Why did Jesus heal people? Why did he cast out demons? Why did he raise the dead?
Have you ever stopped to wonder about the why? Why did Jesus perform the miracles he did? We want to experience the same kinds of miracles as we read about in scripture but often we fail to really understand the why and how of the miraculous work of Christ during his earthly ministry.
The primary message of Jesus is the message of the coming of the Kingdom of God. This has been clear from the moment Jesus first announced the beginning of his ministry, “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus’ arrival on the scene announced a revolution was taking place. God was stepping into creation in order to redeem it. God was defeating the evil of this world and making a new covenant with his people. Jesus was the messenger, the revelation, the vehicle and the deliverer of the rule of God on earth. Jesus came to not only announce, but usher in a new manifestation of God’s power and rule.
Life in the kingdom of God is very different than life in the kingdoms of this world. The good news of Jesus coming heralds the end of slavery to sin, the reformation of humanity into the image of Christ, the defeat of death itself and the adoption of all the redeemed into the family of God. Ultimately, when the kingdom is fully manifest at the return of Christ this will herald the end of all suffering, pain, injustice and death.
So when Jesus went about announcing the coming of the Kingdom, he did so intentionally putting on display for the world the power of the Kingdom. When he cast out demons he was demonstrating his power over the evil that had ruled creation. When he healed the sick he was showing his power over illness and suffering. When he walked on water he was showing that all things, including creation itself, were under his feet. He is sovereign over all. And when he encountered those who believed in his power and authority (such as Jairus, the bleeding woman, the blind man on the road side, the man on the mat lowered through the ceiling, etc..) he responded to them. He showed them their faith in him was well placed. He did in fact have the power to do all that they desired for him to do.
These miraculous moments are a foretaste of life in the kingdom of God. They are appetizers, a nibble of extraordinary deliciousness that shows us our faith is well placed and raises our hunger for the feast that awaits. Ultimately, however, these healings and demonstrations of power pale in comparison to the miracle of Jesus resurrection. The death and resurrection of Christ are the full power of God on display. Through these acts of Christ all have now been given access to the power of God to redeem and deliver us from slavery to sin. The sting of death itself was taken away. This is a miracle beyond miracles.
So as we seek our the power of God in our world today it is important to remember where miracles begin and what they really show us. Many of the miracles Jesus did in healing people in the first century can probably be accomplished by modern science today. Demonstrations of supernatural knowledge, being able to know what is happening in another location than where we are physically located, this is a daily occurrence for us. What science and technology can not do, however, is heal us from the inside out. The one thing we could not and can not ever do for ourselves, rescuing ourselves from slavery to sin and rebuilding our lives, has been accomplished by Christ.
Each of us that is redeemed by God is a demonstration of the miraculous. Alongside of the miraculous redemption we experience, there are certainly still a multitude of moments when God chooses to give us a foretaste of life in the kingdom. When he does it serves the purposes of his kingdom. It happens in response to the faith of his people. It reinforces our faith. It helps to further the kingdom. It happens only ever according to the will of God in response to the faith of his people.
So if we pray for a miracle to occur in this life and it does not, it never needs to shake our faith. That which is impossible for us has already been made possible by God. God is at work, God’s work has been done, is being done, and shall be done. The miraculous has already been proven and what has been done is a deposit guaranteeing the miraculous yet to come. So we rejoice in the kingdom, we pray to see the power of God in our lives each day, and when we get an appetizer of the life to come we taste and see that the Lord is good.