Saturday, August 30, 2008

Miracles and belief in Jesus

Do you need to believe that miracles are possible to believe in Jesus? Well, I suppose that depends whether one means Jesus the itinerant preacher who lived approximately 2,000 years ago, survived a crucifixion, escaped from his grave and disappeared into the wilderness. Or is it Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah, Lord Saviour who lives and reigns now.

Jesus Himself said, “You don’t need to believe the I Am God because of the claims that I make about myself, but you should believe that I Am God because of what I do.” Why would He say that? Because, from a naturalist point of view, from a “normal” person’s point of view, what Jesus was doing was impossible. We have a record of Jesus’ miracles from friend and foe alike. We are asked to trust what those people wrote.

That is a tough sell for some people. To have to rely on the testimony of another person, someone who isn’t even living, no less can be hard. Luckily, billions of people haven’t had to rely on “just” the claims of eyewitnesses. In fact we get our own personal demonstration of God’s miraculous powers.

Most of the Christians that I’ve met have come to believe in miracles only after they’ve come to know the person of Jesus and His work in their lives. That’s because one of the greatest miracles that we as Christians experience is the real life, real space, real time transformation that Jesus works in our own lives. The very fact that we believe in, obey, serve, love, adore and worship Creator God is a miracle. To worship and adore Creator God is absolutely counterintuitive, at least according to what we knew of the world in our pre Christian pre awareness days.

Believing in God is not how we enter the world. Our natural inclination is to resist and rebel against anything that smacks of infringing on our personal sovereignty. To even hint that we will one day be accountable to Creator God turns most people into tiny versions of Christopher Hitchens; mini monsters lacking only the alcoholism. And yet, for some of us, we have been granted what I call Wide-Band-Awareness. We have been allowed to know that there is something more to life than what meets the eye. We become aware of an “other” love operating in the universe and in our lives. And that is when the miraculous changes begin to take place. We experience a transforming and a conforming to the likeness of someone totally different than our former selves and it takes place without our direction or effort. This change is something that is impossible unless God makes it happen. That “miracle” makes possible the belief in all other acts of God.

Do we need to believe in miracles in order to believe in Jesus? Without the miracle of Jesus entering our lives, belief in Jesus is impossible.

What’s even weirder is that as we come to know Jesus and as we come to believe that He rose from the dead, healed the lame, made the blind see and dealt a fatal blow to the empire of satan, the reality of miracles simply lose their importance vis a vis our growing love for Jesus Himself. Jesus loves me. He died so that I may be forgiven and He defeated death so that I and all other believers may one day spend eternity with Him.

And that’s a good thing.

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