As I was reflecting on the virgin birth and God's miracle power last week, I was reminded of a miracle I witnessed several years ago while ministering in a church in Brazil.
To recap, an unsaved woman, who had never been in a church before, felt compelled to come into the service as she was walking by the church. She observed the worship, heard my translated message and heard me share a few words of knowledge about healing God wanted to do. One of the words was quite simple: "Someone here has a problem with a left ear."
It turns out that this woman, who had never heard the gospel message about Jesus and had never been in a church service, was also born with a deaf left ear, but she could hear normally out of her right ear. When I gave the word about a problem with the left ear, immediately her left ear opened, and she could hear out of it!
Her healing shocked her, and she came forward to share what happened. Someone even captured the moment on video. This woman was miraculously healed by God the moment I simply shared what God wanted to do—heal a problem with a left ear. God is the God of the impossible today—do not ever doubt that. Over the years, I have observed many healings and miracles; the skeptics doubt, but I can personally attest that Jesus is still performing miracles today.
Elizabeth and John Discern Jesus
Notice Luke 1:35-56 (NKJV):
And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible."
Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
And Mary said:
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever."
And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
The angel promises Mary that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, she will conceive Jesus and give birth to the Messiah.
He promises that the Holy Spirit will "overshadow" Mary, and she will conceive (Luke 1:35).
Mary responds, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Mary, in essence, says, "Here I am Lord, use me, and let your promise come to pass according to your word!"
Mary believed the "now word", or rhḗma word from God. This word was active and alive with potential because it was from God. Paul shares an important truth about faith in his letter to the Romans,
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word [rhḗma] of God" (Rom. 10:17).
The Greek for "word" in this verse is rhḗma, which means "that which is said or spoken, an active word, a happening to which one may refer—'matter, thing, event.' Faith often develops from an active word that causes a manifestation or event.
Literally, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary like a glory cloud. The very glory, or presence of God, that rested on the ark and caused Moses' face to shine, that we read about throughout Scripture, came upon Mary and deposited the divine seed of the Son of God in her womb. The incarnation is not understood with human reasoning, logic or senses. Only by the Spirit can we understand!
This miraculous event demonstrates two fundamentals of our Christian faith: the virgin conceived by God's power and Spirit and the resurrection occurred by God's power and Spirit.
This confounds unbelievers, as many reject the idea of God and miracles. Former editor of Charisma Magazine, Lee Grady, previously wrote about the importance of the virgin birth. He mentioned that Thomas Jefferson called the virgin birth a fable. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins called the miracles of the Bible "religious propaganda." Physicist Stephen Hawking, who passed in 2018, rejected the possibility of miracles.
So did 19th-century enlightenment era philosopher David Hume. Working in a deductive circle, he argued based on experience miracles do not happen. Yet he dismissed credible eyewitness testimony for miracles based on his assumption that miracles do not happen. I discuss this prevalent anti-supernatural bias in our modern culture in my book Receive Your Miracle Now: A Case for Healing Today.
As I shared about the deaf ear miracle above, many can hear these types of miracle stories and still doubt they occurred because they simply do not believe in God or in miracles.
But as we read in Luke's Gospel about the virgin birth, Elizabeth, by the Holy Spirit, could see and discern Mary was with child. Being empowered by the Spirit, she begins to prophesy about Jesus. Even John, in her womb leaps as Mary enters—the Holy Spirit upon him as promised!
We see in this part of the story of Christ's birth an example of how faith sees, or discerns, the unseen. In this case, both the natural reality of a child in the womb and the eternal promise of God the Messiah growing within Mary.
Real Faith Operates in the Unseen Realm
The seen realm—that which we understand with our senses and circumstances—is temporary, not eternal. Therefore, Paul could boldly say in 2 Corinthians 5:7, "the just shall live by faith."
Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians an important truth regarding the unseen world and the role the Holy Spirit plays in revelation to us:
"But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:9-10).
Bob Sawvelle is the founding and senior leader of Passion Church in Tucson, Arizona. Passion Church is a vibrant, kingdom-minded church in the heart of Tucson that values God's love and presence. He is a doctor of ministry doctoral mentor for the Randy Clark Scholars cohort at United Theological Seminary, an adjunct professor teaching master's-level classes in evangelism, discipleship and church planting with the Global Awakening Theological Seminary and an online course facilitator for Global Awakening's Christian Healing Certification Program and Christian Prophetic Certification Program.
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