers, we have been deputized with authority in the Kingdom of God.
But we need more than authority, we also need the power, and that comes through being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus made a strange statement when a woman with an issue of blood pushed through the crowd and touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was instantly healed.
We need to understand what was going on here. At this point, people were looking at Jesus as a celebrity. A huge grown had gathered around Christ. They were pushing and jostling him, maybe even looking for autographs.
At one point, Jesus said someone had touched him.
The disciples were shocked. “What do you mean, someone touched you,” they said. “Everyone has been touching you in this crowd.”
But Jesus replied:
Then Jesus said: “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had left Me.” (Luke 8:46 NASV)
Jesus said the healing power flowed out of Him. This woman’s faith literally pulled this healing virtue out of Christ.
At this moment, Jesus was fully human. He had set aside His deity and was demonstrating how we will function in the Kingdom of God when we are similarly filled with the Holy Spirit.
Many of us have this strange idea that healing falls down from heaven. This woman’s healing did not come down from heaven, it came from the Holy Spirit residing inside of Christ.
And the same thing occurs when we pray for healing.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the healing power of God is now inside us. When we pray and people are healed, the healing actually flows out of us, which is why Peter said, “what I do have I give to you — in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk.”
Peter understood that he had authority and the power of the Holy Spirit was resident in him.
But many of us are still functioning at the level of Jewish exorcists that Luke described in Acts 19, who were trying to hijack an outside authority in their attempts to exorcise demons and ended up getting beaten up:
13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” (Acts 19:13)
They were saying the right thing, proclaiming deliverance in Jesus’ Name, but it didn’t work.
Similarly, we can pray eloquently in Jesus’ name, but often we don’t fully understand the authority and power that Christ has given us.
If we don’t understand and believe our position in Christ, that we have been deputized in the Kingdom of God, these can be empty, hollow words.
I think Hebrews 4:16 describes the situation best when it states that we are to come boldly into the throne room of God for help in our time of need.
In other words, we need to act like we belong there.
When we pray, we should almost sound pretentious. We should almost sound arrogant.
We should pray like someone who belongs in the throne room of God.
In closing, I would like to mention we have two responsibilities here.
First, we need to understand our position in Christ and most importantly, we need to believe that we have received authority. We need to believe that it is our personal authority. We need to believe that we have been deputized in the Kingdom of God.
Secondly, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is where our power is.
But most of us think they have nothing anymore to do, as this all falls on the Holy Spirit.
No! The Holy Spirit wants to empower you, and we play an important role in this.
Despite being filled with the Holy Spirit, we can quench the Spirit of God inside us.
The word quench means literally to put out the fire.
In other words, you can literally hinder or impede the Holy Spirit’s ability to heal other people through you.
We have an important role to play in all this.
You have been deputized. You have been empowered, and you need to own this and minister with Peter’s attitude, ‘what I do have I give to you.’