I joyfully embrace my Italian heritage! Scrumptious food, fun, super-relational people, beautiful art, culture, and typically a deep love for God. Though I didn’t come to know Christ as Savior until I was a teenager, I always loved Jesus.
One of my distant ancestors is highly acclaimed in Acts 10. Cornelius was a God-fearing man holding a prestigious position as a centurion in the Italian Cohort and was highly respected by the Jewish nation where he was stationed. Cornelius surrounded himself with God-fearing people, prayed continually, fasted, and gave generously to the poor.
But, he didn’t know Jesus.
That was about to change when Jesus intimately pursued Cornelius, perhaps knowing what a powerhouse for the Kingdom he would become.
God sent an angel to our Italian friend, imploring him to seek a man who would tell him how to be saved. Peter’s eyes and heart had been opened when God taught him that the gospel is for all people, including Gentiles. Upon hearing Peter eloquently preach the Good News of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius, his family, and friends, just like it did on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The entire group embraced Jesus as Savior.
Well, my friend, believe it or not, Cornelius is like millions of Muslims today!
They are seeking their god, praying, fasting, and giving to the poor.
But they don’t know Jesus either.
Just as the Father pursued Cornelius through a supernatural encounter, He is doing so with Muslims. They’re having dreams, visions, and miracles by the boatload! They’re giving their lives to Jesus, too.
Meet Jamila. She’s sweet and spicy with a thousand-watt smile. In the heat of the Syrian war, a friend told Jamila that Jesus was coming to Muslims in dreams. She even thought once, “I’m Muslim, I wish Jesus would come to me.”
Jamila was forced to go months without blood pressure medication. As a result, a massive stroke left her in a coma, paralyzed. Her family encircled Jamila’s hospital bed stunned as the doctor declared she probably wouldn’t survive the night.
Jamila said she heard everything going on in the hospital around her, yet the words she screamed asking for help were only in her head.
Suddenly, Jesus stood before her in a shimmering white robe.
“Jamila, I’m Jesus! I hear you’ve been looking for me. I am going to heal you for My glory.”
When Jesus touched her paralyzed arm, heat raced through her body. Jamila lifted her hand to touch Him. She heard the thud, as her mother’s chair hit the floor. “Jamila lifted her hand!” But when the doctor looked, Jamila was eerily still. Over the next few days, each time Jesus touched Jamila’s body, she regained movement, until one day she opened her eyes, whole and fully healed. Jamila could move every part of her body and her blood pressure was consistently normal.
Jamila told everyone she met how Jesus and He miraculously healed her. As the war intensified, her whole family fled to Jordan, where she began searching for answers to who Jesus really was. At last, she spotted a woman wearing a cross-necklace, and Jamila introduced herself by jumping into telling her miracle story. Jamila and Maria began meeting, and Maria answered all of Jamila’s questions through the truth of God’s Word. Jamila could deny Jesus’ love no longer and she gloriously gave her life to Him. Over time, all of Jamila’s family has accepted Jesus, too!
Jamila’s miraculous story is one of the countless divine encounters Muslims are having with Jesus.
So, do Book-of-Acts miracles happen today?
They most certainly do!
The question is, do we expect them?
When people are desperate and seeking, living in a culture where Jesus is not known, nor the Word of God readily available, miracles happen!
“He does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9