Raising The Dead

Read: Mark 5

While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” (Mark 5:35-36)

A few years ago, a young man came to me, asking for prayer that God would give him the faith to raise the dead. It wasn’t a general request, mind you; it was to raise a friend of a friend who had just died.

I faced a moment of awkwardness. I do believe that the dead can be raised. Jesus said we would do the works he did, and even greater works—and in my mind,  raising the dead certain hovers somewhere near the top. I have read about the dead being raised throughout the history of Christianity. I have heard missionaries tell stories of the dead being raised on foreign fields. In my work in Ethiopia, I have interviewed church leaders who have actually raised the dead. In fact, there are reports of the dead being raised in that country to the tune of about one every twenty-four hour period.

While I suspect more Biblical authorities today would question what I have just said than what would accept it, I have no doubts whatsoever about the validity of such testimonies.  Yet as that sincere young man stood before me with his request, I struggled with how to pray. Did I really believe God could use him to raise the dead? Do I believe that resurrections are for everywhere else but America? Do I believe in it theoretically, but not in reality?

I suspect that the young man, and the others who were engaged in the conversation, sensed my hesitancy. In the seconds that passed, I faced a crisis of belief. But in that moment, the conviction of the Holy Spirit won out, and I said to him, “Yes, I will pray for you. If the dead were raised by New Testament Christians, then we ought to expect that God can use us 21st century American believers to raise the dead too!”

Do you believe that’s possible? Not just in theory, but in reality, right here, right now, in the good ol’ US of A? I completely understand if you hesitate—that’s what I did. Yet Jesus’ words to Jairus nearly two thousand years ago are for you and me today: Don’t be afraid; only believe.

Who knows—maybe one of us just crazy enough to believe will actually raise the dead one of these days. I sure hope so!

“The question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. And our senses are not infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.” ~C.S. Lewis

What If God Took Over?

If you dare, try praying this future dead-raisers’ prayer: “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.  Let me see your miracles—even the dead being raised here in America—in my generation.”

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