When John the Baptist appeared 2,000 years ago, he came in the spirit and power of Elijah to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Luke 1:17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
How are we to proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost during these very dark last days? Just as Jesus commanded his disciples:
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them,
‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
It was the miraculous healing of the lame beggar in Acts 3 which brought the amazed crowd to Peter who preached Jesus Christ to them. The result was the number of men who believed increasing to about five thousand. In Acts 9 it was the miraculous healing of Aeneas which brought all those living in Lydda and Sharon to Jesus Christ. In Acts 8 great miraculous healings through Philip brought crowds to hear the gospel, and many were subsequently baptized.
Acts 8:6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said.
Although such miracles do not bring everyone to repentance, there is no disputing that they are in accordance with the Lord’s command to his disciples and are very effective in bringing souls to Jesus Christ. They are the “point of the spear” which makes straight the path for the gospel to be received by those even resistant to the gospel.
The miracles themselves do not save anyone. Rather they are the sign and evidence to the lost that Jesus Christ can forgive sin and grant eternal life.
“But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority upon earth to forgive sins, He said to the paralytic, I say to you, Arise, and take up your cot, and go to your house. And immediately he arose and took up his cot and went out before all.” (Mark 2:10-12)
John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Without the demonstration of power, the gospel is simply words spoken more often than not to hardened or deaf ears. But powerful miracles beforehand get people’s attention and make them receptive to the gospel to be afterwards.
That is what it means to come in the spirit and power of Elijah. That spirit enables us like Elijah to issue a bold challenge to those who worship false gods:
1 Kings 18:24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire–he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
The ministry of The Elijah Challenge is to train the Lord’s disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God in the spirit and power of Elijah—preparing the way of the Lord during these last days.