by Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Itty Corepiscopa, Houston
"However deep you may fall, God's hands are never out of reach." This very frequently used adage reminds us the supernatural and divine power of God to resolve our crisis through gentle and graceful touch of His hands. With God everything is possible. Nothing is too big or small. Irrespective of the degree of our crisis, divine power is sufficient to bring peace and tranquility to human lives. The public ministry of Jesus reveals to us the personality of Jesus and His concern to His fellow creations. We see Him extending His helping and soothing hand to many on distinct occasions. All the miracles performed by Jesus, while on earth, specifically depicts his divinity and extreme dependence on God the Father.
Not too long ago a story of a woman from Georgia was telecasted on National Television who claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to her on the 13th of every month and spoke to her. Large crowds gathered in the backyard of her house for the woman to appear and speak to the gathering, of the message she had for them from Virgin Mary. Though the Church denounced the incident, people were enthusiastic to consider it as a miracle. In short, people even today are longing for the supernatural to intervene with their lives. Our prayers and regular church attendance are all, to certain degree, guided by the miraculous divine power of God. God's extreme miracles are revealed to those who search Him in faith and worship Him in true spirit. Therefore, in order for God to consider performing a miracle in our lives, we should convert ourselves as an object worthy of receiving a miracle from God.
We like miracles. Like to hear about them, love to experience them. They become so eminent when we witness the supernatural divinity intervening human weakness and perfects the human beings in the relationship with God. Large crowd was attracted to Jesus during his ministry mainly due to being attracted by the numerous miracles he performed which acted as credentials for his own Messianic Lordship.
Today is no exception. Though the physical and visible presence of God is not recognized, the spiritual and invisible presence and gracious blessings are acknowledged by many. In other words, God Almighty is still at work performing several and many miraculous deeds for his faithful. There is another side of the picture also: the desperate and dissatisfied reactions of many who longed for heavenly miracles and have failed to achieve them. Does this mean that God is partial in performing miracles? Or are there any specified criteria for God Almighty to interfere in our lives with a miracle?
The miracles performed by Jesus were nothing like marvelous and astonishing performance by a magician to impress the crowd and secure praise and applause for himself. All the miracles performed by Jesus were the result of one or another specific reason. The applause of the people or recognition and acceptance by the people did not give any impetus to Jesus to perform a miracle. On the contrary, He strictly focused His performance to a clear specified purpose. In Luke 23 we see a Jesus refusing to perform a miracle to show His divine power to the amusement of King Herod. There was always a purpose, God will perform the same miracle in our lives. Let us see, what were the reasons for the enactment of a miracle by Jesus.
1) To glorify the name of God:
Jesus was sent down by heavenly Father who armed him with heavenly might and blessed him with divine powers, Jesus therefore, did not want to take any credit for the miracles he performed for the sake of his own glorification or fame. Self glorification and fame were alien to our Lord. The Gospel according to John Chapter 2 and 11 respectively account for the miracle at Canna and the raising of Lazarus. Though these miracles were performed being witnessed by many, none of them were meant to be for fame or publicity. On many occasions Jesus even instructed the miraculously healed persons "Tell no one." Jesus proclaimed the truth and firmly believed and practices that since the heavenly Father gave the power to perform miracles, the glory thereto should be given to the heavenly Father. Therefore, glorification of the Father's name acted as a stimulus to Jesus in enacting a miracle.
2) To meet human need:
The holy scripture analyses the compassion of God in detail. He was moved by the sufferings of human beings. Most of the miracles enacted by Jesus were the result of his compassion to the suffering. This suffering could be of any nature. Physical, spiritual or even material. He could not tolerate the human sufferings of hunger and that is why He performed the miracle to feed the large multitude with few loaves of bread and few pieces of fish on more that one occasion. The widow's only son who was dead and was on the way to the cemetery for burial was raised. The picture of the poor widow and her possible sufferings and sorrow on losing her only son motivated Jesus to perform a miracle and raise him from the dead. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus not because he was dead but because of his concern for the suffering hearts of the dear ones of Lazarus. Suffering hearts and broken hopes could always regain health and assurance from the divine interference of Jesus in His most distinct and miraculous manner.
3) To bring repentance:
Repentance will bring back a lost soul to God. The repentance of the prodigal son secured his acceptance. A divine miracle will with no doubt trigger repentance. That is why our Lord said, if the same miracles were done in the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented (Luke 10:13-15). Jesus performed miracles when it was expected to bring repentance. In His divine power He cast out demons and professed the presence of the Kingdom of God and the joy that one can experience when being freed from the Satanic influences.
4) To profess truth:
The life of Jesus reflected His personality. The miracles performed by Him professed the word of God; the good news of salvation and redemption. Parables and miracles were two sides of the coin of Jesus' ministry. He taught in parables and acted in miracles. In other words the parables were spoken miracles and miracles were spoken parables. The parables and miracles both in essence proclaimed divine truth. Thus proclamation of divine truth acted as an impetus for Jesus to perform a miracle.
Jesus is capable of enacting miracles in our lives. We the faithful are always anxious to experience these divine miracles. But there are occasions in which we do not get the divine miraculous response in the way we want. Is it our fault? Or can we do anything to make Jesus enact a miracle in our life. It is not our fault but our problem that impedes the divinity from enacting a miracle. In order for God to interfere in our lives and miraculously guide us through our days of tribulations and crisis we must be submissive to the divine commandments and participants in the process of the enactment of a miracle. This is where we fail mostly. We pray continuously, beg unceasingly; but are we participating?
At the tomb of Lazurus wee see Jesus weeping. He knew that Lazurus is going to be awakened from the tomb. But he wept because of his love. Though He was sure to bring Lazurus back to life, He asked the ones who were there with no difficulty through His divine power. But He simply asked the bystanders to remove the stone and untie the bindings on the body. At Canna, He asked the servants to fill the jars with water to the brim. He could have in His divine power, commanded to fill the jars with wine even with out the assistance of the servants to fill the jars with water. In both these instances we see Jesus requesting the participation of the beneficiaries of the miracles prior to its enactment. Are we participating with Jesus so as to bring a miracle to our lives? Are we submitting ourselves in faith and love of God to bring a miracle into our lives?
Church is the body of Christ. We are all part and parcel of that holy entity. The scriptures are the living words of God. Worshipping God in submission to the scriptural directions will enable us to be participants in God's work among and in us. The words of God shall bring forth everlasting and never ceasing joy and happiness in our spiritual life. Being filled with love of God we should worship Him in true spirit and faith. Fortunately we are the bearers of true and uncorrupted faith handed down to us by our forefathers. We are well aware of the significance of worship and place of worship. The Church shall be treated as a place to worship God and that shall be the only reason attracting us to Church. Our Churches shall never be an object of contempt by our Lord.
We are living in a society where spirituality is gradually and slowly fading away. The sacred dogmas and practices of ancient Church are objected and questioned in the light of scientism and liberalism. The place of Worship becomes place of recreation to many a faithful. This is the reason for our failure to experience the divine miracles in our lives. In order to experience the divine miracles we have to open our hearts to God and extend Him a sincere welcome, place Him in the center of our lives and submit ourselves to him. Our overall out look towards spirituality and God should change. Once we achieve that change and worship God in true spirit and submit ourselves unconditionally to God and His will; we will certainly experience divine miracle in our lives.