Ned Anzers: I would certainly believe God is real if He would show me a sign. Why doesn’t God just give me a miracle?
We all love magic tricks. We know that they are just illusions, but they still fascinate us into believing they are real. Jesus was no magician. No doubt He was the real deal. The miracles He did were seen and experienced by many. Some of His miracles include: Calming a storm, feeding 5,000 people with 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish, walking on water, turning water into wine, healing the sick, paralyzed and blind, and raising a person from the dead.
Why did Jesus do miracles? Certainly it wasn’t to show how cool He was, but to help others believe He was God. Miracles did catch the attention of those watching. So why doesn’t God do similar miracles today as He did through Jesus? If He did certainly everyone would believe in God, right?
To answer this question I will to zero in on one of Jesus miracles. It was the last, but the greatest miracle of Jesus’ public ministry. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus and sister to Mary (the prostitute). There is nothing fishy about this miracle. Jesus simply says in three words, “Lazarus, come out!” and a man wrapped in grave clothes comes out of his tomb, not as a mummy but back from the dead. Jesus doesn’t do this I secret, but a crowd of people saw the miracle (John 11:1-44).
There are some general principles to be wrought from this miracle of Jesus.
First, Jesus purposed for Lazarus to die.
He delayed in coming (v.6). He could have prevented Lazarus’ death as Mary and Martha believed (vs.21, 32), but He chose to let Lazarus die. God purposes things to happen in your life to see how much you trust Him.
Second, Jesus Loved Lazarus (vs.3, 5).
He loved them because He knew them very well. Throughout the text Jesus was outwardly affectionate toward his friend, “deeply moved in the spirit”, “troubled”, “wept” (vs.33-38). Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, he felt sorrow for Lazarus’ loved ones and those who still did not believe. God loves you too because He knows you very well.
Third, Jesus delay and the death of Lazarus was for the Glory of God (v.4).
God is glorified by the demonstration of His power (v.25-26 “I AM the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”) And God is glorified by the demonstration of your faith (vs.14-15 “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” / v.40 “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” / v.45 “therefore many…put their faith in Him.”). Jesus purposes things to happen in your life to show His glory.
So why doesn’t God do a similar miracle today so that people would believe in Him? Well look are verse 12:37, “Jesus did all these miracles in their presence they still would not believe in Him.” It is true, after Jesus many recorded miracles people still didn’t believe that He was God.
Jesus miracles were not done to amaze us, but to show how amazing God is. The miracle is not so much what Jesus did, but who He is. Miracles illustrate a deeper truth about Jesus. After Jesus feed the 5,000 people with a little boys lunch He says, “I Am the Bread of life.” To this the disciples replied, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” It is not that they did not get what Jesus was saying or doing, since they could still taste the miracle on their very tongues, rather they did not like the implications of His miracles on their lives.
Some might say, ‘Sure Jesus did miracles, but I don’t have to believe He is God.’ You’re right. However, the greatest miracle He wants to do in you is one that He did in me, rescue you from death and bring you into new-life. Will you trust that Jesus is the “Resurrection and the Life”? (John 11:25-26)