Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Miracles We Overlook

As I read through the gospels I'm often startled at the number of miracles that were reported but 2000 years later tend to get ignored. Actually a lot of miracles Jesus performed gets ignored today. It seems fashionable to say, as Karl Beth says
His miracles were not to be a condition for the faith of men. They are not intended in the least to excite faith. On the contrary, Jesus aims at nothing more than to distract attention from his miraculous deeds.
In other words "Ignore Jesus' miracles, they're just a distraction." I agree that Jesus' miracles were not to be a condition of faith, but I disagree that they are not intended to excite faith. They're intended to do something, otherwise why bother to do them? I've heard it said that Jesus just performed miracles because in His time the world didn't believe His message. Like today is any better?

Personally I consider His miracles to be several things, one of which is to show His divine nature, another appears to be a statement showing us that if he can cure our bodies, he can cure our sinful nature. Miracles are only a part of His message, just as correct punctuation is part of a written message, a small part but a vital part. Jesus is the message, He is the Word, His entire time here on earth was a message, why should we ignore any part of it? especially the punctuation. Try making sense of this statement without punctuation:
That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is
How about the punctuation without the words:
We can all recognize the words but do we get the entire message? We can see the periods and commas and other punctuation but that doesn't give us a clue to the message. Let's try it again this time with the words and punctuation together:
That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is!
When we put them together we get a coherent message, so why not think of the miracles that Jesus performed as a part of His overall message. Jesus did agree with his adversaries that a miracle, no mater how awesome, cannot be considered a sign that one is sent from God... but then neither can the spoken statement, no mater how eloquently worded, be considered a sign that one is sent from God. Stating that you're the son of God is one thing. Stating that you're the son of God and punctuating that statement with a stroll across the sea of Gallilee is quite another. Saying we should love each other is one thing, punctuating that with touching a leper to comfort him is another thing, adding an exclamation point to that by curing the leper is still another.

We all know about changing water into wine, feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, raising the dead, but then there appears to be other miracles, little miracles, miracles we overlook. In fact I've never heard them called miracles, but when I look at them that's exactly what they are to me.
28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, He went His way. (Luke 4:30)
This is incredible, Jesus had just read Isaiah in the synagogue and in reading it He proclaimed that He was the messiah. The Jews were so angry they drove him to the edge of a cliff and He just strolled through the crowd and went about His his business. What happened? The crowd was in a killing frenzy ready to throw Jesus to his death, but Jesus walked away. Not off into the sunset, but right through the furious mob! Was it like a special effects masterpiece where suddenly everyone goes completely motionless and Jesus makes his way to safety through the frozen figures? Did He turn invisible and escape that way? Personally I think this was a foreshadowing of His post resurrection self where people didn't recognize Him until He chose to be recognized. The crowd suddenly didn't recognize him as Jesus. But this isn't the only time His life was threatened: 
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:58-59)
and again:
29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”  31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” .... 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. 40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. (John 10:29-31, 39-40)
Here's twice more when Jesus escaped death just by leaving. When someone was going to throw stones at you in ancient Israel it was a terminal thing, you were going to die. You don't just slip out of their grasp, you don't just step behind a nearby pillar and they forget you were there, you don't just stroll through an angry crowd bent on murder and go merrily on your way. Not without miraculous intervention. I may be wrong, but I firmly believe Jesus' time to die had not come yet, so God intervened to prevent any harm from happening to Him.

These overlooked miracles show His love and compassion for humanity. He could have done anything to stop the crowds from killing him: lightning bolts, rain of fire, turning them into newts, but instead He just walked away leaving them unharmed. Probably a bit confused but entirely unharmed. But very importantly He left their mental state alone, He left them still very angry at him, because He was going to need them to be angry in the near future, angry enough to kill.

I never hear about these occurrences used in any context. Have you? When I was in the Roman Catholic church they talked about miracles on occasion, the one miracle they talked about the most was changing water into wine, but they use that to justify their unbiblical worship of Mary. The Charismatic churches seem to talk about nothing but miracles, and the Evangelical churches seem to ignore them all together. We must find a happy medium in our own studies.

1 comment:

  1. I really love the miracle of the paralytic. It seems that not only did he heal the paralytic but he forgave him his sins at the same time. It leaves me wondering if the paralysis was a result of the sin. Apparently the paralytic man didn't ask him to heal his sins (it is not recorded) but his desperation to get to Jesus proved that he knew Jesus could help him. And the big question was; which was greater? Healing the body or Forgiving of Sin? In this case they were one and the same. Amazing.