Dec 30 2009

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The Process of Becoming a Miracle Worker

Peter, perhaps the best known of Jesus’ disciples, became a worker of miracles, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In Acts we read how on the Day of Pentecost he preached on the streets of Jerusalem and 3000 people committed their lives to follow Jesus Christ.  As time went on, he became known as a person whom God used to heal the sick.  In fact, people would bring the sick and demonized to the streets where Peter walked so that his shadow could fall upon them.  Many were healed and set free in this way.

Twice Peter was set free from prison by an angel.  For years, government officials tried, but failed to stop him from preaching about Jesus. Only when his work on earth was finished could they take him away and crucify him.

Peter was a man who had experienced the work of Christ in his life, and he had seen Jesus after He rose from the dead.  He had been set on fire for God by an experience with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.  He was constantly ministering to people in the name of Jesus.  One of his best known miracles was when he raised Dorcas from the dead.

But Peter didn’t start out as a worker of miracles.  He was a simple, uneducated fisherman.  He and his brother Andrew were called by Jesus saying, “I will make you fishers of men.”  He was called to accomplish great things for God, but was not ready.  He had something important to do first.  He had to get to know Jesus personally.  And he had to yield his life to God in such a way that God could use him.

As we read the gospels and see Peter’s life as Jesus’ disciple, we see an impulsive guy with a big heart.  He grew to love Jesus and desired to be true to Him.  As He watched Jesus minister to people, he learned much about prayer, waiting on God, and stepping out in faith.  He also made mistakes.

Peter must have been amazed as he saw Jesus heal the sick, set demonized people free, multiply food, calm storms, walk on water, and raise the dead.  He heard Jesus’ words about the Kingdom of Heaven and learned servanthood from Jesus’ example.

Perhaps over time he became a bit overconfident and proud. After all, he was one of Jesus’ closest disciples.  He saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain top; he followed Jesus’ instructions  to bring healing to people when he was sent out with the other disciples; he was commended for his statement that Jesus was the Christ; and he was the only one to step out on the water and walk on top of the stormy waves.  At the last supper, Jesus revealed that someone was going to betray Him.  Peter reacted strongly and said, “Not me, Lord!  I would die for You.”

Jesus knew that Peter needed to face up to his own pride and to acknowledge that he was self confident instead of reliant upon God.  So He told Peter that before the rooster crowed the next morning, he would deny that he even knew Jesus.  And sure enough, that very night Jesus was arrested, and Peter did exactly that.  When the rooster crowed and he caught a glimpse of Jesus looking his way, Peter was devastated!  He ran away weeping bitterly.  He had openly proclaimed that he never knew Jesus!  This hardly seemed like a man who would become a miracle worker.

God works in us through a process of bringing us face to face with ourselves.  He reveals areas of pride and self reliance to us.  Sometimes this revelation comes to us in painful ways as we are brought face to face with our sin and mistakes.  But God’s love is greater than our sin.  He turns these experiences around to mold us into people that He can use.  And that’s what happened with Peter.

After Jesus rose from the dead, he made a point to go to the seashore where he could call out to a boat full of his disciples who were fishing, including Peter.  As He had done before His death on the cross, Jesus served them.  He told them where to throw their nets to catch fish.  And He cooked them breakfast.  It was there, sitting around the morning campfire, where Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him.  With each assurance of love from Peter, Jesus gave him a job to do –  to take care of His “sheep.”

Once Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit, he fulfilled this commission by devoting his life to spreading the good news about Jesus to everyone possible.  And, no longer self reliant, but instead God reliant, He was able to be used by God to bring many miracles and salvation to many people.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, be aware that God is working in you.  He’s preparing you to be used by Him to touch the lives of many people in ways that will help draw them to Jesus.  Don’t be alarmed if you go through some tough times.  Peter did!  But he came out as a miracle worker.  So can you!

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