Jan 31, 2015

Are You Authorized?

My last post had to do with the subject of authority. The take home message was that each of us has been granted authority from God in a number of different areas. Metaphorically, these areas can be thought of as mountains. While it's helpful to know what specific subjects Jesus has given us authority over, it's also good to know the areas He has not given us authority over and what the consequences are when we get involved in things outside our scope of authority.

A few years ago I had a dream where Jesus came to the church to check the credentials of people who were teaching others about God. Those who were teaching without being authorized by Him were in a bit of trouble. The primary issue He was concerned with was authorization.  A secondary issue was the content that people were teaching. Many false ideas about God were being taught by people who weren't authorized by Him. Along with the Lord's authorization of someone to speak on a subject, came the content of their message. The fact that they needed to be authorized to speak on certain subjects came as a surprise to most people, even though Jesus warned us about this.

Social networking has become a global platform for anyone who wants to share their opinions about God. You don't have to look very far to see people publicly preaching their ideas about what or who God loves and hates. We're bombarded with theological opinions everywhere we go, and apparently, Jesus is listening to what we're saying.

Over the last few years, I've learned that Jesus is very interested in the things I say. What I'm authorized to speak on as a representative of my King is pretty limited. I'm authorized to speak on healing, deliverance, prophetic ministry, dreams, and a few other things, but the list is fairly small. I have opinions about things like tithing, the rapture, abortions, etc. I think I know what the bible says about them and I could offer my views if I wanted to, but God hasn't authorized me to speak on them. He hasn't given me specific revelation on them. Since I know that His authorization on a subject carries with it His revelation, the things He shares with me I'm willing to share with others, but the things He's silent on, I try to remain silent on. I don't want to to step outside the realm of authority He has authorized. One of the sticky points of  being granted authority is that in addition to giving us freedom to speak on certain issues, it restrains us from speaking on other issues. Jesus modeled this restraint by only saying what the Father authorized Him to say and doing what the Father authorized Him to do.

Due to our unique personalities, gifts, talents and life experiences, God authorizes each of us differently. Those who have been authorized to speak on a subject are given God's heart on that subject, the right life experiences and the right message. God also provides an audience with ears to hear the message. Having God's authorization to speak on a subject creates a favorable environment. Those who speak on subjects He has authorized tend to bear good fruit. Those who speak without His authorization bear the fruit of the flesh. Their messages tend to create discord, division, and enmity. Since God is not the author of confusion, if there is confusion surrounding a message there's a good chance that someone who is not authorized is doing the talking.

I'm often asked questions about things which God has given me no authority to speak on. An example is generation sins and curses. While I know people who have personal revelation from God on these subjects, I can't think of a single thing God has revealed to me about them. So when people ask me I simply tell them, "I have no revelation on that," and point them to people who have received revelation on it. There's no shame in admitting to your ignorance on a subject. If you give people counsel that isn't from God, you're probably going to lead them astray. I think it's wiser to say nothing on subjects we're not authorized to speak on.

My suggestion (if you're looking for one) is pretty simple: Check with Jesus and ask Him what you are and aren't authorized to speak on and make a list. Once you have clear direction from Him, ask Him to reveal His heart on those issues and confine your conversations to those which He has authorized you to speak on. Then watch how He moves through you.

Jan 24, 2015

Authority - How Does it Work?

There seems to be growing interest in the subject of authority these days.  I read the other night where an exasperated woman said she was “claiming her authority” over a desperate situation, as if this might help resolve her problem. I think statements like this reveal part of the problem with our understanding of authority. Most of us know we've been given authority from God, but we don't know how it works.

One thing to consider is the relational aspect of authority. It is often (though not always) the case that authority is permission granted to one person to represent the interests of another person who prefers not to manage their affairs personally. Authority is granted by one person and exercised by another. This arrangement makes authority dependent upon a relationship of trust.

