Summary: Miracles are sudden inbursts of God’s love into His world and our lives, and attract attention to the truth of the Gospel.
February 3, 2009
“since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The sheer power of this passage makes many scholars believe that the whole letter to the Hebrews was an early sermon or retreat conference on the mission and grace of Jesus. Its coincidence with today’s feast, and the Gospel that recounts two miracles of Jesus that happened within minutes of each other, makes us consider whether there are miracles in our day.
I have witnessed and experienced miracles in my life. Most have been spiritual and emotional, but some, like the healing of the arthritic pain in my left knee during a prayer service, have been physical. Healings are exhibitions of divine power. Miracles happen quickly, with no apparent physical explanation. And because they happen quickly, they are hard to prove scientifically. One day the tumor is there; the next day it is gone. Was the first CAT scan done in error? Was the man really unable to walk, or was it psychosomatic? God never forces our belief, because if He did, he would not be respecting our free will. He would be treating us as not made in His own image and likeness.
But miracles are real; they were real for Jesus and the apostles. In fact, the Acts of the Apostles was written to show that the work of Jesus continued at the hands of his apostles and deacons and laity. The work of miracles attracts attention, but the real miracle is the bursting in of grace into their world and ours. And this world needs the healing touch of Jesus, not primarily on the economy, not even primarily on our Texas drought. The healing touch of Jesus is especially needed on our unbelief, our rebellion against God’s law, and our horrible hubris. Come, Lord Jesus, heal the hearts of your people, and by your Holy Spirit enflame us with love.