THE DANGER OF MIRACLES
Rabbi, when did you get here? John 6:25
Jesus intended to go to Capernaum. Getting there meant crossing a body of water. The only boat available for passage, however, had left hours ago with His disciples in it. Jesus is not trapped. He simply walks on water to join His disciples in the middle of the sea. Meanwhile, the crowd that He fed the day before with five loaves and two fishes goes to search for Him. When they find Him in Capernaum they are puzzled and ask, “Rabbi, how did you get here?”
This would have been a perfect opportunity for Jesus to talk about His power. Instead, He circumvents their question by making the observation that, tragically, people seek Him because of His miracles. Jesus does not desire this outcome because His miracles are only intended to showcase His love for people. Miracles are not meant to be an end to unto themselves. They can not provide a solid foundation for discipleship. When people receive a gift, they are prone to look for another one the next time they have a need. When the road gets too difficult, fraught with hunger, persecution, and hardship, they do not have a gritty faith that sustains them.
We watch revivals on television that emphasize miraculous acts of healing by God. Whether or not these displays are legitimate is not my point. Too often people follow Jesus because His gifts “wow” the crowd. The same starry-eyed followers who proclaimed Him King one week, abandoned Him the next. Jesus has never trusted the popularity offered Him by miracle-seekers. He looks for the fervent devotion of one who will embraces Him without a sense of entitlement. Paul, encouraging a group of Christians in Antioch to remain true to Christ, said “Through much tribulation you will enter the kingdom.”
Because You are powerful and because You love me, I can live with my hand out. If I feel entitled in any way, show me. I walk in the way of discipleship today; sometimes in plenty, sometimes in want. Your grace is enough. Amen