Wednesday, July 29, 2015

the anatomy of a miracle

 (C. Church  07/28/2015)

Whenever the name of 'Jesus Christ of Nazareth' is mentioned,
one thing that comes to mind is: miracles!  During the three years
of His public ministry, he performed miracles wherever He went.

John recorded that Jesus said,
"Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works
that I do shall he do also; because I go unto my Father."
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the
Father may be glorified in the Son."  ~ John 14:12-13

I believe in Jesus. I believe that He is the only begotten Son of God.
In fact, I believe everything that the Bible says about Him.
And yet...
Sometimes, even though I am praying fervently, I do not always see
the results that I was seeking.  But, Jesus said that "whatsoever we ask
in His name..."

And that got me to thinking...asking, "What are we doing wrong, Lord?"

When we are having difficulty understanding a set of circumstances, I
have discovered that the answer is ALWAYS in God's Word. 

The Word of God is eternal. It is a nail-in-a-sure-place.  It is never wrong.
It never fails.  In fact, we are assured that,
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
` Matthew 24:35

That reminds me of a saying spoken by the great evangelist, Smith Wigglesworth,
He said, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it!"
He believed so strongly in the authority of God's Word, that as far as he was
concerned, there was nothing else that could be considered in an argument.
Needless to say, his belief was so strong that actual, documented miracles
followed his ministry, everywhere he went.  Now that was about one hundred
years ago.

I often read about and hear reports from field missionaries concerning miracles
in their meetings.  I have to ask myself why we aren't seeing those things here,
in our own country.  We could debate that subject until Jesus returns, but I
wanted to know if there was something I was missing.  So, I went to the Word.

And what better place to begin than with the first recorded miracle in Jesus' life?

And that is where I discovered...the anatomy of a miracle.  It actually has parts.
I began to dissect and study each of the separate parts, and seeing how all were
necessary for the 'whole' to be strongest.  In other words, one or even two of
the parts was not enough, we need all of them, working together to reach the
desired outcome.

The story is commonly known as the Marriage at Cana, and I'm studying the
account found in:

John 2:1-11 (KJV)

1  "And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee;
   and the mother of Jesus was there:

2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him,
  They have no wine.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?
   mine hour is not yet come.

5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the
   purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water.
  And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor
  of the feast. And they bare it.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine,
   and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)
   the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine;
    and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast
    kept the good wine until now.

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth
    his glory; and his disciples believed on him."

We know the story well.  We've heard it many times.  Perhaps it is time to take
a closer look at it.

First, we see that Mary is in attendance at a wedding in Cana.  Cana is probably
only about 10-12 miles north of Nazareth, so it is likely that the bride and groom
were family members or very close friends.  Did you notice that Jesus and his friends
(his disciples) were also there, as invited guests.  They were 'called' to the wedding.
This means that they were invited beforehand, not merely summoned because there
was a problem.  Keep that in mind:  Jesus was already in the house!  No one had
to run out and find Him; He was there all the time.

Then, a problem arises.  The host has run out of wine.  We don't need to know how
Mary found out about this, but she did, and look what happens next.  She tells Jesus,
her son, "They have no wine."  Now, from His response to her flat statement, we can
rightfully discern that she intended for Him to do something about it.  Because, He
said to her, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come."
Basically, He said, "What's that to me, Mom? What do you expect me to do about it?
I didn't come here to show off."

So, the second part of a miracle in the making is that there is a need, a genuine need!

As a mother myself, I know that look.  I recognize the authority in her tone of voice.
She never hesitated, even when he mildly rebuked her.  She simply spoke the need,
and she spoke with the certainty that He would respond to her wishes.  It probably
never even occurred to her that He might not do what she asked of Him.

Her sincerity is unmistakable. There was a problem and she believed that He could
fix it.  So, the third part that we need is: a holy boldness!

And look what happened!  Her faith was so secure that she didn't even reply to His
response. Instead, she looked at the servants, and said, "Do whatever He tells you to do!"

And that's the fourth part...she activated her faith.  She believed that she would receive
what she had asked for, so she went right ahead, expecting things to change...and they did!

What a powerful testimony of His love for his mother!  Even though He had not planned
to reveal himself on that particular day, He could find no reason to not respond to her
heartfelt request.  That's powerful. That's how much God's heart is turned toward us.
When He sees our faith, and the boldness of our approach, He can't help himself, He
simply must respond to our needs. ("Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace [unmerited favor] in time of need."
`Hebrews 4:16

Let's review what happened to bring about the miracle.
First, Jesus was in the house!  That is so important.  When we have a serious need, we don't
have time to get 'prayed up.'  Jesus must be present, all the time, God with us!
Second, there has to be a need.  And from this story, we can realize that no need is too
frivolous to Him.  He cares about the things that we care about!  And don't worry, when
Jesus is in the house, our thoughts will be right!
Third, we must come boldly, we must believe that He is going to make things different.
Fourth, we must activate our faith...immediately!  No hesitation.  Just do whatever He
tells you to do, no matter what it sounds like. After all, there is nothing ordinary about
a miracle from God. 

I believe that the Church should be experiencing God's best, right now, just the same as
it did when Jesus departed and filled us all with His presence, His own Spirit. 
He told us that we would be doing/seeing great things happen.  And they did...for awhile.

I believe that as long as He is still with us, He expects us to do the same things that He did
for people, and that involves miracles! Look at verse 10. Did you see it?!  The governor
of the feast said to the bridegroom, "You saved the best for NOW!"  You see, he didn't say,
"you saved the best for the last."  He said, NOW!!!  And that's where we are: right here, right now!

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