“The Jesus Miracle-Model of Evangelism” by Garris Elkins

by | Jun 1, 2012 | Church, Evangelism, Healing, Kingdom of God, Miracles | 0 comments

Our primary model for how to do anything is Jesus.  He is our example for how to love. He is our
model for leadership.  And He is our
method of evangelism.  Whenever you need
to find a way to do anything – go to Jesus first and find out how He did it.

I enjoy reading Mark’s gospel account. The Gospel of Mark is
a short and compressed revelation of how Jesus ministered.  Mark is to the point.  When I need a quick infusion of the bare
essentials of Jesus life and ministry, I find myself reading Mark.  His writing is like a refreshing swim on a
hot day.

In the first chapter of Mark, the people of Capernaum were
listening to Jesus teach in the synagogue on the Sabbath.  Verse 22 says, “The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real
authority – quite unlike the teachers of religious law.”

The people of Capernaum came to this conclusion because they
saw the difference between a teacher who simply shares facts (the Pharisees)
and Jesus who shared revelatory truth from the Father.  The difference between these two forms of
teaching is vast. Jesus revealed to His listeners what the Father had just
revealed to Him in the moment – it was fresh revelation that brought freedom.  The Pharisees, on the other hand, shared
facts about the past and placed impossible burdens on people.

In verse 23 a demon-possessed man suddenly appeared in the
synagogue and began shouting.  Jesus cut
the demon short and said, “Be quiet! Come
out of the man.”
With those words the evil spirit screamed, threw the man
into a convulsion, and came out.  You can
almost sense the quiet and stillness in the synagogue in those moments
immediately following this man’s deliverance as people were asking themselves
the question, “What just happened?”

The break in the silence came in verse 27 with the people
excitingly asking this question, “What
sort of new teaching is this? – It has such authority!”
The news of this
event launched out from the synagogue and began to spread throughout the entire
region of Galilee.

What caught my attention was verse 22 where we are told the
people were amazed at His teaching.  This
amazement of the people could be interpreted through the lens of our Western
concept of academic authority.  In our
culture good teaching is seen as the result of diligent study and preparation
of factual data presented within a logical development and delivered in an
engaging form of communication.  You
could come to that conclusion if verse 22 was pulled out of context.

However, moments after the demon-possessed man was set free
by the command of Jesus, we are given the fuller understanding of how the
people that day understood “teaching with authority”. The question in verse 27
reveals the answer for us, “What sort of
new teaching is this? they asked excitedly. It has such authority. Even evil
spirits obey his orders!”

For the people in the synagogue, real authority in teaching was
linked to the demonstration of what was being taught.  To these people, teaching without demonstration
lacked authority.  It was in the
demonstration of God’s truth that the authority of Christ was released to do
what would be impossible to accomplish without God’s power.  

As soon as the deliverance of the demon-possessed man took
place the news about Jesus “spread
quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.”
(Mark 1:28) As this news
circulated throughout the region of Galilee the testimony functioned like a net
gathering the sick and demon-possessed of that region and bringing them to Jesus.

Mark 1:32 states, “That
evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to
Jesus. The whole town gathered at the door to watch.”

Embedded in this verse is a concept for evangelism that
applies to the Church today. The only way that entire cities – “the whole town” – will show up is when
Jesus is allowed to teach and demonstrate His truth through us. The Gospel
message includes the release of supernatural activity in the form of signs,
wonders and miracles.  Our cities will not
show up at our doorstep if we are teaching well-crafted messages alone without the
actual demonstration of what we just taught. 

People have always come to see what God was doing. On the
Day of Pentecost the people of the city of Jerusalem came to that outpouring to
see what was taking place. Acts 2:6 tells us, “When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running…”

I think the Church today is rediscovering how to love and
serve their cities.  We need to get out
of our church buildings and engage our communities with God’s love. This is
good, but people don’t usually come running to see something we are doing that
a service club can accomplish without God’s help.  These acts of kindness are wonderful, but
they are not what happened in the Gospel accounts. The people in the book of Mark
came running to see something that could never be accomplished by the best of
our good works.  They came running
because they heard that Jesus was healing the sick and setting the
demon-possessed free. They came running to see the Kingdom of God taking place
on earth.

Right after the events of Mark1, chapter 2 opens up with
four men tearing open the roof of a house and lowering a paralyzed friend through
the opening into a crowded living room where Jesus was waiting. The first words
out of Jesus’ mouth were, “My child, your
sins are forgiven.”
The teachers of religious law got upset with Jesus and
questioned His authority to forgive sins. Jesus went on to say in verse 10, “’So, I will prove to you that the Son of
Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the
paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.’”
It was
a dramatic miracle in front of stunned onlookers.

As I
read this account, the linkage between healing and evangelism is
obvious.   The forgiving of the paralyzed man’s sins, and his
subsequent healing, would dramatically change the environment of the entire
region.

Healing linked to evangelism was a reoccurring theme in the
ministry of Jesus.  The majority of the people
in our communities will only be reached when something supernatural begins to
interrupt the flow of their naturally limited lives. Good works alone can never
do this.

The room that day was crowded, not because a good teacher
was conducting a Bible Study.  The room was
crowded because as soon as the demon-possessed man from Mark 1 was set free, “The man went and spread the word,
proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon
surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to
stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to
him.”
The healed man, and the testimony about his miracle, spread throughout
the area announcing that Jesus was in town.

When Jesus told us in the Great Commission of Matthew 28 to
go and make disciples, He said those words right after the sentence in verse 18
where He declared, “I have been given all
authority in heaven and on earth.”

The authority Jesus was given was for purposes beyond
teaching a memorable message.  This is
the same authority that demanded a demon to come out of a possessed man and it
is the same authority that healed a paralyzed man allowing him to jump up, pick
up his mat and walk back home through the stunned crowd who had gathered to see
the demonstration of Christ’s authority.

While the Church rediscovers the joy of going out and doing acts
of love in our communities, it is important to not forget that people will only
come running to see what’s happening when something supernatural is taking
place in their midst. Our acts of service are only intended to be vehicles that
bring us into contact with broken people who need a miracle. Miracles are what
Jesus used to evangelize the world in His day and they are what God wants to
use to expand His Kingdom in our world today.

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