“Wow, it’s like magic! He has powers!” said my daughter at the breakfast table, not long after I’d read her a story of Jesus performing a miracle. “No,” I explained. “Jesus doesn’t have powers. He has power. He rules over creation. Miracles aren’t magic; they reveal the true order of things.”
Jesus rules over nature as Lord and Master, as Creator and King. He sleeps in a boat in high seas because He has nothing to fear from the sea. It obeys His command and leaves His disciples in awe. All it takes is a word and the rowdy waters retreat to their proper place.
He walks on the very waves He calmed as if they are terra firma, and He does so as His disciples thrash at their oars trying to row through. While we might know this story, we ought not count ourselves as too familiar with it. How can we be familiar with something we have never seen or even been able to fully imagine? He walked on water. He broke the laws of nature. What is that about?
These natural laws to which we are bound do not apply to the One who created nature from nothing.
We see this again when Jesus could not find figs on a tree, so He withered it with a word. Was He being spiteful? Was He mad at the tree? No. When you read the story you see He was making a point to His disciples about believing.
Another time, when Jesus owed a tax, He sent Peter to go catch a fish. Its mouth held money enough to cover both their taxes. How did the coin get there? How did Jesus know? How did Peter pull just that one particular fish from the sea? (I’d ask why the fish ate a coin, but if you’ve ever been fishing with a Daredevle® lure, you know they bite shiny metal.) The answer is this: Nature—from weather to water to plants to beasts—is at the command of its Creator.
Through these miracle stories, three sentences guide us:
“Who then is this?”
“Have courage! It is I!”
We must reflect daily on who this Jesus is, the Man who sleeps through storms then calms them with a rebuke. We must take courage because His miracles reveal His nature. He is Lord. He is powerful. He rules. For this reason we can have faith and live in it.
Miracles were not acts of magic or a show of powers. They were moments of revelation of who Jesus is, so we can know the One in whom our faith rests.
Written by Barnabas Piper