The authority that a person receives usually gives them freedom to make decisions without requiring special permission before exercising their authority.  Authority is permission to act without permission. The exercise of authority is generally at the complete discretion of the one to whom it was granted, even if the exercise of authority is not wise, or beneficial to the one they represent. The one who has been granted authority has the right to make both good and bad decisions. Generally, the wise exercise of authority provides opportunities for promotion to a higher level of authority, while poor exercise of authority leads to a reduction or complete removal of it.

The concept of authority is illustrated in the kingdom parables where Jesus spoke about servants who were given charge of their master's affairs while their masters were away.  (See the parable of the faithful and wicked servants in Matt 24 and the parable of the talents in Matt 25.)

Now I'd like to illustrate how authority works in everyday life:

A shift supervisor who works at a factory has authority over the operations on his shift, which might include personnel management, scheduling, ordering supplies and resolving employee disputes. But his authority is restricted to the hours that he is at work and to the specific factory he works at. He doesn’t have the same authority during another supervisor’s shift or at a different factory. His scope of authority is limited and it is also relational. It was granted to him and can be revoked by the manager of the factory if trust is eroded.

The manager of the factory has similar authority. It is likewise limited to the factory he works at, and it is relational. The CEO of the company is the one who grants his authority and it can be removed at the CEO's discretion. The CEO has similar authority. It may have been granted by the company’s board of directors, who were appointed by the shareholders. His authority gives him the right to make major decisions involving the company’s interests and it can be revoked at their discretion. Everyone in the chain has authority that is given to them by someone else. Any of them can be promoted if they exercise their authority well, or have their authority removed if they exercise it poorly.

Christians have been given a multitude of different types and levels of authority. As God’s personal representatives on earth, our authority encompasses many areas, but unlike in the world where people are given authority over other people, we are not given such authority. Some people will disagree, but the New Testament believer is subject only to the authority of Christ. We do not have other humans in authority over us. While we may have teachers and people who encourage and train us, these individuals do not exercise authority over other believers. Authority that is exercised over individuals is the model that has been used throughout history by governments and military institutions. It was specifically this model of authority that Jesus said would not be allowed among His disciples.

Instead Jesus gave us authority over such things as sickness, disease, and storms, and each of us is given authority to speak on certain subjects. (That will be discussed in my next message.)

Some of us are given authority to influence the communities of music and art. Others are given authority to influence the fields of physics and chemistry, while still others have authority to represent God’s interests in the field of medicine. These are just a few examples of the areas of society God grants us authority to operate in. As we identify the areas of authority that God has granted to us and as we represent His interests in accordance with His desires, our level of authority increases.

The relationship we have with God is the key to it all. We must begin by asking Him what areas we've been given authority in. That requires us to develop the ability to communicate with Him. Next, we must learn how He wants us to exercise our authority in those areas. Again - this requires a deeper relationship. As our relationship grows, we'll be given more details about how He wants us to exercise the authority He gives us with wisdom and righteousness.

Jan 20, 2015

Let the Living Water Flow

"...out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
Jn 7:38
When He found someone who was sick or spiritually oppressed, Jesus released the kingdom of God upon them. They were healed, set free of demonic oppression or they were given a new perspective of their value in God's eyes. Notice how Jesus met people's needs: He released the kingdom of God upon them.


The way a dam releases water when it opens.

There is a river flowing out of the throne of God that carries His presence wherever it goes. This river of life flows into you and I, bringing God's presence, His glory and His kingdom to us. We are the dwelling place of God's presence in the earth. His purpose for giving us the Holy Spirit is to turn us into people who carry and release His presence.

Just as Jesus manifested the character, the power and the glory of God to reveal and accomplish the Father's will here on earth, we're commissioned to do the same today. He is our example. We are gateways to the kingdom of God. When we open our gates His presence flows out of us, bringing joy, peace, healing, deliverance, revelation, and other things that people need.

It's a good idea from time to time to examine how well God's presence is flowing in and out of us. The flow can be gauged by the fruit of the spirit that we produce. It can be restricted by things like bitterness, anger, fear, unbelief, and unforgiveness that act like rocks and sticks which clog up the flow. These attitudes also taint the flow with flavors that don't represent God's character. When they're removed, we receive a greater inflow of His presence and it's easier for it to flow out of us, untainted.

