By David Faust
Recently I talked with a young woman who visited our church at the invitation of her friend. She was curious about what it means to become a Christian, so I talked with her about Jesus. After explaining about his death on the cross, I said, “And three days later, he came back to life again.”
The woman’s face looked troubled. “I’m not sure I buy that,” she blurted out. As we continued our conversation, it became clear that she was genuinely open to the gospel; but when confronted with the faith-stretching reality of Jesus’ resurrection, she needed time to process it.
Her frank reaction made me wonder, Do we take biblical miracles seriously enough? Do we understand why they matter? Unfortunately, longtime students of the Bible can become so familiar with God’s wonders that we no longer find them impressive.
Does Jesus’ resurrection still startle us? It should! There’s nothing commonplace about rising from the dead. If we take for granted the water we drink, how will we feel awed when we read about Jesus turning water into wine? If we seldom thank God for the intricate interactions of retina, lens, pupil, and optic nerve that allow us to see, we probably won’t bow in amazement when we read how Jesus gave sight to a man born blind. We can be sure that when Jesus healed “the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others” (Matthew 15:30), the crowds didn’t greet his miracles with a shrug.
The psalmist wrote, “I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:11, 12). What can we discover by pondering God’s mighty deeds?
The miracles described in God’s Word are evidential. They established the trustworthiness and authority of the one who performed them. When Jesus changed water into wine, it wasn’t a random magic trick; it was a sign that revealed his glory and moved observers to believe in him (John 2:11). The Gospel of John is filled with the “sign language” of Jesus’ miracles—evidence that moves us to believe in Christ (John 20:30, 31). To establish the Master’s messianic credentials, Peter announced, “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22). When the disciples went out and preached, the Lord “confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:20).
Further, biblical miracles are educational. Just as Jesus’ miracles were part of the spiritual development of his people in the first century, they still bolster our faith today. They teach us about God’s existence (he is real) and his imminence (he is near). They remind us that the creator of the universe can intervene whenever and however he chooses. They reveal the Lord’s power over nature and his compassion for those in need.
Most of all, the miracles recorded in Scripture are encouraging. They foreshadow how God ultimately will defeat disease, death, and the devil. No problem is too difficult for God to solve, no obstacle too large for him to move. When we read about Jesus’ mighty works in the Bible, let’s learn from them and marvel at them with childlike wonder. After all, Christianity isn’t a superficial faith; it’s a supernatural faith.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
|Jan. 18||M.||Psalm 77:11-15||The Mighty Deeds of God|
|Jan. 19||T.||Acts 2:22-28||The Resurrected Messiah|
|Jan. 20||W.||John 9:1-11||The Gift of Sight|
|Jan. 21||T.||Matthew 15:29-38||The Gift of Health|
|Jan. 22||F.||Matthew 5:21-26||The Clean Gift|
|Jan. 23||S.||Luke 4:16-24||The Healing Mission of Jesus|
|Jan. 24||S.||John 2:1-12||Water to Wine|
Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © 2011, unless otherwise indicated.