Miracle - Do You Believe?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 24, 2013 0 comments

Probably the most dramatic and most famous sports moment in the last century or so was when the United States of America men’s Olympic hockey team defeated the heavily-favored Soviet team in the semi-finals of the 1980 Winter Olympics. That moment was dramatic not only because the USA team was a collection of amateur and less-talented players that took down the Soviet team consisting of seasoned professionals, but also because it came at a time of great tension between the two “superpowers” at the forefront of the Cold War. The idea that the USA team could score a victory for themselves and the American people was considered nearly impossible. But that is precisely why the movie created about the event was titled “Miracle”, inspired by the call of the great announcer Al Michaels as the final seconds ticked off the clock: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

That question is one that all of us must answer. No, I’m not talking about just within the realm of sports, although it certainly applies there. I’m talking about in each and every one of our lives. What are the miracles that you are desperately hoping for in your life, and do you BELIEVE that God can do it? Or, is the overwhelming evidence against such possibilities causing you to doubt the power and will of God? These questions don’t necessarily need to be answered publicly when you’re in the midst of needing a miracle, but it is paramount that you know what you believe because you will place your trust in whatever that is – either God’s sovereignty or human understanding.

That truth was just as evident when Jesus walked the earth and before as it is right now. Last summer, we wrote blogs on the topic of “faith”. In the one I wrote, I mentioned that Jesus was “astonished” by the faith of the centurion (a Gentile) who believed that Jesus could heal his servant by simply saying the word (Matthew 8:8-10). The centurion’s faith informed his understanding of his particular crisis. Rather than put his faith in what anyone else thought, he believed that his servant’s life was completely in the hands of Jesus and that his will could be done simply by his word.

The Greek word for “astonished” in that story is “thaumadzo”, and there is only one other place in the New Testament where it is used. In Mark 6:1-6, we read about the attitude that many in Jesus’ hometown had toward him when he returned there with his disciples. The Word says that when they heard his wonderful teaching, they took offense at him, because they knew he and his family well and knew that he had been a mere carpenter and the son of Mary (v. 3). Mark then goes on to tell us that Jesus was “amazed” at their lack of faith (v. 6). The word once again in that verse is “thaumadzo”. Do you see my point? There were only two things recorded in the Bible that “amazed” Jesus. The first was when he found faith in a place that it would not have been expected (the Gentile). The second was when he realized faith was absent in his hometown, where people (Jews) had all the advantages and every reason to believe. What a lesson for so many churches today! Those of us that have accepted Christ as our personal Lord and Savior because of the revelation that only comes through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives have every reason to put our faith in Jesus during difficult circumstances. But do we truly believe that a miracle can still be done, or do we just assume that it is a thing of the past?

You’ve probably heard the saying “familiarity breeds contempt”. It is certainly applicable here. The people in Jesus’ hometown were familiar with him in regards to his family and his occupation. They got so used to viewing Jesus within the framework that they saw him previously that they were unwilling to accept him as something greater. They were unwilling to believe that this mere carpenter could have the power of God in him, because that would mean a lot of other things about their lives would have to change in addition to their view of him.

Friends, there is a big difference between NO-belief and UN-belief. Some people don’t believe in the power of Jesus to do miracles because they simply don’t have a relationship with him or have never understood what it means to surrender to him and trust him completely. But the people that “amazed” Jesus in a negative way and sometimes even angered him were the ones who had the knowledge and relationship with him, yet were simply unwilling to believe anything about him that would be outside of the “box” in which they viewed him. Mark 6:5 tells us that Jesus “could not do any miracles (in his hometown), except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them”. It was the unwillingness of the people to believe in Jesus’ power that limited what he was able to do there. Now, please understand that man’s unbelief is not stronger than God’s power and that is not the reason Jesus wasn’t able to do the miracles.

The fact that he did heal the few sick people who came to him proves that. Rather, God has a principle of partnership with man. It was not God’s plan to “wow” everyone into believing in Jesus. Instead, God requires faith in action as part of our relationship with Him. Jesus was not able to do the miracles in his hometown because people were likely not even giving him the chance. Sure, he could have called fire down from heaven so that all could see. But in terms of doing miracles in the lives of the people, he wasn’t about to supernaturally act when they weren’t even willing to come to him and put their faith in him.

If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I urge you to live in such a way that you know that anything is possible according to his will and that he will never leave you or forsake you. One of my favorite miracle stories in the Old Testament is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. Their response to King Nebuchadnezzar when asked to account for their refusal to bow down to his statue is inspiring. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king” (3:17). They proclaimed their belief that God was able to perform a miracle and save them from the furnace, yet did not box Him into doing things “their way”. They understood that even if God chose not to act in that specific way, He would still rescue them from the king’s hand one way or another. You see, friends, even death would have been considered a form of rescue in their minds because it meant no more physical pain, and then everlasting life, which is a miracle in itself. Their BELIEF allowed them to see past the temporary trials and look to God, the provider of all miracles. It also allowed them to put their FULL trust in His sovereignty. If you want to see miracles in your life and in your church, you’ve got to believe in who God says He is, and then put that faith into action!