Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: "I think it was partly that experience that prompted me to start praying for dead bodies to be raised back to life - just to be sure that it was really their time. Jesus gave His disciples authority to raise the dead."

Part 10 - Matthew 10:8-10 - NOW THAT WOULD MAKE MY MOTHER'S DAY!

I was working as a funeral assistant and it was the first time I had ever touched a dead body when it happened. We had been called to a house to transfer the body to the hospital or funeral home. "THE BODY" - that sounds so impersonal. She was sitting in the living room, curtains draped, with her mouth gaping open. The daughter was sitting in the next room and had requested if she might keep her mother's wedding ring and I was asked if I could take it from the old lady's finger. The warmth of her hand was surprising and her lifeless fingers were soft. I suppose I had expected rigor mortis and a clammy coldness but she had died only a short time ago.

I retrieved the ring for the daughter and it was time to transfer the body. As I lifted her from the chair onto the stretcher her lifeless body sagged in the middle and some of the remaining air was expelled from her lungs and she seemed to gasp. The expired breath was so totally unexpected that I almost dropped her, not realising what was happening. A cold chill ran up and down my spine. Just briefly I had thought that SHE WAS STILL ALIVE.

I think it was partly that experience that prompted me to start praying for dead bodies to be raised back to life - just to be sure that it was really their time. Jesus gave His disciples authority to raise the dead.

In Matthew 10:8-10 (NLT) Jesus says to His disciples "Heal the sick, RAISE THE DEAD, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. ... "Don't take any money in your money belts-no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don't carry a traveler's bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick..."

A number of theologians say that their ability to raise the dead, cast out evil spirits and heal every kind of disease and illness was JUST A TEMPORARY ARRANGEMENT for the disciples. It only happened for them during the three years that Jesus was around with them. They say that Jesus gave them DIFFERENT INSTRUCTIONS later just before His arrest in Luke 22:35-36.

Luke 22:35-36 certainly does read differently. It says "...Jesus asked them, "When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler's bag, or extra clothing, did you need anything?" "No," they replied. "But now," He said, "take your money and a traveler's bag. And if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about Me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.' Yes, everything written about Me by the prophets will come true."

Because Jesus gave different instructions just before His trial does that necessarily mean that they were only able to perform these miracles FOR A SEASON? I don't think so. You will notice that the instructions may have been different in relation to MONEY AND CLOTHING AND A SWORD but nothing is mentioned about raising the dead, casting out demons and healing the sick and preaching that the kingdom was near.

To me in the second instruction Jesus is warning them to be PREPARED FOR PERSECUTION in the days ahead. He is NOT REVOKING HIS CALL upon their lives to preach the gospel and heal the sick.

So did they still have the ability to heal every kind of sickness and raise dead people? I would say "YES!" THE REAL QUESTION IS "DO WE?" It seems strange to me that most Christians will accept the call to preach the gospel and share their faith but refuse the possibility that they may be called to pray for people to be raised from the dead, to be healed, to cast out demons. That only happens to missionaries apparently.

My mother recently asked me to take her funeral when she dies. I don't like to think about her death. Will I be so willing then to pray that she will be raised from the dead, just in case it's not her time? For me, I think I have to remain open to the fact that God may lay it upon my heart to pray specifically into an impossible situation and see His miraculous intervention. Any time God wants to raise someone from the dead, I want to be READY, NOT RELUNCTANT! Especially if it's my Mum! That would certainly make her day! I know, in our scientific age that what I am saying sounds so naïve and for some a little superstitious, but that's not at all what I am talking about. I NEVER WANT TO BE SO ARROGANT AS TO THINK IT IS TOO DIFFICULT OR THE TIME HAS PASSED FOR GOD TO DO SOMETHING MIRACULOUS IN MY LIFE.

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