The life of the believer is one of being filled with God's presence and releasing it to others.

Dec 13, 2014

Dec 10, 2014

Resurrection Testimony - Lee Birch

Lee Birch is a factory worker who was crushed under a 9000 pound piece of heavy equipment on October 7, 2014. His story is is that of several miracles, including being raised from the dead.


Dec 6, 2014

Everyday Miracles #4 - Craig Adams

My guest blogger today is Craig Adams. This message was originally posted here.

One of my new friends since moving to Olympia is a notorious law-breaker who has been in national news for doing the right thing. He and some others have a ministry in which they feed the homeless folks from a tent erected in a public parking lot after business hours downtown. He's been in the news because the city has fined him and threatened to jail him for feeding hungry people.

This morning he posted that he'd jammed up his knees cutting wood, and would like prayer. So when Todd came by to go out to breakfast this morning I asked if he knew where our friend lived. Long story short, a phone call and a short while later he was sitting in Solomon's Reef downtown with us at the breakfast table.

As we talked, he shared some of his misadventures with the local government, as well as the impact his ministry is having in the lives of their street family.

Todd shared some of the cool things God did on his recent mission to Brazil, and soon, wives were calling our cell phones and messaging us, and it was time to go.

I asked our friend if his knees were still hurting, and he replied that they were, and that it was a chronic problem.

"Well, then, why don't we get you healed before you go?"

"Alright, man!"

"OK," I told him, "Don't do anything. Don't try to receive, don't think about God, or your knees... don't think about anything."


Emptying my own mind of everything but what needed to happen, and not trying to *make* it happen by anything other than what was said, I said, "In the name of Jesus I command pain to go.
I command these knees to conform to pattern that was intended for them in the beginning.
There! Done! How do they feel? The pain is gone, isn't it?"

"They feel much better." he said.

"Is the pain gone?"

"Most of it is."

"OK... Papa doesn't do things halfway...one more time, let's go.' I put my hand on his shoulder again and said,
"Pain be gone in Jesus name. Joints, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, I command you to be whole."
All gone now?"

"Yep, " he replied sliding out of the booth and testing his new knees, "Just a little stiffness in the muscles from things stretching."

I used to think whether someone got healed had to do with what I did or said when I prayed for them, and often, they were not healed.

But once you realize that you really aren't doing anything but speaking what Papa tells you to (often with the same voice in your mind that you think with) and do and say what He shows you, Results are much different.
Everyday miracles are mostly just an expression of knowing who He has made you, not doing performing as the old, dead man did, and letting the presence of God that is already in you out.

Some people think miracles like this are extraordinary, but they are really just normal, everyday stuff when you realize the old man really is dead, and the life in you now is a new man, living in Christ by the faith of the Son of God.

Nov 19, 2014

My Craziest Adventures With God

What do you do when you've been writing stories about the supernatural works of God for five years?
Collect the best stories and put them in a book.

I'm happy to announce that my latest book My Craziest Adventures With God is now available for purchase on Amazon.

After losing my job, being divorced and being kicked out of my church, it seemed like my entire world was going up in flames. Then one night in a dream, God asked me to pray for my patients. When I awoke in the morning I knew nothing would ever be the same. Come along on my adventures as I confront my own skepticism and fear and learn how to hear the voice of God and heal the sick. You may find yourself laughing one minute and crying the next as God’s goodness and sense of humor are revealed in these true stories.

One of my goals with this book is to help non-Christians see God in a different light. If you have friends or relatives who don’t believe in God or if they believe that He’s not interested in their personal lives, this book will show them that He’s willing to be intimately involved in every part of their life. They’ll get a up-close look at how He speaks to us through dreams, how He deals with us in our successes and failures and they’ll see all the crazy things He’s willing to do through average people like you and me. They'll learn about His love and compassion, His wisdom, His power and that fact that He has a great sense of humor.

