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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What Say You Who Does Not Believe in Miracles?

This is a follow-up thought on the feeding of the 5,000 . . . There has been a trend over the past 150 years in theology (predominately among liberal groups) to explain away the reality of miracles. They would have you believe that miracles performed by Jesus were not really miracles, but should be interpreted metaphorically or as hyperbole. This thought is consistent with contemporary secularism which is rooted in naturalism - the belief that all that is, is only the product of natural order. In naturalism, nothing exists outside the box (i.e. supernatural reality, God, miracles, life after death, etc.). For one to belief in miracles is to implicitly confess the existence of God, for miracles in essence is a "super"-natural act doing by a supernatural Being. Yet in the multitude of more than 5,000, there was a God-sized problem. The disciples were put in a place where they had either needed to see Jesus for who he really was (God incarnate) or just another man (limited to natural order). What was their response? Answer: "Send the people away into the villages that they may find something to eat." What kind of answer is this? I tell you, it is the answer of a naturalist, one who does not believe in miracles, who does not see Jesus as miracle-worker, Savior, God. This answer is indicative of a mentality limited to the natural order, what we can do in and of ourselves. God was not factored in. Yet what did Jesus tell them? YOU give THEM something to eat. With what? They had nothing! What were they to do? In their minds they were thinking maybe, "We can't gather enough food for everyone! That is impossible! We have here only five loaves and a couple of fish!" What a sad state to be in to only see what one's eyes can see! A God-sized problem can only be met with a God-sized solution, which is of course, a miracle. Yet if you don't believe in miracles, what do you do? Jesus commands you to give them something to eat. Their hunger was no metaphor. Their need could not be allegorized. The reality was no illusion and could not be explained away. For the naturalist, the story stops here, for there is no answer in man for such a problem. Utter failure, complete insufficiency, and total lack of resources leaves you in despair with no answer, no hope, no ability to make anything happen. But the story did not end that way. The next thing that happened was Jesus saying, "Bring them all to me." Why would he say this? If Jesus was just a man, maybe an extraordinary man (though still a man nonetheless), what could he do? In spite of the ignorance of his disciples, Jesus does what only a God could do. He performed a mighty miracle and feed the multitude, with a basket for each disciple left over. Now, imagine seeing each disciple, after they had delivered all the bread and fish each carrying a basket and looking down in utter shock, saying, "I thought all we had was five loaves and a couple fish. What happened here?" I tell you, a miracle happened. God was in the midst of them, and the evidence was the bounty in each hand of the disciples who once was pointing the way to the villages. To disbelieve in miracles is to attempt to strip the Godhood of God, to make Jesus into just another rabbi or revolutionary. Jesus was not just a "super-man"; Jesus was and is the "God-man". There is no "Godness" lacking in him. And he showed it on that day. While theologians try to explain him and his work away, the miracles worked then are still be worked today in transformed lives, in healing of the sick, in divine intervention in utterly desperate times. Sure, we can try to come up with some naturalistic formulation to bring who is infinite in our minds of finite boxes, but he will just bust every one. So I ask you, you who do not believe in miracles then and now, what do you do when Jesus says to you in such a situation, "You give them something to eat"???

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