| Mar 13, 2022
Sunday, March 13, 2022
40 Days of Prayer content is intended for Monday through Saturday each week. Devotions are available on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead.
The first time I read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, I was amazed by all of the accounts of miracles. Being new to the faith, miracles weren’t part of the preaching or teaching I was presented. So I was awestruck more by the number of miracles Jesus performed as much as the actual physical healing, feeding, weather control, etc. I also read the passage where Jesus promises that his followers, filled with the Holy Spirit, would perform even greater miracles than he did.
I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father … Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever (John 14:12, 15 NET).
I asked a few friends about this. Why don’t we see miracles like what Jesus did? I got various answers. Some said that God reveals his glory when we are ready to see it, meaning that since our culture has turned away so much from God, he isn’t doling out miracles to us. We don’t deserve them in a sense. I wasn’t sure I agreed with that answer. Another friend who was on staff at the church told me in Africa, where she had done a long mission stay, she saw physical healing right in front of her several times. Not only did I want to go to Africa, I wondered even more why we didn’t know about miracles like that in our own city.
But I was wrong. I just wasn’t looking in the right place. Or, more accurately, in the right way.
The first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding in Cana. Since both he and his mom were invited, the bride and/or groom must have been family or family friends. Wedding receptions would last for hours into the night, and a lot of wine would be consumed. At some point during this celebration the groom’s family (the host of the wedding), ran completely out of wine. This would have been a social faux pas that would bring shame upon the family. Mary, the mother of Jesus went to her son and told him about the problem.
I read and reread the account of this miracle:
“Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.” Jesus replied, “Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come.” His mother told the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.” So they filled them up to the very top. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did. When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!” Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.”
(John 2:1-11 NET)
Here’s what I noticed about this miracle. First, Jesus responded basically with a “no” or “not the right time,” but when his mother asked the servants to do what Jesus asked, out of love for his mom and compassion for the host, he changed his mind. Second, Jesus took water, a simple and common element, jugs that were already there, and without touching it or saying anything, the water became wine. Next, the amount of wine was 120-180 gallons! Way more than was necessary! Finally, the new wine was declared by the head steward to be the best of the celebration, not the cheaper stuff normally served later in the evening.
This miracle was about compassion and saving face, love and honor, grace and devotion. It was simple, yet extravagant. It was both kind and generous. It was done without fanfare and only a few were in on the secret, but many benefited. Miracles don’t look how we expect them to because when they happen we are sometimes not even aware. The host knew his problem was solved, but he didn’t know how.
Maybe God puts miracles on display when there is a purpose for them, and keeps them private when his glory is shown to a blessed few. Sometimes we miss miracles because they aren’t fulfilled the way we want. It’s important to remember Jesus didn’t heal everyone in the same way. Most people who got sick stayed sick. Everyone still died, even those Jesus brought back to life earlier. This doesn’t mean miracles didn’t happen to them or around them.
Maybe the biggest miracles in our lives are the smallest ones that could almost go unnoticed; we just need to look closer to find where his glory shines and love indwells—and sometimes that requires a mirror.
Your miracles shine all around me, and I get to participate in your glory when I open my heart to witness them. Don’t let me miss the little miracles because I’m looking for the big ones. Give me the stamina of faith to continue to pray for the big miracles, knowing you are able. With every breath, remind me that because of the greatest miracle, I am able to pray to you, my Father, and someday I will be in your presence forever. Miraculous mercy. Miraculous grace. Amen.
Pastor of Discipleship Materials & Small Groups