The paperback can be found by clicking this link.
The Kindle version can be found by clicking this link

If you would consider sharing this message with your friends I'd be grateful.
Thank you for your support!
Praying Medic

Nov 12, 2014

Grocery Store Healing

I went with my daughter to the grocery store. I'm not deliberately trying to influence her in the direction of healing. It just sorta happens. While leaving the store, next to a beautiful display of flowers I noticed a middle-aged woman limping toward the parking lot. I felt like I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Go get her." As I approached I gave her my best smile. "Good morning ma'am. I couldn't help but notice you were limping. Do you mind if I ask how you injured yourself?"

“I don’t know you sir and I’m not sure that’s any of your business.”

“I'm a paramedic. I work in Tacoma. I'm not crazy and I'm not a stalker. I just like to see people blessed by the healing power of God. You can ask my lovely daughter....honest, lady!”

“You’re a paramedic huh? Do you always go around asking strangers about their personal problems?”

I was a little embarrassed. She didn't brush us off completely, but she wasn't exactly welcoming us into her life. I looked at the flowers sitting happily in their pots in the entrance to the store. “Look Ma’am. I don’t always do this with strangers. I try to obey the Lord when I feel like He wants me to talk to someone.”

“Well I’m sorry if it seems like I’m being defensive. I’m just not used to people I don’t know asking me things like that.”

“I’m sorry about that. I know this must be terribly awkward for you.”

She looked at my daughter. “You seem like a nice girl. Does he always do this kind of stuff?”

My daughter smiled. “Well actually, yes he does. We do pray for a lot of strangers.”

We were creating a scene in the entrance to the store and I wanted to take the conversation somewhere more private.  “Why don't we walk to your car and talk about it on the way there?”

She limped pathetically toward her car and let me push her shopping cart. As she walked I could see that it was her knee that was giving her trouble. She couldn't bend it.

“Looks like your knee is in pretty bad shape. Can I ask what’s wrong with it?”

“Well if you must know - I have a torn meniscus and I need surgery. And because I don’t have insurance right now I can’t afford the surgery. But if I don’t have the surgery and my knee gets worse I may not be able to work. So I’m in a bad spot right now and I’m not real happy about it.”

“May I please try to get your knee healed? What is it going to hurt if I just try?”

“Well it looks like you aren't going to leave me alone until I say yes, so go ahead.”

I placed my hand on her knee. “I command this knee to be healed in the name of Jesus. I command the meniscus to be healed. Inflammation leave right now!” I asked how she felt.

She bent down and felt her knee. “It feels a little better.”

I placed my hand on her knee again. “Meniscus I command you to be healed right now. Pain and inflammation I command you to leave.”

I asked again how she felt.

“Well what do you know…it doesn't hurt at all.” She looked at me like I was crazy and asked, “Are you for real?”

“Jesus is more real than you know, and He's the one who healed you. He loves you and he has a great plan for your future.”

I asked if she had any other conditions I could pray for. She let me pray for back pain and high blood pressure. We talked for a while about the goodness of God. She gave me a hug and we left her with a huge smile on her face.

I learned an important lesson that day. This woman had a lot of stress over her injury and my insistence on talking about it probably brought up worries she didn't want to think about. There’s a fine line we must walk when dealing with the personal problems of a stranger. If you become too aggressive, they may never develop trust toward you. I had to let the trust develop at a pace she was comfortable with and many times that can only be done by patiently talking with them about their concerns and putting them at ease.

This is an excerpt from book My Craziest adventures with God - Volume 1. 

Nov 8, 2014

Love, Power & Truth - Steve Harmon

My guest blogger today is Steve Harmon.

Two years ago I met a Satanist on Haight/Ashbury in San Francisco where the start of the hippy movement began. God taught me a lot in that experience about how people get set free. It basically works with three components, and it was these three components that Jesus used in His ministry.

