Understanding the Long-Term Effect of Jesus' Miracles

A commentary on Disappointment With God - by Phillip Yancey

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Do you need a miracle from Jesus today to believe in Him or strengthen your current faith? My feeling is, and the Bible supports, that it probably wouldn't make a lasting difference.

"With remarkable consistency, the Bible's accounts show that miracles - dramatic, show stopping miracles like many of us still long for - simply do not foster deep faith." - Phillip Yancey Disappointment With God

Jesus is much more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. Miracles may affect the latter (happiness), but have proven to have little lasting effect on the former (holiness).

Jesus performed over 3 dozen miracles as documented in the Gospels and yet was curiously ambivalent about performing these miracles ! However, everytime anyone asked directly, Jesus healed ! When a curious king asked to see a miracle, Jesus refused to cooperate though it might have saved his life !

With His disciples, He used miracles as proof of who He was (Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves).

But even as He performed them, he often seemed to downplay them. When He resurrected the daughter of a Jewish VIP, He gave strict orders to keep it quiet. Mark records seven separate occasions when Jesus told a person He had healed, tell no one.

Sometimes it's questionable when an actual miracle takes place ! Following are a few examples of miracles from the Bible where the crowd explained away the incredible event:

Miracle  The Response
 God's voice speaks from heaven "It's thunder !" 
 Jesus performs a miracle "His gifts are from Satan !" 
 Jesus cures a blind man  A court disregarded the first hand evidence "I was blind but now I see" and hurled insults and threw the man out of court

See, I'm not sure we'd believe a miracle even if one took place in our witness! Well, perhaps for a little while, but, with time, like everything, the resulting "high" would fade.......

Yet, some examples in the Bible could only be described as an awesome, incredible miracle - with no other possible explanation!

Consider one such example - - the Transfiguration....... when Jesus' face shone like the sun and his clothes became dazzling, "whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them." To the disciples astonishment, two long dead giants of Jewish history - Moses and Elijah - appeared in a cloud with them. God spoke audibly. It was too much to take; the disciple fell down, terrified.

Yet, what effect did this stupendous event have on Jesus' three closest friends, Peter, James and John? Did it permanently silence their questions and fill them with faith? A few weeks later, when Jesus needed them the most, they all forsook Him.

The point ?????? "With remarkable consistency, the Bible's accounts show that miracles - dramatic, show stopping miracles like many of us still long for - simply do not foster deep faith."

Jesus confirmed this statement in the story of the rich man and the beggar named Lazarus.

Both died and Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abrahams' bosom; the rich man was buried and descended to "agony in this flame". The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to the rich man's five surviving brothers, lest they also end up in the place of torment. Abraham refused saying they have Moses and the Prophets, let his brothers hear them....... The rich man begged, "No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!" Abraham responded, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead! "

Again, miracles do not foster long term faith ! So, please, don't ask God for a miracle with the agreement that you will believe in Him and serve Him forever upon receipt.

History tells a different story.

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