“He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
– Mark 6:5-6
My wife and I have supported and followed the Jesus Film for many years. The Jesus Film made a film of the gospel of Luke, translated it to over 1,000 languages, and shown it to billions of people all over the world. We would love reading their newsletters of stories from the field. They would tell accounts of the blind seeing, the lame walking, angels appearing, and Jesus revealing Himself to people (selected stories below). Each story would increase our faith and excite us for the power of God.
But, at the same time, we struggled with why we were not seeing God work the same way in America. Why was God so willing to work in the remote areas of the world, but not in a place where so many Christians lived?
I remember hearing weak excuses like God needed to reveal His power to make His gospel more plain there. They did not have the Bible, so God needed to show His hand more. It was as if that God only healed people so that they would be saved. That is kind of unfortunate for those of us who already believe in Him.
But still the miracles seemed to be more evident to the lost. Why?
It is interesting to note that Jesus had trouble performing miracles in his hometown (Mark 6:1-6). The passage shows that people were amazed as Jesus taught until they remembered he was from there, that he was a carpenter, that his family lived there. Then they took offense, and Jesus could do no miracles there. They were too familiar with Jesus to expect supernatural from Him.
It is always amazing that our reactions and views can affect what God wants to do. The statement that Jesus could do no miracles insinuates that He wanted to do them but was restrained. I believe this is what is happening in America. Why would Jesus not want to do miracles here? Do you think He wants to cure your cancer? Does He want to restore the mind of the ones with Alzheimer? Does He want to release the child bound to a wheelchair that he may walk?
I don’t think any blame goes to the people suffering and in need of a miracle; we as Americans have created an atmosphere where Jesus can do no miracles. We have explained them away. We have limited God’s power to only the believer’s salvation. Therefore we sit and wait for any real touches of God apart from some chills in worship until we get to heaven.
Are we offended by God? He didn’t stop my dad from abusing me. He let my friend die in the car wreck. Since He did not save me from my pain, He must not do those things now. Therefore the best we can hope for is to wait for heaven… DON’T BELIEVE THIS!
God loves you. Cast all your burdens on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). He is not waiting for your arrival in heaven; He is wanting to be intimately involved with you now. He is the loving Father. He wants to take care of His sons and daughters. Believe that He is for you. Don’t relegate all of God’s miracles to only people who live in the jungles… those people who have not talked themselves out of not believing.
Pray as if God wants to answer your prayers.
Stories from Jesus Film Showings
- In Ghana during a Jesus Film showing, a woman in the crowd began to shout. She was holding a completely rigid baby in her arms. She looked down in agony at her 10 month old infant, wailing, “My baby is dying! My baby is dying!” The film team leader stopped the film, took the child, and prayed. The crowd listened in stony silence. Suddenly the body of the baby went limp in their arms, and she began to cry. They gave her back to her mother and she hugged her to her breast with deep relief.
- In Thailand, a man lay in a house 300 feet from a Jesus Film showing. He heard through the film that Jesus can heal the sick and raise the dead. When he heard this over the loudspeaker, he said to himself, ‘Maybe if Jesus is so powerful, I can pray for myself, and I can ask Him to heal me.’ His leg was crippled and he could not walk, but he pushed himself up to his knees with his hands and said, ‘Jesus, if you are the living and true God and have power to heal sickness, I pray that you heal me now.’ He was healed right away. He ran to the film showing and told the leader what had happened.
- In Indonesia there was a woman who had been blind for 4 years. Someone told her about the Jesus Film, where Jesus heals a blind man. She asked her daughter to guide her to the showing so she could hear the story. When the scene was shown where the blind man asks Jesus to heal him, the blind woman shouted out, “I want to see, too!” A few moments later, as the film showed Jesus on the cross, her vision was restored.