Saturday, June 24, 2006

The miracle mix

Miracles are the display of God's power not the strength of our faith
For a miracle to happen you have to have faith, that is what I was taught. I was also taught that miracles happen only when certain people pray, the anointed ones. I have thus developed a notion, as many of my readers have that miracles is a product of right amount of faith with anointing. If there is something wrong in that mixture then miracle may not happen.
Now, I know those who told us this haven't really read their Bible carefully. In the Bible, miracles have happened in the context of unbelief and sometimes by people who lacked faith. They themselves did not believe that a miracle is going to happen.
When God did miracles through Moses in the presence of Pharaoh, it did not depend on the faith of Moses nor the Pharaoh. In fact the miracles were performed that Pharaoh may believe. When the Syrian official Naaman was healed of leprosy what was the role of his faith in his healing? He did not believe that dipping himself in the murky waters of Jordan is going to heal any skin disease. However, he did so, not because of faith but because his servants insisted! However, that miracle generated faith in him. Take any miracles that has happened in the Bible, miracles are not necessarily the product of ones faith, but faith is the outcome of miracles. John the evangelist puts this way, "many put their faith in him". They put their faith in him because they saw the miracles that he did. So, God does miracles in order that we may have faith in him.
The healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda happened not because he had faith in Jesus. He did not express any hope that he will be healed nor did he know who Jesus was.
Miracles are a displays of God's power over human body, and nature both his creations.
However, the question remains: then why did Jesus could not perform miracles in places where they did not believe in him. Is not the faith of the centurion the reason for the miracle that he experienced?
We hear this often: "Exercise your faith". It accents human effort, while miracles are purely what God does at his discretion. Nothing may happen however hard your exercise your faith, unless God makes the move!

Paulson Pulikottil
Union Biblical Seminary, PB NO. 1455, Bibvewadi, Pune, India.
Phone: 020-21711158

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