So this guy asked me for a cigarette and I told him I don't smoke. I began a conversation with him. He told me he was an Iraq war vet, in the marines. He's homeless and apart of the "Occupy Oakland" movement. We talked for about 20 minutes then he told me that he had a torn rotator cuff that needs surgery. I asked him if I could pray for it to make it well. He said, "No, no...I'm a Satanist bro". He proceeded to tell me all of his beliefs about God and the world. I just listened to him. I then said, "I'm not like other Christians you've met. I love people and I see value in you. There's love in you. There's a big heart that has been covered and people don't see it, but I see it."

He then told me that he has two daughters living in Oakland and that last week he celebrated his 12 year old daughter's birthday. He gave her a birthday cake which was "hash brownies" (Marijuana laced brownies). She got so excited and was jumping up and down saying  "You're the best dad in the whole world!", and he said he started crying when she said that. I actually started crying myself just because the situation was so messed up, but in that, his daughter showed him a form of love and it moved him so much. Up to this point, I just wanted to hold this big guy because he was starving for love.

He told me that he nearly beat a man to death for raping his daughter's friend. He served 5 years in prison for it. He was pouring out his life to me. I asked him again if I could pray for his shoulder and at this point, he felt more comfortable with me and he said, "Sure". So I laid my hands on his shoulder under the signal light on the corner and started to command the infirmity to leave. I prophesied as well, then I told him to check out his shoulder. When he moved it, the pain started leaving. I prayed again and it was completely gone. He was swinging his arm and couldn't get it to hurt. He was shocked because he also had been a shaman and he would heal people, but could never be healed himself.

From this point, I just laid into him the good news of Jesus in a way he had never heard. He was no longer objecting to it. I told him "God has a plan for your life." He started crying  because his mom used to tell him that when he was once a pastor! His mom told him recently that all the seeds he sowed into people's lives, (ten or fifteen of them) had gotten off drugs and were walking with God now. He cried telling me all that and said, "Now look at me. I'm homeless and an alcoholic?"

I told Him, "The Lord is still saying 'yes' to you," then I asked if I could pray the Holy Spirit on him. He said "yes".

I told him, "When I touch you, you're gonna feel something that cannot be compared to any other drug you've had." I put my hands on him and prayed for fire and love. His eyes were closed and tears were coming down his face.

After I was done, he opened his eyes and said, "That was intense!" We talked more and I just kept pouring the love of God into him. After I was done, God told me to tell him that tonight Jesus was going to visit him in a dream. He said, "Okay!" He told me that 16 years ago was the last time he felt God. I told him "16 years from that day God came and touched you again because He loves you".

On the corner where rebellion against the establishment was birthed in the 60's, God showed up in love and in power to tell a prodigal son to come home.

I didn't engage with him and argue all of his outlandish ideas about Jesus and the Father. I ignored it, changed the subject, and told him about the love that I saw in his heart. I kept hitting that point until he finally softened. He was changed from a hardened Satanist into a sensitive puppy dog. Here's how it worked:

Love brings down the walls. Power brings validity to truth. Truth sets the person free. When I first met the guy and he found out I was a Christian, he immediately put up a wall to me. My goal was to get the truth into him, but I couldn't because of that wall. So what did I need?


Love brings down the walls. It makes the person realize you're not a threat. Once the wall was down, he let me in and then I could display God's power through the healing. Once the power was shown to him, when I spoke truth, he was more open to believe it because the miracle testified of the truth. Many people have walls up and it's because they've been hurt. Trying to display God's power and speaking truth to them can be difficult. Love should be the thing that begins every encounter.

For some people, you'll have to display love to them for a very long time before you'll have a chance to display God's power or speak truth to them. This is because their walls won't come down easily and until the wall is down and they feel safe with you—there's no way they will receive the truth. At the same time, you can't only work in love and expect that everyone will change. Mother Teresa did a lot of loving throughout her life and yet thousands died in her loving arms, scared, depressed and fearful. When love and truth is shown without the power, you can have a person who believes in the existence of a supernatural God, but they have very shallow faith that is shaky and can waver.

