Jesus Didn’t Do Miracles for the Sake of Doing Miracles

Many people like certain aspects of the Jesus story.  Thomas Jefferson was a fan of the morality of Jesus, but literally removed everything supernatural about Him from his Bible.  On the other hand, many like the miracles, and they point to Jesus as a great hero of social justice.  He miraculously fed thousands with only a few fish and loaves of bread.  He went around healing the sick and advocating for the poor.  All these things Jesus did and more, but He didn’t do miracles just for the sake of doing miracles.

After the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus went to Capernaum.  A centurion had a servant who was sick and almost dead, and so he sent for Jesus to heal him.  As Jesus came close to the house, messengers went to Him saying that the centurion felt unworthy to have Him come under his roof, and instead, he trusted in Jesus’s word, knowing that if Jesus willed, his servant would be healed.  Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith, giving us a taste of the reality that salvation wasn’t for Jews alone, but for Gentiles also.  And by the time the messengers got back to the centurion, the servant was healed.

Then, in the town of Nain, there was a dead man being carried out of the city for burial.  Jesus saw the man’s mourning mother, had compassion on her, and said to the dead man, “Young man, I say to you arise” (Luke 7:14b).  And the dead man came back to life.

Luke then immediately cuts to John the Baptist in prison, now doubting that Jesus was the Messiah.  John sent his messengers to Jesus to ask Him whether or not He was the One.  Jesus’s response was evidence: “And He answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them‘” (Luke 7:22).  And that was enough.

So, we see that Jesus didn’t do miracles just for the sake of doing miracles.  And He didn’t do miracles only to show compassion on others; certainly that was part of it.  But the main reason He did the works of His Father was to show that He indeed was the Messiah they had been looking for.  And the Messiah wasn’t here to simply do acts of social justice.  He came to make the spiritually blind see, to make the spiritually lame walk, to make the spiritually leprous cleansed, to make the spiritually deaf hear, to make the spiritually dead rise, and to preach this good news to the spiritually poor.  This was Christ’s mission.

This is the Jesus that Thomas Jefferson doesn’t like.  This is the Jesus that those who claim that He was nothing more than a prophet and good teacher don’t like.  This is the Jesus who says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  This is the Jesus who says, “whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).  This is the Jesus who is fully God and fully man, who was sent by His Father to live a perfect life and to die on the cross, after having His Father’s wrath on sins poured out onto Him, who rose from the grave, that “whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Don’t patronize the Lord and claim to appreciate Him as something less than He truly is.  It’s true, He is a good moral teacher.  It’s true, He is a prophet.  It’s true, He is a miracle worker.  But He is also God, Lord, Savior, and King.

Today’s readings:

  • Psalm 10
  • Genesis 11
  • 1 Chronicles 11
  • Luke 7:1-35
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