A Trail to Follow
by Eitan Shishkoff, Executive Director, Tents of Mercy Network
Let's face it. We all want to see God move in miraculous ways. After all, wasn't that Yeshua's calling card? Wasn't that the apostles' validation of the gospel message? And what about the prophets of Israel? Didn't they portend the outpouring of the Spirit with signs and wonders in the last days, leading up to the long-awaited return of our Messiah King?
I believe the answer to all these questions is YES. But other questions arise. How can it happen today? How can it happen in Eretz Yisrael, where skepticism regarding the possibility of Yeshua being the Messiah is still the norm? Is there a guide book, an instruction manual?
Reading Acts chapter five this morning I was caught off guard by the straightforward account of signs and wonders being done through the hands of the apostles (Acts 5:12). I began to search for clues that would point to the conditions leading to such a powerful and effective demonstration. Here are a few markers that I found in the account of how Yeshua's faithful disciples lived in this land - that give us an unmistakable trail to follow.
Miracles in Acts: Some Factors
They were in the temple compound "in one accord" (Acts 5:12). This theme is seen often in Acts. The Author is telling us something. He releases His wonder-working power when we rise above our insecurities, offenses, and personality quirks to unite as one in His heart.
High esteem from the locals (Acts 5:13):
It's certainly not that we are to seek popularity, but I read this as relevance. The apostles made a positive impression on the Jerusalemites, who were likely tired of religion and hungry for reality. This is a timely cue for us, especially in Israel where religiosity is ever-visible.
Compassion for those suffering (Acts 5:15-16):
The sick were brought into the streets, and people came from the surrounding cities with those who were diseased and tormented by demonic spirits. "... and they were all healed." This knocks me out. No wonder the early believers saw such a dramatic harvest.
They freely proclaimed Yeshua as "Prince and Savior" (Acts 5:31):
This is what they were persecuted for doing, forbidden from doing, yet continued to do. Placing Yeshua front and center is not some formula. It is the holy calling we've been given. Teaching in His name was central throughout the Acts epoch. We cannot improve on what they did, nor uncover a superior key to releasing the acts of God's heart. Our people must know that we are following the Rabbi from the Galilee who literally fulfilled what the prophets said about Him many centuries before.
Multitudes of believers were increasingly added to the Lord (Acts 5:14), as the outcome of God's healing, liberating activity among the people of Israel in the first century. Now, 20 centuries later, it is time for the re-activation, the re-awakening of the same in-breaking. Recently during a Shabbat worship service a young leader began declaring what God wanted to do in the lives of people who are hurting, discouraged, sick, or finding themselves in a dark place. Instead of shifting to the next, normal portion of the service, we were invited to wait upon God and to take action. People began standing up. Some came forward for prayer. Others left their seats to pray for those nearby. The presence and love of the Lord were palpable. One Israeli first-time visitor repented and received Yeshua while all this continued. I wept, experiencing the overwhelming care and intense compassion of the Savior for His flock.
In Israel we long for the expanded, authentic activity of God's Spirit - healing, delivering, and transforming lives in the name of Yeshua the Anointed King. In fact, knowing that the Lord's announced intention is to manifest Himself in this land before His visible return, leaves us satisfied with nothing less. As is also clear in Acts, one of the keys to opening these gates of God's activity on earth is prayer. So, I cannot conclude this article without asking you to actively, frequently agree with us:
"Father, you promised to graciously pour out Your Spirit so that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:28,32). We give ourselves wholly to You, opening our lives that Yeshua may live freely through us, taking us into His realm of supernatural love, touching and changing the people we encounter."