The moral of the story is: you need all three.

Nov 5, 2014

Crohn's Disease Healed

This woman testifies of her healing of Chohn's disease.

Nov 1, 2014

Why Are Some People Not Healed?


This is part of an interview I did with S.J. Heald for Heaven Connect. The entire interview can be found here.

SJH:Some Christians are filled with faith and live a holy life, and yet they are suffering with illness and health problems. Also there are sick children, such as those with terminal illness like cancer. Why are these not healed?

Praying Medic:
This is a delicate issue and unfortunately, it’s one that has been greatly misunderstood. I don’t think it will help anyone if I tip-toe around this subject, so I’d like to give an honest answer that will probably be hard for many people to accept and frankly, will make some people angry.
Much of the disappointment and heartache that comes from failed attempts at healing is due to misconceptions about God and the kingdom of darkness. Many of us believe that God can heal whomever He wants and that if someone is not healed, it must be because God doesn’t want them healed. That's a bit like saying if someone doesn't get saved it's because God doesn't want them to be saved. There's an entire school of theology built around this idea, but the truth is that divine healing simply doesn’t work this way. Actually, there is very little in the kingdom of God that does.
John Wimber was given a vision from God that illustrated the problem we're discussing. This is how he described it in his book Power Healing:
"Suddenly in my minds eye there appeared to be a cloud bank superimposed across the sky. But I had never seen a cloud bank like this one, so I pulled my car over to the side of the road to take a closer look. Then I realized it was not a cloud bank, it was a honeycomb with honey dripping out on to people below. The people were in a variety of postures. Some were reverent; they were weeping and holding their hands out to catch the honey and taste it, even inviting others to take some of their honey. Others acted irritated, wiping the honey off themselves, complaining about the mess. I was awestruck. Not knowing what to think, I prayed, "Lord, what is it?"
He said, "It's my mercy, John. For some people it's a blessing, but for others it's a hindrance. There is plenty for everyone. Don't ever beg me for healing again. The problem isn't on my end, John. It's down there."
When people have sought prayer for healing repeatedly to no avail, there is a strong temptation to believe that God has a divine purpose for our sickness or that He simply doesn't want to heal us. It’s just human nature to think this way. This is despite the fact that the bible teaches that God sees both sickness and death as His sworn enemies and despite the fact that there isn’t one passage in the bible that plainly teaches that sickness is used by God for any kind of divine purpose. In order to better understand how healing works, let me draw a comparison with something most of us are more familiar with.

Healing, like salvation is not a sovereign act of God. Rather, it is accomplished when we do what God commissions us to do. Salvation comes as a result of man proclaiming the gospel. The proclamation of the gospel is a task that has been delegated to man as God’s representative and salvation depends upon our obedience. People are saved when men and women preach the gospel faithfully. If people are not saved, it is not because God doesn’t want them to be saved. It is because we’ve failed to proclaim the message we were given. Healing operates in the same way, through God’s representatives – the church.

God sent Jesus into the world to reveal his will concerning healing. Jesus didn't just heal a few people that the Father chose here and there. He healed entire villages of all who were sick and demon possessed. He also raised the dead and he commissioned his disciples to do the same things He did. If we believe that God wants people to become sick and die at a young age– we must explain why He sent His Son into the world to defeat sickness and death and why He commissioned His disciples to carry out the same plan after He ascended into heaven.

The ministry of Jesus sent a clear message to the world that God is opposed to sickness and death. If it is the will of God for man to be sick, no one in history violated the will of God more than Jesus. Just as God desires all men to be saved, He also desires all men to be healed. Jesus gave us, His disciples all the power and authority we'll ever need to deal with sickness and death. Once He gives us authority to do something, He is no longer responsible for doing it – we are. The ball is now in our court and it has been for 2,000 years. It’s up to us to exercise the authority He has given us.

