The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to the evil spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. Mark 1:27–28
A few years ago, over 2,000 ministers and laity gathered in Springfield, Missouri, for an annual Assemblies of God Prayer Summit. At that meeting, we experienced once again the living authority of Jesus.
In a morning session devoted exclusively to prayer, a request was made for a young pioneering pastor who had spent the previous twelve days in a coma. A virus had attacked his brain, leaving a damaged area the size of a pecan. That morning his father had emailed me saying the doctors had detected bleeding in that area. The son’s situation was critical. No one knew whether he would live, and if he did live whether he would be physically or mentally impaired.
His wife was expecting their first child in a few weeks, and he had no health insurance.
We all went to prayer. After a time of intercession, a man stood and began groaning loudly. At first, it sounded inappropriate—but as he called out from his depths to God, the congregation began weeping in intercession. Then the noise of several thousand saints praying rose to a crescendo. I sensed immediately in my spirit that something had happened in the heavens. You could feel it in the room—healing had gone forth.
Within hours, the father called me and told me the bleeding had stopped. Six days later, this young church planter was sitting up in his hospital bed, using his computer. Two weeks and four days after we prayed, he attended the Easter service at his small but growing church.
Another pastor in that Prayer Summit felt his heart warmed as with a heating pad and knew he was being healed. A nuclear stress test taken a week earlier had revealed no activity in a portion of his heart. After the Prayer Summit, he was re-examined and his heart was completely well.
I reflect on these healings and the reaction of the Capernaum synagogue folk to the deliverance Jesus brought to the demoniac in their midst.
There are some things only the Lord can do. It is vital that we, His people, recognize that.
It is so easy to settle into the routine of going through a church service or even our own personal devotions. If we just trip through the motions, there will never be amazement. But when we throw our hearts wide open to the ministry of Jesus, wonderful things happen.
The reaction at Capernaum came in response not only to what Jesus did but to what He said. They were amazed at His teaching. Jesus certainly never bored people; He spoke with vitality. He never preached just to give information; He spoke to change hearts.
When words and deeds combine to communicate the love and power of God authentically, the news will always “spread quickly over the whole region.” What happened in Capernaum became known throughout all Galilee. If the reality of the Lord’s presence becomes known in any one place—large or small, obscure or at the crossroads—the good news will get out.
A Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I never take You for granted. May I never skim over Your words as if they were those of any ordinary person. May I always be amazed at what You say and what You do.
Excerpted from Dr. Wood’s forthcoming book, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything, available in September from Vital Resources.