Summary: 2d in series "Miracles in Matthew." Looks at Jesus identity as the Healer.
In the morning of November 30th 2001, Daniel Ekechukwu, the pastor of the Power Chapel Evangelical Church in Onitsha, with his friend Kingsley took a Christmas present of a goat to his father in a village near the town of Owerri. Daniel drove his 20-year-old Mercedes. On the way back home, traveling down a steep road, the Mercedes’ brakes failed. Daniel could do nothing. Gathering speed the vehicle hurtled downhill and smashed into a stone pillar.
Without a seat belt Daniel was catapulted violently forward. His head hit the windscreen and the steering wheel and knob punched into his body. Daniel’s friend Kingsley shocked though not badly hurt, turned to Daniel, hoping all was well. But the sight appalled him. Blood was pouring from Daniel’s nose from a head injury, and then he began vomiting blood from heavy internal hemorrhage.
Daniel was taken to the local clinic but they decided he needed to be transferred to a larger facility 1 ½ hours away on a bumpy road. As they carried him to the ambulance, Daniel felt his life ebb away. At the hospital he was declared dead and transferred to the mortuary back in his father’s hometown.
The mortuary having no cold storage facilities, the mortician administered the usual chemical injection and prepared the body for embalming on the following morning. With a staff member he laid the body out on a mortuary slab between two other dead people. Everyone then retired for the night.
Meanwhile Daniel’s wife convinced her husband would live again, wanted his body taken to the church in Onitsha where Reinhard Bonnke was to speak at a dedication ceremony. On Sunday December 2nd (two days after he had been declared dead, over the protests of Daniel’s father, the mortuary officials and just about everyone else, Nneka dressed the corpse and loaded him in the coffin to the church—another 1 ½ hour drive.
At the church, officials initially refused to allow the body to be brought in but finally allowed it to be taken to the children’s area. The corpse brought in the upper room and laid out on a table. The head pastor’s son, Pastor Paul, Jr., and another pastor on the church staff, attended to this and found rigor mortis had stiffened the limbs.
Two other staff pastors, Lawrence and Luke joined them to guard the body. Meanwhile Reinhard Bonnke knew nothing of this and was preaching and praying upstairs in the main auditorium. After a while the pastors noticed a slight twitching of the stomach of the corpse.
Then the corpse drew a breath, and presently irregular breathing took place in “short bursts” as they reported. Encouraged, the pastors threw themselves into powerful petitionary prayer, They asked for fans to be brought in to give Daniel more air to breathe. As this news broke out in the sanctuary above it created hysterical pandemonium. Then, said Pastor Lawrence, at 5:15 on the Sunday afternoon, nearly two days after death had taken place, Daniel opened his eyes, sat up and leaned on Pastor Lawrence.
The once-dead man not only rose from his coffin but the serious injuries, which had brought about his death, were also healed without the slightest trace.
In this photo, Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu examines his own death certificate. He lives and breathes and minister’s today, a testimony of the healing and resurrection power of his Lord Jesus Christ. (Info available on Reinhardt Bonke’s website http://www.cfan.org/%7BEnglish-Intl%7D/%5BSouthAfrica_Site%5D/content.asp?id=0000188&page=01 )
Does God still perform miracles? You bet He does. And I believe He does it today in the same way and according to the same standards, if you will, that he did in Matthew. So I’d like to look at this passage today and consider together How does Jesus heal--and there are four things I’d like to note in particular. The first is that Jesus heals according to His own...
vv. 2-3 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
What does the leper understand here that’s also important for us to understand? That Jesus acts on his own prerogative. The choice to heal is his, "If you are willing you can make me clean."
There are some who say that health and healing are the prerogative of the believer, that we can insist that God provide us with these benefits because they are our due.
The problem is I never see that attitude displayed among those who come to Jesus for healing, they come asking, hoping, praying, believing, sometimes even begging but never demanding.
I think this man with Leprosy displays the perfect attitude in coming to Jesus--Lord I know you’re able to do this--will you?