- In our world today we have on one hand people who are starving for the miraculous. Worn out by our flat materialistic, consumeristic world and are desperate for something more. And on the other hand we have churches that are flooded by the miraculous. They not only preach and promote signs and wonder, it’s their whole purpose.
- But today we’re going to see that the Bible is not so one-sided about miracles. There is a dark-side. That the very miracles of God can themselves become a shroud that blinds us from Jesus, the Gate to Life Himself.
- John 4:43-54
- Recap – Jesus is leaving after 2 days in Samaria.
- Remember the bad blood between them and the Jews
- Remember the Samaritan woman who came to faith, and then the rest of the town did as well.
- They have been hosting Jesus after realizing He was the Messiah.
- Now He returns to Galilee (Jewish country).
- John remarks a comment of Jesus’ that a prophet has no honour in His hometown (or homeland), which at first seems odd since Jesus is being welcomed by His countrymen, the Galileans…
- As He comes to Cana, a royal official comes pleading for Jesus to heal his sick son.
- V 48, Jesus’ response is startling – His response is a rebuke.
- It’s a response not simply to the man but to all the people. To the Jews.
- This rebuke cuts deep. “You will not believe if you do not see signs and wonders.”
- It cuts deep firstly because as Jews it’s a indictment against their faithfulness. These are the people of God, and they have the holy scripture and have been guided by the prophets. Of all people in the world they should be ready to believe God when He appears in their midst. Yet they do not. In spite of their perceived exceptionality they fail to recognize Jesus unless He does something astonishing.
- Secondly, it’s an indictment against their human nature. They are following after their base level instincts and desires. Not guided by wisdom from God or faith, but from being wowed and amazed and hoping to gain physical benefits from Jesus.
- All of the sudden John’s comment earlier becomes clear. The welcome that Jesus has received from the Galileans was the not the joy of welcoming the presence of the Saviour, of Jesus Himself.
- They were excited for miracles.
- The opposite of the Samaritans (not Jesus’ people) who honoured Him when they hosted Him in their country. John records for us no miracles while He was in Samaria, rather His time there was spent in teaching and conversation. They honoured Him as another person, and as God.
- The Jews want miracles from a miracle worker, they don’t really care who does it.
- The royal official doesn’t care who Jesus is when he comes to Him. He wants his son healed and he has heard this guy Jesus can work miracles.
- This is typical of the people He is trying to reach and so He rebukes them all to warn them.
- The royal official and his son are blessed. The son is healed the moment Jesus proclaims it so, and this household truly comes to have faith in Jesus.
- The warning and the danger here is real. Maybe this shook the official enough to save him.
- The miracle itself is a sign that in Jesus there is true life. The official’s son was dying and his physical life also represents spiritual life, the deeper, real life that drives everything about us as human beings. Jesus restored this boy’s life with a word!!! And then gave him a spiritual rebirth – gave him spiritual life. Physical life does have an end, but that inner part in us that cries out against death, that questions the big things like why we are here, and isn’t there something more, that fire is us goes on forever, and Jesus has the power to give that to us so that we spend forever in the presence of God. Jesus is the giver of life.
- It’s really hard to know what you’re missing when you’ve never experienced it before. The life Jesus gives is like that. Some of us experience deep emptiness or lostness, or the brokenness of our lives gets to be too much for us to ignore like we otherwise would do, and this leads us to discover Jesus. But we never know how much we were missing out on until we experience Him for ourselves.
- The depth and richness of my life increased beyond what I could have imagined. Worlds of possibility opened that had been closed. Most importantly I found that the life Jesus gives is fueled by unconditional love – the perfect love from God that makes everything else in this world small by comparison, and frees us from the world’s demands and shackles.
- The life Jesus offers is not a secret or something we have to work towards. Its freely given through our faith and repentance. Believing the Jesus died for your sin and brokenness, rejecting our sin in our lives, and believing that Jesus rose again from the dead unto a new life. When we trust and believe in Jesus God grants us a reborn spirit and a new start in this life, one where we live by His power and in His love.
- That’s a huge thing to miss out on, and by our broken human nature we take the things that Jesus was using to authenticate His ministry and we turn it into something that prevents us from having faith. Those things are the miracles.
- I’m not saying that miracles are all bad, nor that they don’t happen, nor that they don’t have good uses – miracles can lead us to faith in God.
- But they often don’t.
- We crave the sensational, to be wowed, awed, amazed, and we crave things that we can see, feel, and experience. Does it look amazing? Does it make me feel excited? Do I benefit – food, money, or healing?? We turn to miracles for our pleasure, amusement and advancement. When these things happen miracles do nothing but damn us in our brokenness and sin.
- When this is our approach to miracles we don’t care about the miracle maker – we accept charlatans and liars, we swap Jesus out.
- From what I’ve seen the vast majority of churches that trade in the miraculous don’t bring you to Jesus, they just shroud the gate. It’s fake – whether its human trickery or demonically supernaturally doesn’t matter because its simply devoid of the true Jesus.
- Jesus’ life and ministry was far more ordinary and plain. The real miracles of the Holy Spirit in our life happen everyday and we often don’t stop to notice. But we should.
- We need to orient ourselves to Jesus Himself, even when it might seem unexciting, to be sure we aren’t caught away in the miraculous. We need to cultivate wonder in the ordinariness of Jesus and in the ordinary ways God works in our lives.
This week pray and look for the ordinary miracles that God is working in your life.