By Russ Ramsey
It’s fascinating to watch how people with power use it. Traffic cops, airport screeners, elected officials, college professors, and even hosts at restaurants all wield power. When you need special consideration, they can shut you down or wave you through. Some people use their power for good, while others might sometimes seem to use it for evil.
How we use power reveals what is in our character. Jesus’ miracles show us who He is.
What do we learn about Jesus’ character when we look at His miracles? As He shows us He is the Christ, what sort of Messiah do we find Him to be? As He reveals His power, what does He channel that power toward? As He familiarizes us with His Kingdom, what sort of a monarchy is it, and what can be expected of its ruler?
In yesterday’s reading, we looked at why Jesus performed miracles. He performed signs and wonders to show us He is the Messiah. They revealed His glory and His power. They proved His claim that His Kingdom was not of this world and that He had brought His Kingdom to us.
That is all well and good. Stories of gods showing mortals their power and glory are nothing new. Greek mythology is full of tales like these—gods flexing their muscles to remind the mortals not to think too highly of themselves.
Some of Jesus’ miracles are meant to instill in us a holy humility. When He commands creation and it obeys His voice, eye-witnesses do not tend to give each other fist bumps. They usually tremble in fear. His power is strong. But when we see the way Jesus uses His miracles to interact with people in need, we see that the character of Christ is filled with mercy, compassion, and generosity.
When He casts out demons, He shows mercy to tormented people living miserable lives. The One who overcomes evil does so to care for those afflicted by it. When Jesus opens blind eyes, or reanimates paralyzed legs, or cleanses lepers, restoring them to community, we see a Messiah who uses His power to heal, comfort, and encourage, rather than smite, dominate, and humiliate.
Jesus’ miracles serve a dual purpose: they call us to fear Him but also to trust Him—to trust that He is good. Jesus uses signs and wonders to cultivate in us a holy reverence for His power and a confidence in His affection.
Written by Russ Ramsey