When John the Baptist was sitting in prison wondering if he got it all wrong about Jesus, he sent a delegation to Jesus to get the answer to one important question. “Are you the expected one?” was that question. (Matthew 11:3)
Jesus’ response is instructive:
And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:4–6, ESV)
I have always thought of this response as pointing to the power behind the miracles. Certainly only God can do the kind of things that are listed here. Blind, lame, lepers and deaf are healed. The dead are raised. These are miracles beyond the power of mere humans.
But perhaps all of these things are pointing beyond the manifestation of the miraculous.
Imagine the impact that these miracles had on those who were recipients of healing. They would never be the same again. To encounter the living God in the form of Jesus was to make an eternal difference in their lives. Do you think that a leper that was healed would ever forget the change that Jesus made in him? Could the blind man ever take his vision for granted after having it restored? Could the lame man ever forget that his ability to walk and earn a living was a gift from God?
The point is that all of those who received tlhealing would be forever changed on the inside as well as on the outside. Their changed lives would be an ongoing testimony to the power and the truth of the Gospel. Perhaps a changed life is the greatest apologetic in defense of Christianity.
This is not to say that we should not study and sharpen our skills at presenting reasons why faith in Jesus makes sense. We are called to offer a reasoned response to those who question us (1 Peter 3:15).
But a reasoned response alone is not enough. People need to see in us that the good news we proclaim has been good news for us. They rightly demand evidence that the change we talk about has been made in us.
I’ll borrow an illustration that I first heard from Howard Hendricks. Like Howard, I have much less than a full head of hair. If I let my hair grow out, I would have what I call an inverse mohawk. There is nothing on the top and a little on the sides. That being said, would you buy hair restoration oil from me if I came knocking on your door? You would have every reason to question the efficacy of the oil since I no hair on my head.
In the same way, no matter how well we argue for the claims of Christ, if we are not showing evidence of God’s grace and work in our lives, perhaps we argue in vain. It is the changed life that puts us in the position to be salt and light.
If we claim to be spending time in fellowship and service of Jesus, like those he healed in the Gospels, we should be eternally affected and it should show to those around us.
Perhaps the effect that Jesus has had upon us is the greatest apologetic.