Signs and Wonders


So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.”
(John 4:48 NASB)
Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off.
(John 4:50 NASB)
This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
(John 4:54 NASB)



Jesus had all the power of heaven and earth at his disposal. He could have put on great "magic" shows and yet this was not his mode of action. Instead Jesus came and lived a rather ordinary life until he began his public ministry. Even as he began that ministry he was cautious about his use of power. He didn't want people to be attracted to the power, but to knowing God in truth. I think we can hear the frustration in Jesus' voice when he says, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe." It is after this moment that Jesus goes ahead and heals the leaders son, however, he does it in a very low-key manner. Jesus isn't even present when the boy is healed but instead, in a quiet moment in the home, the boy is simply better. However, the people recognize that this healing comes at the moment that Jesus has spoken. His power is so great that he doesn't have to perform signs and wonders, but can simply speak, from a distance and his will is done. This is to know God in truth for it reveals his nature where it is simply normal for him to be able to speak and creation responds.



In some ways I think the people may have been a bit disappointed in Jesus that day. I'm guessing they were hoping for a good show and instead they experienced the gentleness of God. Too often we're looking for the "signs and wonders" that we believe are going to reveal God through some kind of big show. However, if we look at Jesus as our example, we discover that he did not work in this way. The goal of our life is to get to know Christ and the way to do that is to seek him daily with all of our being. A life of holiness means that we are constantly and daily being transformed into the very likeness of Christ. As we are transformed into his likeness we begin to take on his characteristics, which includes our involvement in Christ-like behaviors.

Throughout history there have always been those who have had the ability to perform miracles. Most of those who have participated in genuine miracles are God's humble servants who try hard to keep themselves out of the limelight or attention. Why? Because they want the world to see Christ and not them. One of my favorite healing stories comes from the fourth century and a woman by the name of Macrina. She was the sister of St. Basil the Great and she had developed a monastery in their community. Her entire life was devoted to become like Christ and the longer she lived, the more she became like Jesus. A soldier and his wife brought their baby with an eye disease to see her, hoping for a miracle. Macrina was a woman of God, but she also practiced medicine. She promised them some eye ointment but encouraged them to stay with the community of faith through the dinner hour. The man spent time in prayer with the men of the community and he was overcome with their devotion to God. The wife had the same experience with the women of the monastery. After dinner they headed home and were simply reflecting on how they had experienced God in that place -- and then realized they had forgotten to get the medicine for the baby. The baby was with them and when they looked down into the babies eyes, they discovered the child had been healed. There was no fanfare -- there was simply a community of faith loving God in truth day in and day out -- and a child was healed. Macrina was taking on the characteristics of Jesus, and this included his ability to heal, but she didn't want people coming to experience "signs and wonders" but God himself.

What are we looking for today? Yes, there are times that we are praying for miracles. There are people having surgery today for whom I pray for a miracle! And yet -- do we only want the miracle, or are we wanting to get to know the one who performs the miracles. God loves us and wants us to know him -- not just the things he can do for us.



Lord, I pray that you would help me to desire you -- on a personal level -- on a daily basis. Amen.


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