Everyone loves a good story. We love to hear a good story, and in my case, I love to tell a good story.
Most people like to hear or tell a good sports story. One of my favorites is the story of the United States 1980 Olympic hockey team. Many of you have listened to the story or seen the movie “Miracle,” starring Kurt Russel as head coach Herb Brooks.
It’s a fun story because, well, we, the U.S.A. hockey team, wins, and the Soviet Union team loses. (In 1980, Russia was still part of the Soviet Union, for the stories purpose, I’ll refer to them as the Russian team) It takes place during the winter Olympics of 1980. Just two weeks before the games, the American team had played one of their many exhibition games at Madison Square Gardens in New York. They were blown out by the Russian team by a score of 10-3.
Then just two weeks later, the same two teams meet again in the medal round of the Olympics. Some call it the most intense hockey game of all time. (As I’m writing this story down, I have tears in my eyes because I watched the game live on television. To this day, I still get misty talking about it.)
After three periods of hitting, checking, scoring, and nail-biting by almost every American in the country, team U.S.A. was ahead 4 goals to 3. Then with 10 seconds left and the clock counting down in the game, commentator Al Michaels said six words that will forever be remembered.
“Do you believe in miracles? YES!”
The United States Hockey team, a group of college students, had beaten the mighty undefeated Russian squad. The chants had been heard throughout the game, but now they were louder than ever. U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.
Hearing and telling stories are fun, and it connects us to others. Yet we often neglect to share the most important stories of all, the Biblical accounts of Jesus.
As Christians, it is our calling to tell the story of Jesus to others.
In the first chapter of my book, “Adventures in Youth Ministry,” I discuss how to get the Bible story across to students. It’s through stories. It can be personal stories that tie into a Biblical event, or it can be one you’ve heard.
But for the purpose of this devotion, let me share a few excerpts of Jesus’ stories with you. Why? Because the stories and miracles of Jesus stand on their own. They are stories of love, empathy, forgiveness, sorrow, and joy. They are stories of death, resurrection, hope, and serving others.
One of my favorite books of the Gospel is the book of Luke. I like it for two reasons. First, I took a class back in the 1990s on the book of Luke and thoroughly enjoyed it. Second, Luke’s Gospel has the most vivid description of what has come to be known as the Christmas story.
Let me point out a few stories from Luke’s Gospel that are great stories to share with others. I’m going to specifically key in on some of Jesus’ words and miracles.
Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, who was suffering from a high fever.
Then word got out, and people from the area brought people with all sorts of illnesses to Jesus to be healed. But, most importantly, He made demons come out of people, and even the demons recognized who He was, “You are the Son of God.”
What a great story of healing. Have you ever been ill and prayed for God to heal you, and He did? Share that story and the one above (read the entire encounter first). Jesus healed then, and He still heals today.
The Faith of the Centurion
“When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The Centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So, Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the Centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then, the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.”
This is a story of healing, but even more, this is a story of great faith. Jesus sees the great faith the Centurion has and heals his ailing servant.
One of my favorite healing prayers is this:
“Lord, I know you can heal. Lord, I believe you will heal. And Lord, if you don’t heal now, bring glory to your name and keep my faith in you.”
Faith. It brings healing to the mind, body, and soul. But remember, Jesus’ timeline is not ours. Jesus will or will not heal us in His time, not ours; that is why we must keep our faith strong.
Luke 7:11-17 –
Jesus heals a Widow’s Son
Luke 8 –
The parable of the sower
Luke 9 –
Jesus feeds 5000 (Plus women and children with a few fish and loaves of bread) Come on, that’s not a story to tell; that’s a lecture to give on how Jesus serves others and supplies our needs.
The stories are endless in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s love is shown through His Word. Tell these stories to your children, your families, friends, and co-workers.
Jesus has charged us with spreading the Good News of the Gospel.
And when you tell someone one of the many miracles of Jesus and their mouth drops a little bit, emphasize your point by saying, “Do you believe in miracles? Then, hopefully, they’ll say, YES!
Joe Guagliardo (Joe G)