Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This Beginning of Miracles

  Life of Christ 26

         One of the most noticeable things about Jesus Christ is His miracles. Every time we turn around in the Gospels we find Him healing this one, or cleansing that one, or raising another one. He had, via the Holy Spirit, the power to suspend natural law at will, and He exercised it frequently. Why? Of course, Jesus was a man of great compassion, and He loved to minister to people in need, but was there a greater purpose for His miracles, beyond just helping the individual in question? I believe the answer is yes, and I want to share it with you today.
          For thirty years Jesus had lived a hidden life, tucked away from public view as the town carpenter in Nazareth. Now, as He launches into His public ministry, He must begin to reveal to Israel just exactly Who and what He is, as her messiah, and as the Son of God. One of the primary ways He does this is by exercising His miraculous power.
          There are six different original language words used for 'miracle' in the New Testament. The most commonly used one is used in this passage (John 2.1-11). The definition implies that the miracle is an indication designed to point beyond the actual event toward the meaning behind it. In other words, the miracle is secondary in importance, and the point of it is that it actually points toward something else. Not coincidentally, the King James Version often translates this word as 'sign', thus stating that the miraculous action was explicitly designed to direct one's attention toward something or someone.
          Andrew Fairbain, a nineteenth century Scottish preacher, explained it this way when he wrote his Studies in the Life of Christ:

They were made to prove that He possessed supernatural power, could exercise it directly, by a word or act of the will, without any intermediate or instrumental agency. He could anticipate the slow and normal action of natural forces and processes, as in changing water into wine; could control the fiercest of elements, as in calming the storm; could create, as in multiplying the loaves and fishes; could undo accomplished deeds, not only repeal laws of nature, but cancel events that had happened from their universal and necessary operation, as in raising the dead. These were made to argue Deity, Divine power possessed by nature and exercised by right. But miracles thus became the guarantee of His real being, evidences of His nature and mission. They were His credentials; He was to be believed, not for His own or His truth’s sake, but for His works.

          The Jews of Jesus' day well knew that, historically, God had used miracles first to establish the veracity of His messenger, Moses (Exodus 4.8). Moses' miracles, a hand turned leprous and then cleansed again, and a rod turned to a snake and back again, were designed to authenticate him as a messenger from God, and by extension his message of God-sent deliverance from slavery in Egypt. The same is true with Jesus Christ.
          The miracles that He performed not only authenticated His claims, but revealed His authority. He didn't bring in the Kingdom with His first coming, but ere long He will return a second time, and when He comes back He will sit on a throne ruling a kingdom that extends over the entire earth. The authority He will exercise then is revealed in momentary glimpses in His first coming.
          In His first coming, He stilled the storm and walked on the water. In the Kingdom He will have complete authority over nature. In His first coming, He fed thousands with one lunch. In that Kingdom there will be no hunger or need. In His first coming, with authority, He cast out demons. In that Kingdom, Satan will be bound a thousand years and then cast into hell. In His first coming, He healed the blind, the lame, and the leprous. In that Kingdom there will be no sickness and no disease. In His first coming, He raised the widow's son and Lazarus from the dead. In that Kingdom no one will die, ever.
          Do you need a miracle? Then in coming to Jesus you have come to the right place. I do not mean that in the sense of the showy charismatic way, but in the sense of quiet faith that rests upon God in prayer in its time of need.
          John well named the wedding feast at Cana 'this beginning of miracles' (John 2.11). He has not stopped performing miracles. That was only the beginning. Beloved, He is still the same miracle working Jesus now that He was back then. Believe that today, dear Christian. Believe Him today. And then glorify Him when He works that miracle in your life.
          He is Who He said He was. His works prove it.

If you would like to listen to the audio sermon that accompanies this blog post you may find it here. Just press 'launch media player' and choose We Preach Christ 10, 'This Beginning of Miracles.'

1 comment:

  1. Love the observation about the word 'Sign'!

    Mark 2:10-11 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.