As God's ambassadors, it is our job to enforce His will here on earth with regard to healing. If we don’t learn how to conquer sickness and death by releasing healing, people are going to die. Most people have never been trained or equipped to heal the sick, raise the dead or cast out demons, even though these are the most basic things Jesus taught His disciples to do. When healing doesn’t happen, it is not because God wants people to be sick– it is because His ambassadors have failed to use the power and authority they've been given. Many of us try to put the responsibility back on God because we don’t want to admit that we’ve failed to take our responsibilities seriously. This is the reason why I wrote my book on healing. My heart’s greatest desire is to train and equip the saints to do the work God commissioned us to do.

Oct 29, 2014

The Appearing - Jeremy Mangerchine

This is an excerpt from Jeremy Mangerchine's  book The Longest Bridge Across Water

It was a chilly fall evening. The sun had almost completely gone down, leaving our house dark. A small, yellow lamp warmly and dimly illuminated the windowless room where I sat. One room over, Shannon and our son, Noah, sat in our bedroom happily watching a kids’ show on the computer. It was Sunday, and I had to go back to work early the next morning. I felt like mindlessly relaxing by watching the Sunday night football game. Instead, I decided to find out what the Lord was up to, because, all day long, I had felt a tugging deep within my soul that I really didn’t understand. I felt uneasiness, but not in an evil sense; this uneasiness came because I sensed Him tugging at me and luring me out of my comfort zone.

I began to pray and thank the Lord for being awesome and for just being Him. As I enjoyed Him, I escaped deeper and deeper into Him until I was immersed in His loving presence. It was the safe, peaceful, and warm embrace of two lovers. I was completely unprepared for what happened next.

As I sat and basked in the glory of my wonderful Daddy, without any warning, Jesus appeared in front of me. He didn’t look like He’s described in the Book of Revelation (as He appears to some people), Jesus in His glorified state with white hair like snow, eyes of fire, feet like burnished bronze that were refined in a furnace, and a voice like a roar. The Jesus who appeared to me was Jesus hanging on the cross.

The movie The Passion of the Christ reminded the Church that Jesus’ death on the cross was far more violent and traumatic than the images we commonly see. It showed us what a torturous experience could actually do to a human body. But even the graphic images of that movie did not compare to what I observed that evening. In the vision, I saw Him from the waist up, facing me, but slightly turned to the right. Immediately, I jerked away in shock and tried to look the other way, not wanting to see the horrific image that had so unexpectedly appeared to me. At the same time, I was drawn to Him and could not look away.

His body, which may as well have been a carcass, was draped on the wooden torture device, and His mangled flesh was not even distinguishable as human flesh anymore. He was scourged, beaten, and bruised so badly that His entire body was black and a purplish blue as if He had been covered in gasoline and set on fire for about three minutes, only to have the flame extinguished prior to death. His face didn’t even have distinguishable features. It was a swollen and contorted blob, beyond recognition.

He was not hanging in a physical state of peace, like we so often depict. Rather, His body was in shock from the pain inflicted on Him, to the point that He was convulsing. These convulsions were beyond His control, and every time He convulsed, His body seized forward. When that happened, it tore the wounds of the nails holding Him to the cross. It was a constant cycle of agony. As I watched Him struggle, my heart melted with compassion. Am I really watching Jesus suffer on the cross?

Finally, after many gut-wrenching, failed attempts at composure, He paused and, with great purpose and authority, took a deep breath and lifted His head. With complete calmness and control, He turned His head toward me. What is He going to do? I wondered. His eyes were not the eyes of a man who had given Himself over to be destroyed. Rather, they burned with love, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, and grace. His eyes locked with my eyes. As He stared into my eyes with great intensity, He simply said, “I love you.” Then He disappeared.

Until that day, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection had not held the importance they deserved in my life. In fact, it wasn’t until several months after this experience that they really did. The very Son of God had appeared to me and allowed me to see part of the agony of His sacrifice of love for me. It was an undeniably important moment in my journey, one that would define everything that followed.

Jeremy's book The Longest Bridge Across Water is available here.

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