Jack Graham - Miracle Worker
We are so excited to be able to celebrate Jesus! And I want you to take your Bible, God's Word, turn with me to John's Gospel, the twentieth chapter, the Gospel of John, chapter 20. We're taking a look at Jesus, who He is and why He came, the Way Maker who is also the Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light of the World. Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Once again to all of you with us online, we're so glad that you have joined us. Christianity is Christ. Christianity is Jesus. Not a code, not a creed, not a cause, but Christ Himself! The person of Jesus, who is Miracle Worker, Messiah, Son of God, Savior of the world, Lord of life and Lord of all. The Apostle John who was an eye witness to the life of Christ as a disciple, gave us this last, the fourth of the Gospels for a particular purpose and that is to declare the deity of Jesus, that He is the Messiah, the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world.
And so the entire book like the gospels, and we're encouraging all of us to read the gospels at this Advent season, at least read Matthew and Luke which includes the Christmas story. John takes it beyond the Christmas story of the birth and even back before time began. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, the Word was God". And then he tells the story of Jesus as to what He did, His marvelous words and His miraculous works on earth. And he tells us really at the end of the book, the end of his gospel, why he spoke of Jesus in this way. Verse 30, John chapter 20, "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples which were not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name".
A chapter over, final verses of the book, John 21:25, he adds on, "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were everyone of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written". The amazing, astounding, miraculous life of Jesus! Miracle worker! It is said in Hebrews chapter 2, and verse 4 that "God Himself bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles". All of these signs pointing to Jesus. I want to speak first of all of the meaning of the miracles of Jesus. Do you believe in miracles? Well, we know there are miracles everywhere, all around us all the time. What some would describe as normal natural occurrences are in fact the laws of God, the miraculous hand of God moving in the universe, in the world, in the planets. I mean, everything around us speaks of the fingerprints, the handprints of God!
The miracle working majesty of God. Christ, who is the Christ of the cosmos according to Colossians 1, holds everything together in the universe. And there are miracles every day. You might consider them natural occurrences. And some of these miracles unseen by the human eye, such as gravity which is not even gravity. We don't know what gravity is. I'll tell you what gravity is. Gravity is God holding things together. Gravity is God's Laws in the universe. People speak of the laws of nature. We speak of the Laws of God, because God created and governs nature. But there is another miracle, another kind of miracle that is beyond a natural occurrence, beyond the normal phenomenon of life, and that is when God intervenes with His power and His presence.
What is a miracle? If I were defining it, I would put it this way: A miracle is a supernatural manifestation of God’s presence and power. It is when God shows up and does something in a supernatural way. Can God do this? Does God do this? Well, of course, He can. God is not limited by His own governance, by His own creation. John Lenox who is a well know and very distinguished Christian apologist, said this, "God is not a prisoner of the laws of nature. God who set the regularities there, can Himself feed a new event into the system from outside. Science cannot stop Him from doing that. The angel said to Mary, concerning the birth of Jesus, 'With God all things are possible!' The meaning of the miracle is when God intervenes".
My friend Craig Groeschel has perhaps a more popular version of what this means. A miracle, when God in heaven intervenes on earth. It is not the conjunction of planets but it is rather the conjunction of heaven and earth, when heaven, God Himself moves near to this planet. Miracles. And the greatest miracle of all is the miracle of God Himself in Christ, working wonders, the Messiah, the Miracle Worker, Jesus. And if you know the Gospels, if you've taken time to read them, and if you haven't, please do. The Gospels, all four of them speak often of these miracles when God intervened in Christ, when God gave sight to the blind, when He cured cripples and lifted up lepers, and ended fevers and healed hemorrhages. When He spoke to exercise demons, when He calmed the waves, the winds and the seas.
The disciples one day watched this happen and they said, "Who is this one that even the wind and the waves obey Him"? Jesus, the Miracle Worker. There are forty miracles described in the Bible in the Gospel about Jesus, miracles that He performed. But as we just read in John’s Gospel there were many more miracles that weren’t recorded. There are scenes and scriptures there in the Gospel where the masses, the multitudes are coming to Jesus and He would touch them and He would speak and He would heal them. He would deliver from disease and demons and disturbances in the winds and the storms of life. He could discern the hearts of men and know what people were thinking. All of this is because Jesus Himself is a miracle! He is God! And His miraculous arrival that we celebrate at Christmas tells the story.
The virgin birth of Jesus on the night that Jesus was born and previous to it in the announcements of this miraculous arrival, it is chock full of miracles, from angels speaking to Mary and dreams delivered to Joseph and other family members encountering divine presence, and there’s the miracle of the virgin conception. We call it the virgin birth of Jesus and this is prophesied in Isaiah, chapter 7 and verse 14. That the virgin shall conceive and she shall bring forth a Son. Next week we’re going to be talking about Jesus the Promise keeper and the fulfillment of all the prophecies. This is the top of the list of many when Jesus was to be born of a virgin. The virgin birth is necessary for our salvation. It’s described beautifully in the Bible when the angel said, "The Holy Spirit will overshadow you, Mary". She said, "How can these things be"?
Good question. It wasn’t a question of unbelief, it was just a question of fact. How can this be possible? I’ve never known a man. And with God all things are possible, and the angel said the Holy Spirit will overshadow your womb and you will conceive and bring forth the Messiah. So the virgin birth is really a virgin conception. You say, "Why is this important? Is this even real? How is it possible? A virgin birth"? Well, if you believe your Bible, and I do, every miracle, remember, is when God manifests His power and His presence. Ever miracle that comes from God is possible and potential for everyone. And the miracle of the incarnation is this mind-blowing manifestation of God’s presence and power in the conception of Jesus. God became an embryo (who could fathom that?) floating in the womb of Mary.
