Joshua looked around and then slipped his Bible out of his backpack. It was easier that his parents hadn’t known. He didn’t think he could defy them over this, but he was willing to take his chances at school if it meant getting him that relationship with God that he had started yearning for.
He opened his Bible on his lap and started reading. The boy sitting next to him saw it. “Didn’t you get in trouble for doing that yesterday?”
“I just want to read. I don’t see the trouble with that.”
“Why? Why can’t you wait until you get home?”
“I just started feeling…I don’t know.” He wasn’t sure he understood his thoughts and feelings well enough to explain, but he tried. “It’s…I know the Bible is real, but I’m still trying to believe it’s real. I just want God to show Himself to me or talk to me or do something. I don’t know. It just feels like it can’t wait.”
“I won’t say anything. It’s cool that you feel strongly about it, but do you really want to get in trouble? I mean, your life does not depend on that book, but it does depend on Principal Alan.”
“Thanks,” Joshua said, but he wasn’t sure that was true.
Joshua went back to reading while chomping on an apple. Marcus walked past and decided to have some fun. “Reading the latest zombie thriller?”
“Something like that,” Joshua responded nonchalantly.
Marcus took a look. “No, it’s not,” he said.
Joshua smiled. “Well, there are people raised from the dead.”
“Cool. I didn’t know there were zombies in the Bible.”
“Not exactly zombies. There are real people who die and then are alive again and just go about their lives. They don’t attack and eat people or anything.”
“Like a near-death experience where they see the light and then come back and tell everyone that heaven is real.”
“No. I mean people dying, being declared dead. A Christian comes and prays and they sit up and are fine. That type of thing. In the Bible, this guy dies, and when they bury him, his body touches the bones of a dead prophet, and it brings the guy back to life.”
“That stuff doesn’t happen.”
“Yes, it does.”
“Do you believe that Jesus died and rose again?” Joshua asked, his heart racing in his chest.
“Like Easter? I guess so.”
“Why can He come back to life and not someone else?”
“`Cause He’s God.”
“Every Christian is supposed to have Jesus living in them,” Joshua continued.
“So, you’re Jesus? You’re crazier than I thought.”
“No. It’s His Spirit in me.”
“So, you have the power to raise people from the dead.”
“No, God has the power.”
“Yeah, but you said God’s spirit is in you, so why don’t you go around with your power and make everything better? Go on. ‘Cause, you’re crazy if you’re gonna sit there and go on like that.”
He knew Marcus was right; it was instantly clear to him. God confirmed his apostles’ words with signs and wonders. Without confirmation, he could say anything. It lacked meaning and power. He silently prayed, “God, if these words are true…” Joshua mentally kicked himself and corrected his prayer. “God, these words are true. They have to be true. Your words are true. Back them up by your power. And give me courage.”
Joshua scanned the room, but he felt a bit lightheaded. He had no idea what to say or do. He didn’t know if he was going to pass out or if something extraordinary was about to happen.
No one was lying around dead, but there was someone else who needed raising. There was Michael, sitting in his wheelchair.
Without thinking, moved only by the intense impulse he was feeling, he marched right over and said, “In the name of Jesus, stand up.”
“What?” Now another person was looking at him like he was crazy.
A picture of Peter at the Gate Beautiful from the book of Acts flashed in Joshua’s mind. Like Peter, Joshua reached out, took Michael’s hand, and pulled to help him up. “Stand up. God has healed you.”
Michael realized it was true. He could feel his legs. He could move his feet. He stood and stabilized himself. He had been in a car accident a couple of years back that left him alive but severed. He remembered this feeling. He loved this feeling. He started running around the cafeteria shouting.
That got the teacher’s attention. She yelled at him to be quiet and sit down. He shouted back, “I’m not sitting down for at least a year.” Then she realized who it was and left in a hurry.
Principal Alan’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “Michael Alan, report to my office.” When Michael heard his dad’s voice, he charged out of the cafeteria. Principal Alan took the rest of the day off, and he and his son headed home to try and understand what had happened.
Principal Alan made Michael tell the story a dozen times. Michael got bored of the talk and wanted to go out and celebrate his new freedom. He spent the evening with friends, and Principal Alan spent the evening worrying about him.