when miracles get in the way of transformation

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Coffee and Scripture, October 24

This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. – John 2

My Wednesday evening men’s group is taking a serious look at the Gospel of John. It is my favorite account of the ministry of Jesus. I love the way John hones in on just a few miracle stories, all offered to illustrate unique truths about what God was up to in and through The Incarnation.

One of the guys said something about how readily people might believe if Jesus walked in and dropped a few miracles on us today. Then someone else pointed out that in this “Water into Wine” story it’s only a few servants and his disciples who know what happened.

He was right. Jesus is typically anything but showy. The miracles may have had an impact on those already following the Great Teacher, but they clearly were not about persuading people to believe.

Here’s what I think:

“Here’s what I think,” I said. “I think miracles quite often actually got in the way of what Jesus was looking to accomplish. The more people followed him around because he was doing something spectacular, the less they were in a position to experience the real miracle Jesus had come for! I’m talking about the amazing gift of a renewed relationship with God and people living transformed lives of faith.”

I continued. “The bottom line here is that – after a couple of years – Jesus really had to go. The more his followers relied on him – there in person – the more rooted their faith was going to become in the narrow limitations of time and space.

“Imagine if Jesus had lived to be seventy, or eighty years old. Everything would have been revolving around the physical presence of Jesus for decades. The movement would have been limited by the constraints of time and space, restricted to the presence of the man, Jesus.

“So he had to go. And the sooner the better. The most profound and transformational miracle Jesus offered – and continues to offer today – is that of a restored relationship with God and all the light and life and grace and hope and promise that brings into play.

“Jesus himself said, ‘I could raise someone from the dead and tomorrow you still would not believe without another sign!’

“Jesus offers abundant, real, beautiful, authentic life. Right here, right now.”

author Derek Maul lives, attends church, and writes in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Yeah, I do that sometimes, I kill the conversation in our Bible-study group with a monologue that comes out of the back of my brain and the deep places in my soul. Never planned. Then I get up the next morning, turn on my computer, and realize I should write down some of what I’m thinking, and some of what I said!

So here we are – Thursday morning with scripture and a cup of coffee. Why don’t you join me?

In love, and because of love – DEREK


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