This past Sunday I enjoyed seeing the kids faces after I “miraculously” turned water into wine (Kool-Aid actually). It was fun to pretend for just a moment that I could do what was only possible for Jesus. But that raises a question:
Why does Jesus work miracles?
It is a fair question to ask. After all, Jesus miracles were temporary, temporal events. They were a great blessing to those who experienced them, but only for a while. The 5000 who were fed grew hungry again, the disciples certainly faced other storms on the Sea, and even Lazarus who was raised from the dead eventually died again (we know since he isn’t here today.)
So why did Jesus work miracles? In some ways they pale in comparison to what he really came to accomplish – freeing people from their eternal sins by giving his life upon the cross.
As I see it, the miracles of Jesus teach us two important things. 1.) They show who he really is. 2. They show what he can do for us.
1.) They show who he really is. Throughout history there have been those who claimed exceptional powers. From magicians and fortune tellers to sorcerers and diviners, human people have always wished to gain control over the outside world. But we are merely human, part of creation and not rulers over it. We have been granted by our creator the gifts of artistry, ingenuity, and resourcefulness, but there are some things we cannot do.
Yet, Jesus comes with power over the physical world. He masters it and manipulates it, not for the sake of pride, but in order to benefits others. He brings order from chaos and rights the wrongs caused by sin and decay. He sets things as they should have been all along.
This teaches us who he really is. He is not one of us, but different. He has power over creation rather than having to live within it. He accomplishes that which only God can do.
2.) They show us what he can do for us. Yes, his miracles were helpful for those who enjoyed them. For a leper being healed or a bland man having sight restored the touch of Jesus brought abundant joy and a better life.
But the miracles, even those of healing were only temporary, not lasting fixes for a broken world. Yet the miracles do serve a greater purpose. They show what Jesus can do for us. True, we don’t experience the fullness of the promise yet, but the promise remains all the same. Someday we will live a miracle life. On that day we will be united with Jesus and every need, every ache, every pain will be permanently and wonderfully relieved. J.R.R Tolkien says it like this: at that time “everything sad will come untrue.”
Jesus came to heal the broken, feed the hungry, and calm the storms of this life. We should work to do the same as people who follow his lead. But ultimately, his miracles serve as windows into a better reality. They reveal the true life we were made for and that will one day be ours, not because we have earned it, but because he has done it. Jesus gave his life so that we could ours could be restored.