I received an email recently from a friend, asking that my wife and I join her in prayer for a needed miracle.
We have known her since college days and were surprised to hear from her last summer that she had been diagnosed with cancer. She was about to begin chemotherapy treatments at that time and asked for our prayers.
But the message recently was a cry for help. At the time of writing, she has one more chemo treatment and then a PET (positron emission tomography) scan after Christmas so the doctors can decide on her next option. She said, "I am needing a miracle."
Have you been there? Your natural options are used up, and the only solution has to be a supernatural action from God Himself.
For Christ-followers, the reality is something like the Apostle Paul's when he said,
"For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor to me. Yet I do not know what I shall choose. I am in a difficult position between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake" (Phil. 1:21-24).
In the face of those realities, I continue to be encouraged when I read that "Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people" (Matt. 9:35).
There is something powerful in the "good news" of the "kingdom" which precedes the healing of sicknesses and diseases. I suggest this powerful reality is wrapped up in our better understanding that word, "kingdom."
You see, the kingdom of God exists everywhere the King is. For now, Christ's kingdom is "not of this world." Rather, the Gospels reveal that:
- John the Baptist taught that "... the kingdom of God is at hand." (Matt. 3:2). It is as real as something we could reach out and touch.
- Jesus taught that "it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32), for "remember, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21b). It is a parallel reality that is transitioning from a spiritual truth to a physical force and ruling authority.
- Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "[May] Your kingdom come; Tour will be done on earth, as it is in heaven" (See Matt. 6:10).
King Jesus proclaimed the good news that His authority and reign will eventually rule over every evil thing, including "every sickness and every disease." God invites us to accept the gift of his Son's redemptive work on the cross and then to partner with him (Luke 19:13) in eternal kingdom business—until he returns to establish his physical rule on earth.
Finally, at this season, we are reminded that King Jesus is called Immanuel, meaning "God with us." He is in our midst and able to heal every sickness and disease. He is able to restore broken relationships and mend broken hearts.
That is the "good news of the Kingdom," which Jesus taught and we proclaim as we enter the new year. He is our only hope and the source for meeting every need!
This new year, I invite you to "...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).
Ordained to the ministry in 1969, Gary Curtis is a graduate of LIFE Bible College at Los Angeles (soon to become Life Pacific University at San Dimas, CA). He has taken graduate courses at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. Gary served as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California, for 27 years (1988-2015), the last 13 years as the Vice President of Life On The Way Communications, Inc., the church's not-for-profit media outreach. Now retired, Gary and his wife have been married for 50 years and live in southern California. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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