John Wesley still speaks. Wesley, a messenger and prophet of God saw and heard something of heaven and boldly spoke about it. Wesley like John the Baptist is the ‘voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.’ This reflection offers a present-day interpretation, application, and exposition of Wesley’s ministry in our contemporary context. Wesley’s ministry and text written for an eighteen century audience, l believe still speaks as a voice in the wilderness. The wilderness John Wesley found himself was replica of John the Baptist wilderness. Wilderness in this context is not physical desert, but a symbol of opposition, ‘the inhospitable and unwelcoming, the hostile and the savage.’ Wesley faced the dark and hostile forces of the political and religious alliances.
Wesley is a model for today. His testimonies and story are of great inspiration to us. Wesley is a voice quite literally like John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness. It is evident that we are in a time of political and spiritual wilderness. Wesley preached with great Holy Spirit and power despite all that was against him. The elites have no need of an evangelist and prophet. Regardless of the oppositions, presently, over 200 million Christians attend churches whose roots can be traced back to the ministry of John Wesley. The churches include the Methodists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Wesleyans and Charismatics. Amazing power was demonstrated in the life of this Christ-like leader and evangelist, John Wesley. It is on record that Wesley as a voice in the wilderness cast out demons coupled with cases of miraculous healing through the power in Jesus’ name.
One of the lesser-known stories in which Wesley was used by God for miraculous healing was the case of Mr Meyrick who was sick at the same time Wesley himself did. While Wesley recovered, Meyrick continued to decline, and eventually died. Wesley writes in his journal – December 15, 1742, ‘I preached at Horsley-upon-Tyne, eight (computed) miles from Newcastle. It was about two in the afternoon. The house not containing the people, we stood in the open air, in spite of the frost. I preached again in the evening, and in the morning. We then chose to walk home, having each of us catched a violent cold by riding the day before. Mine gradually wore off; but Mr. Meyrick’s increased, so that, on Friday, he took his bed … When I came home, they told me the Physician said, he did not expect Mr. Meyrick would live till the morning. I went to him, but his pulse was gone. He had been speechless and senseless for some time. A few of us immediately joined in prayer: (I relate the naked fact:) Before we had done, his sense and his speech returned. Now, he that will account for this by natural causes, has my free leave: But I choose to say, This is the power of God … The Physician told me he could do no more; Mr. Meyrick could not live over the night. I went up, and found them all crying about him; his legs being cold, and (as it seemed) dead already. We all kneeled down, and called upon God with strong cries and tears. He opened his eyes, and called for me; and, from that hour, he continued to recover his strength, till he was restored to perfect health. — I wait to hear who will either disprove this fact, or philosophically account for it.’ Wesley, a voice in the wilderness of death and sickness choose to say about the miraculous restoration of Mr Meyrick to life, “This is the power of God.”
Wesley’s claim was based on the power and prayer of agreement with others. Prior to Wesley’s day, there had already began a deterioration of the Word of God in the hearts and lives of the people. There was drift from the Truth of God’s Word that when the people heard the real truth, they hardly recognised it. We are living in a time when Christianity values are under attack and not only in this nation but all over the world. The mission and works of Wesley summons us to reveal the power and presence of God in our political and spiritual wilderness. Wesley as a voice cries out in our wilderness to open our hearts to the reality of the power in the blood and name of Jesus. Wesley’s message is one of repentance and holiness. John Wesley as a voice in the wilderness of our secular culture calls us to repent, to change, to welcome Jesus as Saviour, as the Way, the Truth and the Life.