Kingdom Emergence – VI

Did you ever come across a Gideon?  Maybe you’ve felt like him at some point.  No, not the mighty judge, but the whining, cynical, depressed Gideon.  The guy who mouthed-off to the Angel of the LORD: “where are the miracles our fathers saw?” (see Judges 6.13).  Especially in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles, the lack of “signs and wonders” is greatly lamented.  I can’t help but wonder if we don’t see the miracles of the Bible because we simply can’t handle them.  It’s not that God doesn’t have the power or the desire to do them, but that the emergence of miracles in the 21st Century American church would do more harm than good.  The early church had them some miracles, didn’t they?  How come we don’t those in our services?  Isn’t the Kingdom here?  Well…

Consider how Peter conducted himself after the lame beggar was healed in Acts 3.  How many of our preachers would be on TBN or have book deal by the end of the week?  Too many.  How many of us would be content to revel in the miracle?  Too many.  How many would actually have the sense of mind to take a “praise break” and make sure we give God credit (so he doesn’t get upset by our poor manners and take back that miracle!)?  Peter – in the spirit of the rest of the apostles – realized that the primary focus of the followers of Jesus is to proclaim the Gospel, not at the expense of the supernatural, but in light of it.

Peter’s first post-miracle move was to put himself in perspective, “why do you stare at us?” (Acts 3.12) If this doesn’t smack the face of the church’s celebrity culture, I don’t know what does.  And, by the way, Peter didn’t simply give credit to Jesus, he placed Jesus in context as the manifestation of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the last thing the Jews wanted to hear!  Peter didn’t let Jesus become a harmless, saccharine guru, but instead he proclaimed him to be the servant of God, the “Author of Life,” killed by his audience of admirers (see v. 15)! This approach runs against the grain of current ministry, but then again, the early church wasn’t trying to grow or be popular because God was adding to their numbers daily.

Ultimately, Peter managed not just to get eyes off of him, but onto Jesus.  And Peter’s presentation of Jesus was inextricably connected to the culture and the sin of his admirers.  Jesus was presented in a way that confronted the attitudes and actions of an audience that was eagerly impressed with Peter.  And he goes even further, calling them to repent – change – in light of what they’ve just had explained to them.  Basically, in Acts 3 we see men who weren’t easily impressed with themselves, and were unwilling to let a miracle stand on its own.  Signs and wonder point us to Jesus – a crucified Jesus – not primarily so the lost can be impressed with (praise) him, but that they might repent!

Maybe if we were more concerned with repentance than pleasure or popularity, God would see fit to release more miracles…

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One thought on “Kingdom Emergence – VI

  1. Jim Tate says:

    Mark…………….this is so appropriate for all of us in this “selfseeking day” to read and apply! Thanks! This will be a great book! Blessings! JT

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