Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Thought--Miracles

Just wanted to take a minute to affirm my belief in, and express my gratitude for, miracles.

I have witnessed two significant miracles during the past two months. The first was a little neighbor girl who went into heart failure on a family trip in San Diego. They had to hook her up to a heart/lung machine and were thinking the only option was a heart transplant. Following a priesthood blessing and a ward fast, she recovered miraculously. Her mother indicated she began improving markedly the morning after our ward met to start our 24 hour fast.

The second was my Brother-in-law who went into a diabetic coma one night a few weeks ago. My sister couldn't revive him and neither could the paramedics nor the doctors at the hospital--even after they were able to restore his blood sugar to normal levels. They declared him brain dead after running a series of tests and my sister made the decision to remove him from life support. His father gave him a blessing. Not long after the breathing tube was removed he began to recover. He was released from the hospital a few days later.

When I think of these miracles, I am reminded of one of the greatest miracles ever recorded. On His final journey to Jerusalem, the Savior was requested to come to Bethany by His friends Mary and Martha because their brother was sick and dying. Prior to this event, Jesus had performed many miracles, but the majority of healings seemed to have been performed in relative obscurity, away from the general public. This healing was not to be kept quiet, but was intended by the Savior to be seen by a multitude of people as final proof of His Divine calling. Jesus didn't hurry to Bethany, but purposefully took his time—in an effort to remove any doubts about whether Lazarus had truly died. By the time he arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. This was long enough to begin the process of decomposition. The sisters were in mourning and questioned why Jesus hadn’t hurried to Bethany, knowing if he would have arrived sooner, he could have prevented their brother from dying.

With a multitude of Jews present as witnesses, Jesus requested the stone be removed from Lazarus' tomb. He then offered a short prayer to His Father in Heaven and then cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth".

His Master thus commanding, Lazarus obeyed. His Spirit re-entered his body, and "he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes".

Many of the witnesses now believed. Some of the others reported the event to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said, "What do we? for this man doeth many miracles....Then from that day forth, they took counsel together for to put him to death."

This authority to act in the name of God was passed by Jesus to Peter. A separate New Testament account some time after Jesus’ resurrection tells of Peter and John passing a beggar, who had been lame since birth, outside the gate of the temple. His request for money from the two apostles was met with the following response from Peter, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter helped him to his feet, his limbs received strength and he was able to walk.

I am grateful to know that this same power, by which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and Peter healed the lame beggar, was restored to the earth by Peter himself. The authority to perform miracles in His sacred name is on the earth today and these same types of miracles occur daily. One such miracle allowed me to grow up with a dad. For this I am grateful.

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