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Of Marvels, Miracles, and Jesus' Message!

Somebody told about a guide taking some American tourists through Old Jerusalem. As they walked along the guide pointed to an old brick wall in the narrow street ahead. "Here at this location is one of the greatest miracles of all," he announced. "You pray at this spot, and money pours out of the wall. Many pilgrims come here to receive the benefits of its miraculous powers." Coming closer, the tourists saw he was pointing to an automatic teller machine! The word "miracles" is heard often. People are heard exclaiming, "It's a miracle!" about everything from a baby's birth to a beautiful sunset to a recovery from serious sickness. And truly, life is filled with things we can correctly refer to as "marvels." A "marvel" is defined as "something that causes wonder or astonishment; intense interest." Many things in life can and should be described as "marvelous." If you've ever seen a baby's birth (or a calf or pony or puppy) or a brilliant sunset that transforms the sky into a painting of breathtaking beauty, or a spider weaving her web, or the inside of a tulip in full bloom, you've seen marvels that evoke wonder and amazement! An awesome Creator filled our world with marvelous things that arrest our attention and evoke our praise. In the words of Psalm 11:2-3, "The works of LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, And his righteousness endures forever."

All "the works of the Lord" we see around us in "nature" and the "natural world" are marvels. But are these marvels miracles? Not in the Bible sense. Miracles in the Bible were more than just God's "normal" activity through nature. A "miracle" in Bible times was an extraordinary event of divine intervention in human affairs. The special acts of creation in Genesis 1, the birth of Isaac to a hundred-year old Abram and his 90-year-old wife Sarai, the parting of the Red Sea, etc., etc., etc. — the Bible's pages are saturated with accounts of miracles — awesome and extraordinary occurrences where God very directly intervened in human affairs, causing things that cannot be explained by the operation of normal laws of nature. The birth of Jesus to a virgin, and His resurrection from the dead are not just marvels, they are miracles!

Jesus was a worker of miracles par excellence. Matthew chapters 8 and 9 record at least eleven of twenty miracles Matthew records. In these miracles Jesus displayed authority over demons, disease, death — and even a stormy sea! One motive behind Jesus' miracles was compassion (9:36), but the primary purpose for them is seen in Matthew 8:271 After Jesus calmed a story sea with His word, the apostles "marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" The miracles of Jesus point to His unlimited authority as God's Son! We ought to listen to His message because He is "the Christ, the Son of God" (John 20:30-31)!is miracles prove Him to be, to quote the apostle Peter, "Lord of all" (Acts 10:36). To sum up, the marvels of nature evoke our wonder. But Jesus' miracles go further.  In Matthew 14:33, after Jesus walked on water and snatched Peter from drowning, the Bible says, "those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God.' " If demons and diseases and even death are subject to Jesus' power, so are we. That's the message behind Jesus' miracles.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