This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Dr. Raymond Hylton,
FPCE senior pastor.
I hope your week is going well and you are finding space to be present to God’s presence in your life during Lent.
In this time, let me offer two passages of Scripture that drive my daily prayer life.
Here’s one—which we will read in Sunday’s worship gathering: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
Here’s the second one: Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
Before Jesus returned to his Father, he wanted his followers to know that his work doesn’t end because he is leaving. How do we know that?
In Matthew’s gospel, he reminds his disciples, All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth, therefore go and make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19)
In John’s gospel, Jesus says, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you and then he breathed on his fearful disciples and said, receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22).
In Luke, Jesus says, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so, stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49). Power to do what? To present Jesus’s kingdom to a hurting world.
In his humanity, Jesus did not, and could not, preach, teach, and heal every single person. He was limited to the people of Israel, and he had a limited time in which to fulfill the mission of God.
Theologically and practically, I believe that the gifts of healing through the ministration of the Holy Spirit are for today. The gifts of the Spirit didn’t cease at the end of the first century or the beginning of the second century. God’s time isn’t measured in mere moments like that, and it never ends.
As a sign that the Kingdom of God is breaking into the world, Jesus did three things that the apostles continued, and he expects the Church, in all ages, to continue doing until he returns:
Can I tell you something? Long before I became a pastor (I was a teenager), I practiced these three powerful activities. Teaching, proclaiming, and healing are abilities that the Holy Spirit gives us power to do beyond the four walls of our church.
I yearn for the fulfillment of these Scriptures in my life every day. Just as in Jesus’s day, and in the days of the Apostles, people are hurting and suffering from physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational challenges.
I meditate and pray on these passages because they remind me that meeting these needs requires supernatural power — power that I don’t possess innately. Jesus is looking for people like you and me to bring healing to others through His power.
Please join me in praying that our congregation, throughout the North Shore and greater Chicago, would be people filled with the Spirit, filled with the compassionate heart of Jesus, filled with the desire to see the Good News of God’s Kingdom breaking into all people’s life.
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Lent AND it is Communion Sunday. I hope you will join us in person, or online, as I try to expand on Jesus’s healing ministry from Matthew’s Gospel. And invite all to join together at the table of the Lord’s Communion Feast.
Pastor Ray Hylton