Summary: Not just the elements of nature, but time and space are subject to Jesus
Jesus Lord of Time and Space.
There was, some time ago, a certain church group who had informed a certain bar owner that they had been praying for his bar to burn down. A little while later a terrible thunder and lightning storm had appeared. The lightning struck the bar and caused a fire, which burned the bar to the ground. The bar owner got a lawyer and sued the Christians. The Christians in turned got a lawyer who said that they were not responsible for the bar burning down. The judge thought this was a most unusual case. In the end he said, the bar owner believed in prayer, but the Christians didn’t.
Here we see a simple prayer, a simple request like the one at the wedding feast. My son is sick. Do we make such requests before the LORD? There are reasons for what we call “unanswered Prayer” one is unbelief. (James 1) the other is as follows.
John 4:46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
His plea received and instant challenge. Jesus looked at the man and ignored his request, and challenged the ground of his faith. Jesus’ response is for the onlookers as well as the royal official. Although this is similar to the healing of the Centurion’s servant, this is a different miracle. One of the similarities is that the official, like the Centurion, is a Gentile.
The official was seen by Jesus as a representative of the kind of people whose faith has to be constantly bolstered by miracles; this, in contrast with the Samaritans, seen earlier in this chapter, who believed without having a miracle take place.
48 "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
When we need signs/miracles to bolster our faith, our prayers may go unanswered.
This father is obviously upset. He may not have needed a sign to bolster his faith, all he knew is his son is dying and this man, Jesus has the power to do something about it.
49 The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."50 Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
The Word is superior to signs!
The term the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit also called the Signs and Wonders movement was coined by C. Peter Wagner, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. Third Wavers are persuaded that miracles, visions, tongues, prophecies, and healings are essential supplements to the gospel. They view Christianity without those things as impotent, adulterated by the Western, materialistic mind set. Some Third Wavers even say that unbelievers must experience the miraculous to be brought to full faith. Merely preaching the gospel message, they believe without seeing miracles, they say, and those who do will be inadequately converted and therefore stunted in their spiritual growth. Wimber believes that those who simply preach the gospel message fall short of true evangelism. He dubs their approach “programmatic evangelism.” What is needed instead, he says, is “power evangelism.”
Wimber cites Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel as a classic example of a “power encounter,” where the power of God vanquishes the power of evil. But in the end times many will be decieved by signs and wonders.
Modern miracle workers have yet to call down fire from heaven, like Elijah did, but Third Wave followers do tell of some fantastic signs and wonders that are happening within the movement. Wimber, for example, reported and incident where a woman’s toe, which had been cut off, supposedly grew back. He described another woman in Australia whose cleft palate closed up miraculously three days after God gave him a “word of knowledge” that she would be healed. Yet where is the proof? In this story there is the proof, the child is well and it is authenticated by witnesses.
The underlying assumption that drives the whole Third Wave movement is wrong. Miracles, signs, and wonders are impotent to produce either faith or genuine revival. Furthermore, power-encounter ministry misses the whole point of our witness. We are not commissioned to confront satanic power with miracle power. We are commissioned to confront satanic lies with divine truth.
RO 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.