|Raphael, 'The Healing of the Lame Man'|
Another passage in Scripture deals with the same issue. In the book of Acts, Luke writes about Peter and John going to the Temple and walking by a lame man who was begging outside (Acts 3 and 4). Peter speaks to the man: "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! (Acts 3:6). Instantly, the man was able to walk, and he began to leap and praise God. This created quite a stir in the temple, and people gathered around. Peter used this opportunity to address the crowd and preach the Gospel message. However, as he was speaking, the priests, temple guards and Sadducees came and took both Peter and John to jail. The next day they were brought before the high priest and elders who asked them: "By what power or by what name did you do this? (Acts 4:7b). Peter boldly proclaimed the power of Christ and made it clear to the rulers: "And there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
These assembled rulers were surprised that men who were not educated could speak so clearly and they realized that they had been with Jesus. In fact, the man they had healed was standing next to them, and scripture tells us: "But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition" (Acts 4:14). Don't you just love it? Here they had clear evidence by this healed man that a miracle had taken place. What could they say? They knew that those in the temple in Jerusalem had witnessed this as well. However, they did not want this belief in Christ to spread so they charged Peter and John not to speak or teach about Jesus. Naturally, Peter told these leaders that he was only telling of what he had witnessed. He would not nor could not stop preaching about what he had seen.
Within this passage of scripture, we see once again that even when reasonable, intelligent people are presented with something which they cannot explain (a miracle) and they are even told the story of Jesus Christ, yet they still resisted believing in Him. Signs and wonders do not lead people to Christ. Rather, it is the power of the Holy Spirit that quickens the soul breathing life into the dead heart. Then, the person can hear and believe the message of God. We call this act regeneration.
When we are dead in our sins, we cannot respond to the call of Christ because we have no ability to do so. Just as someone who is physically dead cannot speak, move, or hear; so a person who is spiritually dead cannot respond to God. It takes an action by the Holy Spirit to awaken us from the death like slumber so we can hear and respond to the Gospel.
We must remember that signs and wonders do not make a person believe - even Jesus knew that. Belief comes when the Gospel is preached and shared in faith to a heart already prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive it. May we follow Peter's example and preach in season and out of season to any and all that the Lord will receive all the glory. Selah!
How did you come to know Christ as your Lord and Savior? Please share your thoughts here. I welcome them.