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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I believe in Jesus's Miracles

I have been reading the Gospel of Matthew and came to the passage in chapter 8 where he heals a man with leprosy by touching him, heals a centurion's servant by just saying the word, heals Peter's mother-in-law and performs other miracles. The following passage drew my attention as well:

"When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." (v.16-17)

As I read this passage and thought about it, it impressed several things on me. First, Jesus didn't heal to show off anything. He wasn't doing to call attention, though it is clear from Scripture that Messiah (The Savior), the God-man who would have special credentials to prove he was who he said he was. One of them would be to heal. He would show that he was God in the flesh (Immanuel).  Second, his miracles point to his compassion and mercy. The last part of the passage above says "he took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." This shows that he was willing to take upon him our weaknesses and our diseases.  But why? Wasn't it more important for him to care about the souls of those who were sick and troubled? They would eventually die physically so why bother? He had compassion and mercy.

But more than this, I believe that Jesus knew that the state in which people lived, filled with pain and suffering, was not God's plan. This was not what He intended for us.  The life God has intended for us is a life in communion with Him. A life that is free from all pain and suffering. For Him, all the miracles he performed were a reversal or restoration of what God intended and intends to do in the end.  It is what the normal should be. Miracles were not supernatural events or deeds, they were natural. It wasn't the suspension of natural laws, but the restoration. A more in depth philosophical treatment of this was done by C.S. Lewis.

One can still believe in the miracles of Jesus and deny they happen now. It may appear easier to believe what Jesus did then, but not believe it is possible for God to act now on our behalf. We live in a modern world where the supernatural is not accepted and easily rejected (though many believe in meaningless mysticism some vague forms of supernaturalism unlinked to God). My belief is that God still does miracles. Many miracles are easily discounted such as the miracle of life. From the moment of conception, life is a miracle. One an argue that is the result of two people, but is it? What makes that heart beat at the right moment? How is it possible for something that dies like ourselves to pass on life or do we? How is it that I get up everyday and everything in my body still works? What holds it together? Is it really me? There are so many things we can go on mentioning that appear to be natural explanations but have their being in God himself, the God of miracles.

The God who acted in Jesus, acts now in this world. We can discount him with our own logical explanations but in the end they all fall flat devoid of meaning causing us to feel less human and more like meaningless machines. Only the God of miracles can give us meaning in spite of what tragedies and suffering we experience here. God is not done intervening. He will continue to do so and everything will one day will be recreated and be what He always intended it to be.

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