As most of you know, I am not someone who believes in or promotes chasing miracles. Instead I believe in the God of miracles performing miracles in ordinary people through ordinary people. However just because I do not believe that believers should chase miracles, does not mean I don’t believe in expecting a miracle. In fact I believe that miracles should follow believers. (Mark 16:17) So let’s take a look at the reasons why we may not see as many miracles as we would want or hope. Let’s look at an incident in Mark 6 where even Jesus was limited by the expectations of people.
How not expecting a miracle effected Jesus performing miracles.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” 3 Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary[a] and the brother of James, Joseph,[b] Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
4 Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.
The reasons why not expecting a miracle effects whether miracles happen.
In this example from the book of Mark we see that people show a progression in their expectations of miracles and it was not a good progression.
- At first they were amazed. They wondered how and where He got such wisdom and power. However their amazement was not the amazement of people who were expecting a miracle or the hope that accompanies miracles, but instead it was the type of amazement of incredulity. It was filled with skepticism, unbelief and mistrust.
- From incredulity they descended into scoffing and scorn. They allowed their human reasoning to give them license to degrade and downplay the status of Jesus and the miracles that He had been performing. They put down his job, his family lineage and the fact that they had watched him grow up there.
- From scoffing and scorn they descended even further to offense. They worked themselves up to the point they were offended and refused to believe in Him. This refusal shows that it was a conscious choice that they made. It was not offense and refusal because of ethics but in fact based on emotion, fear, and an act of the will.
I find this example very poignant when we think of the reason we have very few people today that are actually expecting a miracle and why we have whole ministries and denominations that go to great lengths to explain away or demonize the few miracles we do see today.
- We approach the subject of miracles with skepticism and incredulity. In fact we have made litmus tests as to whether or not a miracle is credible or not. If that is not the very epitome of incredulity then I don’t know what is. Instead of believing first that it is God and that a miracle has happened, we look for every reason in the book why it couldn’t be of God.
- From there we start to scoff at and scorn those who are willing to stand up and expect a miracle. We call them hyper-emotional. ( and some are to be honest) We find every intellectual and physical reason to believe that a miracle won’t happen. We give all the reasons why God may not, or can’t, rather than allow ourselves to start expecting a miracle from God.
- From there we make it a spiritual issue that somehow we should be offended at. That somehow the person expecting a miracle from God needs to be spiritually more mature, or less heavenly minded, or more balanced ect. We make it an issue where we feel free to feel offense at the subject of expecting a miracle, thus letting us off the hook for expecting a miracle. We end up making people feel that expecting a miracle is bad in some way.
It was because of these very types of things that Jesus could not do any miracles among the people He loved. His family, friends and neigbors. All He was able to do was to heal a few sick people. Doesn’t that sound a lot like what we see today? He just is able to heal a few sick people. What would happen if we were to actually start expecting a miracle? What would happen if we started to look to Jesus first rather than our own intellect and understanding? I know for me, that it challenges me to believe that Jesus can do miracles in a little church in a little town in rural Wyoming.
Now that is something to think about!