“Until there is commitment, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back...the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred...Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power in it. Begin it now!”
– Attrib. to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A few years ago, when “America’s Got Talent” was in its heyday, Howie Mandel invited Anna Graceman onto the stage during auditions. Anna Graceman was all of eleven and dressed to the nines. Her sandy blonde hair was carefully styled. She wore a white satin sash and squeaky clean Sunday shoes that looked like they might have been bought yesterday from Stride Rite.
She clasped the microphone with both hands! “Hi!” And beamed a little girl beam. Howie smiled back, a kindly sort of smile. His eyes softened and crinkled in between his earrings, and he asked her how old she was.
“I'm eleven.” She sounded just like you would imagine a field mouse might.
“Oh, wow!” said Howie, in his kindest, most grandfatherish sort of voice. “And what will you be doing for us today?”
“I’m going to be performing Alicia Keys’ song, ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’”
It was a bold idea for a girl of eleven - Alicia Keys - but she took her place behind the keyboard, over which she could hardly see. And she began...
“Some people live for the fortune... Some people live just for the fame...”
And wouldn’t you know, that field mouse could sing. But no, like, she could really sing...like, if I closed my eyes, I-could-have-sworn-it- was-Alicia-Keys-herself could sing, fingers flowing quick, like water, over the keyboard, voice belting out soul and power from somewhere deep within. It was as if Alicia Keys had wrapped her voice in a box and handed it over to the little girl to use herself.
And it’s Anna Graceman kinda people that Jesus chose to be his disciples. Jesus has chosen his friends - his disciples - carefully, from the highways and byways. He’s picked working men, humble men. They were not the best trained, the most highly educated, the most qualified or celebrated types of men. They were field mice in Stride Rite shoes.
And yet in this passage, it’s as if he’s wrapping his power in a box and handing it over to his disciples to use themselves, to do the very things that he could do, to belt out soul and power from somewhere deep within.
It’s one thing to be in the presence of someone’s power and quite another to have that person’s power inside of you.
The marks of the Messiah had been clearly anticipated. When the Messiah comes to save us all, said the Prophet Isaiah, you will recognize him by these signs:
The blind will receive sight, the lame will walk, those who have leprosy will be cleansed, the deaf will hear, the dead will be raised, and the good news will be proclaimed to the poor.
These were markers that would have been burned on the memory of every little girl and every little boy, and these young men would have known them by heart. And so, as Jesus commissions his disciples, he does not merely invite them to be in his presence. He empowers them to do the very things the Messiah can do, to belt out soul and power from somewhere deep within, as if God himself has wrapped up his power in a box and handed it over to those who love him.
Preach good news. Heal the sick, he says, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.
Be agents of healing on Christ's behalf.
Do the work of the Messiah yourselves.
And when we live into this Messiah mission too, when we see the miracles done right in front of our eyes, when we let the promises and prophecies jump out at us like they were intended to, we’ll experience life in all its fullness as people empowered from somewhere deep within. Because when the Church comes together to do the work of the Messiah, Jesus says we’ll be able to do even greater things than he did.
Pastor Brynn Harrington
Today, how can you join into the mission of the Messiah to bring healing and restoration to those around you? What does it mean to you to be empowered to do the work of Christ? How will that influence how you live today?
Take a moment of silence and lift up those that are in need of healing and restoration that came to your mind. Ask God to intervene in their lives and what (if at all) your place is in that.
We often eat or are fed soup when we are feeling sick or under the weather. Today, have a bowl of soup as one of your meals and remember that Jesus is at work, right now, healing us from the inside out.
Pastor Aaron Engler
- Illustration from Rob Bell's "1 John 2:26-27"
- Is. 35:1-10; Ps. 146:5-10.
- Jn. 14:12