Focus on Christ Meditations: 40. Miracle Worker (4)
Acts 2:22 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
Well, we said we would consider healings, deliverances, raising the dead and then other miscellaneous miracles, as we consider Jesus as a miracle worker. So now we come to the last of that list, miscellaneous or general miracles.
The Synoptics show us Jesus:
- calming the Storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 8:23-27, Mk 4:35-41, Lk 8:22-25)
- feeding the 5000 (Mt 14:13-21, Mk 6:30-44, Lk 9:10-17)
- walking on water (Mt 14:22,23, Mk 6:45-52)
- feeding the 4000 (Mt 15:32-39, Mk 8:1-13)
Then John shows us Jesus:
- turning water into wine at Cana (Jn 2:1-11)
- feeding the five thousand (Jn 6:1-15)
- walking on water (Jn 6:16-21)
In addition to these five very obvious miracles we might also add:
- the miraculous catch of fish early on (Lk 5:1-11)
- Jesus providing a coin for Peter (Mt 17:24-27)
- Jesus shriveling the fig tree (Mt 21:18-22, Mk 11:12-14)
- The second miraculous catch of fish (Jn 21:4-11)
Now, trying to categorize and summarise these miracles we see that they show the following abilities that the Son of God exhibited. He was able to:
- Change the elements (the storm calmed).
- Overcome natural aspects of the elements (walking on water) and to this one we might add, after he was raised, the ability to pass through locked doors and apparently transport himself over distances faster than humans.
- Extending or changing natural elements (feeding the crowds and turning water into wine).
- Removing life from natural elements (fig tree)
- Make natural elements turn up where previously that had been none (catches of fish and coin in mouth of fish)
Now I am aware that some of these descriptions are not very precise but I would suggest that is because of the nature of ‘a miracle’, which isn’t always easy to categorize in either cause, nature or extent. However, perhaps we may try to distil come lessons from these things:
- Miracles always cause controversy as to their nature, cause or extent, simply because they do go against our natural understanding of ‘nature’.
- Miracles are not extensions of natural phenomena but are specific interventions by God to change the natural cause of nature.
- These miracles above are included in the Gospels because a) they happened and are therefore naively and simply recorded as they were seen, and b) it would appear in Matthew’s case used to reveal Jesus expressing the kingdom or rule of God, and in John’s case to reveal the unique Son of God.
- These ‘general miracles’ as well as the many healings and few instances of raising people from the dead, all extol or elevate the person of Jesus Christ above any other human figure and reveal him, as we have just said, as the bringer of the kingdom of God, the Son of God from heaven, with the power and authority of the Godhead behind him.
In a dark room, the flashbulb of a camera momentarily reveals the contents of the room. In the Gospels, the ‘flash’ goes off again and again as we see a healing, a deliverance, a raising of the dead, and then an even brighter ‘flash’ in the form of one of these more ‘general miracles’. If our eyes are closed we won’t see either the flash or what it reveals; if our eyes are open we will see both the flash and the reality it momentarily reveals. The heart that starts out, “This cannot be!” will not recognize the ‘flash’ (denying a miracle of Jesus) and will certainly remain blind to the logical consequences that must follow. The person who comes with an open heart, seeking truth, being willing to weigh the evidence, this person sees the ‘flash’ – recognizes the miracle – and realises the consequences – these reveal the unique Son of God, Jesus Christ.
I have taken time with four studies looking at this aspect of Jesus’ ministry because I believe that only by facing the pile of evidence will our unbelief be challenged. Unbelief reigns in the world and, tragically, in the church. I witness it every time a prophetic word is brought (“Is this really from God?”), or a healing received (“Well I was probably going to get better anyway” or “Well the body has its natural healing tendencies, doesn’t it.”) or an apparent raising from the dead is recounted (“Well they weren’t actually dead were they!”)
Why do we allow such ungodly attitudes to prevail in our lives when the Scriptures are FULL of supernaturally miraculous accounts – healing, deliverances, raisings, general miracles – that scream at us, “God IS all powerful and can do what He likes with His world, and so often He does it to bless His people – and Jesus came to reveal the Father by doing these things and showing His love for us, so why? Because we listen more to the world and the foolish and so often ignorant crusading atheists and little to God through His word and His Spirit! It is time for that to change!