Did you know that miracles still happen? Before I tell you about the miracles I’ve witnessed, let me tell you about the 3,000 miracles that occurred about 2,000 years ago in Acts 2.
It was just fifty days after Jesus had died and only ten days after he ascended to heaven. The disciples were all in one room when a noise like that of a strong wind was heard and then there appeared to be tongues of fire resting on their heads. They were filled with the holy spirit and began praising God.
Meanwhile, people in the neighborhood, which was comprised of many different cultures, were walking past the house to the temple and heard this wind and then the voices. But the odd thing was they heard and understood what was being said in their own different native tongues! This was like the reversal of the Tower of Babel! They were astounded. Some thought the disciples were drunk, so Peter said, “It’s only 9 in the morning! They’re not drunk! What you’re witnessing is prophesy being fulfilled! Joel said that in the last days the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all peoples!”
Then Peter told these neighbors all about Jesus and they listened.
Now these are the ones who had called Jesus a blasphemer when he told hurting people their sins were forgiven and their sicknesses healed. These are the ones who had called for Jesus’ death. But the Holy Spirit was performing a miracle in each person and they began to realize the gravity of just what they had done–they were the reason the Son of God had been put to death! They were full of remorse and were heartsick.
They asked Peter, “What should we do?” He told them, “Change and be baptized because you have been forgiven of your sins and you will receive the holy spirit.” In their case, what these law-abiding Jews needed to change was the way they viewed Jesus. Three thousand people responded and were baptized.
This occurred on Pentecost, an annual Jewish holy day celebrating the physical grain harvest.
I’ve witnessed miracles too . . .
Over the past couple of issues, I’ve mentioned Jayden, our ten-year-old great nephew.
Jayden spent many weekends and school breaks in our home this past year while his military dad was deployed and his mom worked. Every evening he spent with us would end with a bed-time Bible story and prayer.
Early on it became quite obvious that a miracle was taking place because he was so eager to hear about Jesus and his understanding of the gospel was growing by leaps and bounds. One evening, I read to Jayden the story of Nathanael (from John 1:43-51). Nathanael wasn’t all that impressed with Jesus at first (because Jesus was from Nazareth), but when Jesus revealed something about Nathanael that Jesus could only have known divinely, Nathanael believed that Jesus truly was the Son of God. Jesus responded, “You believe I am the Son of God only because I told you things I couldn’t have known otherwise.”
Jayden then quietly said, “I believe.”
I said, “What did you say?”
Again, Jayden said, “I believe. I really do believe.” I was struck with awe and made a mental note to remember the details of this moment.
On another occasion, Jayden asked, “So good people go to heaven and bad people go down there? [pointing down]” After I explained that it’s not about our goodness, it’s about God’s goodness, Jayden said, “So when are we going to do that water thing?” Again, I was amazed and made a note to myself to remember every detail.
The Holy Spirit had opened Jayden’s eyes and ears—a miracle. Jayden listened and responded.
After his dad returned from deployment, his mom asked that the baptism take place on the three-day holiday weekend the end of May so that his grandparents could attend. Although Jayden’s mom did not know this was Pentecost, it was the most perfect time for a baptism!
While we were making plans for Jayden’s baptism, my dear friend and proofreader, Sue, told me that her daughter, Kayla, and son-in-law, Kevin, wanted to be baptized as well!
Kayla told me that as early as she could remember she’s wanted to be baptized “but never had the courage for some reason.”
Her husband Kevin had also been thinking about baptism after a conversation at work. Both Kayla and Kevin had grown up in the church. For Kevin it was his children who helped him understand the unconditional love that God has for us.
The Holy Spirit had been working with Kayla and Kevin all of these years—another miracle. They listened and responded.
Hearing of the plans to baptize Jayden made Kayla realize that the perfect time to be baptized, with her husband, was now! She said, “I knew there was a reason it has taken me so long–God’s timing is always perfect, isn’t it!”
So on a perfect day, with blue skies and the sunshine creating diamonds on Kentucky Lake, on the same day approximately two thousand years ago that we read about in Acts 2 when at least three thousand believers of Jesus were baptized, three more children were added to God’s flock.
What made these three individuals decide to be baptized, to decide to publicly confess their belief in the Father, Son and Spirit? There was no dramatic lightning-strike moment. There was no severe trial that forced them to reach out to God for help. For each of them, all they did was listen as they were taught about Jesus. For Kayla and Kevin it was hearing about Jesus in Sunday school their entire childhood. For Jayden it was our nightly ritual. They listened and responded. And we observers get to witness the miracle of God bestowing belief and faith (1 Corinthians 12:9) via the Holy Spirit. Let’s thank God He does it all and all we do is listen and respond.
If you know God is your creator, if you believe Jesus is the Son of God, if you want what God has to offer, what are you waiting on? Be like Kayla, Kevin and Jayden. Be like the three thousand people of Acts 2 who said in anguish after hearing all about Jesus, the one whom they had crucified, “What should we do?”
The answer was and still is, “Change [the way you’ve thought of Jesus as just a man—he’s the real deal] and be baptized.”