Miracles

Miracles (Mark 2:1-12)

There is more to Jesus’ miracles than his particular actions: He was on a journey ordained by God. As Jesus defined it…

Luke 4:18-19

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus’ purpose was not to attract followers with a good show but to transform lives because of who he was. Any freedom given, healing performed, and release from oppression was for the specific purpose of revealing what God is about or, at least, as foundation to a teaching point and the proclamation of the good news.

Not everyone understood this purpose, and often Jesus needed to restate the deeper point or step back to allow the depth of the event to sink in.

We see this in two related passages…

Mark 3:1-6

Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Jesus confronts the stubborn and closed hearts of the people before healing the man’s hand. In contrast, feeding the people with a few loaves and fishes was meant to overwhelm the crowd to gain access to their hearts by opening their eyes first.

Mark 8:1-10

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

Expectation

Regardless of the approach, notice that people expected God to perform miracles. Quite possibly, we have lost that “awe factor” and expectation in our faith since we live on this side of the Enlightenment and explain away miracles as natural events, coincidences, or uniquely uncommon situations (“luck” or “fate”). In doing so, we miss the “awe” miracles were intended to produce; “awe” not as amazement as much as a deeper reverence for the power of God. What tragedy and loss we experience when we fail to appreciate how creatively God works to reveal his care and love. Often, we don’t even expect it.

Today when ordinary lives encounter an extraordinary God, we tend to focus on the particulars of the moment rather than the One causing the miracle. When an authentic miracle is obvious, we tend to miss the blessing of the moment in an attempt to understand the details. God may well be in the moment but missed by our desire to find out “how” or “why” it was accomplished.

Word From God

I believe in miracles today. There is too much evidence to dismiss God’s miraculous activity as confined only to biblical times. It isn’t a surprise that Jesus spoke directly to the sin of the lame man in Mark 2, and I would expect God to speak in the same way today.

The problem is not that God doesn’t display his power and message in miracles today; it is our apathy to his activity and our unwillingness to be changed by it.

evesadam

We need to open our eyes and see what God is doing daily in our lives and the lives of others.

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2 Comments »

  1. Paul said

    I really enjoyed reading this post, but I suppose people’s views of miracles are interpreted differently based on theology and where they fall in the greater debate. I for one, with the miracles attributed to restoring the sight of the blind, believe it shouldn’t be read simply in the context of the literal blind, but the spiritually blind as well (but that’s just me), thus I believe the miracles of Christ extends to all of us, is amplified, and magnified through this lens.

    • evesadam said

      Paul — I for one, with the miracles attributed to restoring the sight of the blind, believe it shouldn’t be read simply in the context of the literal blind, but the spiritually blind as well (but that’s just me), thus I believe the miracles of Christ extends to all of us, is amplified, and magnified through this lens.

      I agree at times it is the spiritually blind, look at the disciples they were with Jesus and was taught by Jesus, they understood but yet did not understand. It is like that with us. How many times can you read a section of Scriptures and just read it but then all of a sudden while reading it for the umpteen time you say that’s what it is. It has happened to me many times.

      In John 9 the blind was literally the physical blind.

      When we read Scriptures we need to read it in context with the verses before and after to see how it was used.

      We can change God’s Word but that does not change God’s Word.

      Thanks for the comment.
      evesadam

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