And the reason this is vital, the reason this is essential is because the blood coursing through the veins of Jesus the Messiah is not human blood, but the blood of God. Born of woman, but child of the heavenly Father. I like to say that Jesus was the heavenly child of an earthly mother and the earthly child of a heavenly Father. Truly one with God. We are not saved by the virgin birth but without, listen to me, without the virgin birth none of us could be saved. Because without the incarnation, Jesus could have never been the pure and perfect Lamb of God to take away your sins and mine. Had He been born of natural occurrence He would have been a human being and would have sinned, even as you and I have sinned. Therefore, He was able because He is the infinite God-Man, the glorious impossible. He is able to bypass sin as He walked on this planet.
"He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God". It is the miracle of the incarnation. You may think the resurrection is the most vital miracle, and certainly there's no Christianity without the resurrection, but there's no resurrection without the incarnation. There's no cross without the cradle. There's no sacrifice without Mary's little Lamb. This is a miracle! Two natures in one, totally God, totally Man. You could never be saved apart from the miraculous arrival and birth of Jesus. Clearly the Bible tells us that if you deny the miracles you are denying Jesus. And if you are denying Jesus, you will die in your sins, without God and without hope. The miracles matter.
There are some who want to quote "demythologize the Bible". Describe the miracles as myths and fables or parables. No! You take away the miracles of the Bible, the Bible itself is a miracle, breathed out by the Holy Spirit! This is a miracle Book! The supernatural Word of God. If you take out the miracles from the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, you take out the miracles of Jesus, whether it is His miraculous arrive or His Messianic anointing to deliver these miracles to hurting people, and you have nothing left of the Christian faith. Yes, I believe! We believe in Christ, and therefore, we believe in miracles. But secondly, think with me a few moments about the miraculous significance of the signs of Jesus.
Why miracles? Why did God choose miracles and a Miracle Worker in the person of His Son? John described these as we read earlier, "these signs". And, of course, what does a sign do? It's points to something; it advertises something; it explains something. So the unique word that John the Apostle used to describe these miracles are signs, and he in particular, it's a study in and of itself, gave 7 signs, the perfect number: including Jesus turning water into wine, healing a nobleman's servant, walking on the water, multiplying the loaves and fishes, healing a blind man, even raising the dead! And he said, "These signs represent the story of Jesus; that He has power and authority and His identity, His deity in His humanity, that His miracles declare that He is more than a man".
You know, too many people who celebrate Christmas but not Christ. But we celebrate the Christ of Christmas because without Christ there is no Christmas. And what we want people to know is who Jesus is and why He came. And these miracles demonstrate His deity and His power to change anything and anyone. But here's the thing about the miracles of Jesus: So many of the miracles of our Lord were performed on the edge of the culture and society. Those who were broken and those who were outcasts, those who were living in misery and pain, read the story, suffering people. And it is because Jesus has compassion and love for people that His heart reached out to them, the edge, the dregs some would say of society, the downcast, the beggars, the poor, people with no help, people with no hope! Lepers who were untouchable! Speaking of social distancing, nobody wanted to get near a leper.
But Jesus touched the lepers because He loved people. Jesus walked on this planet to extend the love of God and He didn't come digitally. He came personally with a touch, with a transforming love of God. Even to touch the garment of Jesus as He passed by was to receive divine power and healing. God stepped into our world, and this was our great need, the touch and the power of God.
And all of these miracles, this is the evidence that demands a verdict, as Josh McDowall said. The miracles, the works and the words! The miraculous words of Jesus as well, declare that He is God, that He is Savior. It more than a Hallmark card to say: "If our greatest need was education, God would have sent a professor. If our greatest need was money, God would have sent an economist. If our greatest need was advice, God would have sent a counselor. But our greatest need was the forgiveness of sin and salvation, so God sent a Savior! And His name is Jesus".
One final word and that is the wonder of the wonders of Jesus. These acts of God are called miracles, they are called signs with significance and they're called wonders. And John is telling us in this passage that when we believe, he said these things happened; all of this took place and we're eyewitnesses to this, and it all happened "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and believing, you may have life in His name"! The miracles of Jesus demand a response. Jesus is not a stuntman, He’s not the greatest showman, He’s not a superhero, kids; He’s the Savior, the Messiah. And He invites you to believe Him and to receive Him and that your life would become a miracle. A man by the name of Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and he said, "Jesus," he said, "We know that you must be a teacher come from God because no one could do these things that You're doing unless He had come from God".
But you know Jesus, he was more than a teacher from God. He was more than an inspired man filled with God. He was not a teacher from God; He was God who had come to teach! And the miracles and the works of His hand eventually said to Nicodemus, He said, "If you want to see miracles, you like miracles, Nicodemus? Then become a miracle! You must be born again". And when we believe and receive Christ, "For God so loved the world", He went on to say, "that God gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life". The miracles of Jesus should convince you of who He is and what He's about, why He came, to go to the cross, to rise again, to ascend to the Father and one day, come again, because He is King.
I was just buzzing through some songs, some Christmas songs this morning on YouTube. And I came across one that's new that's getting a lot of hits. It's called "O, Come all ye Unfaithful". Really good song! "O, come all you unfaithful"! because this is the call of Christ. "Come all you who are weary and worn". All of us who have been unfaithful to God. He's born to carry our griefs and our sorrows. Jesus, the Miracle Worker, the Messiah, He is your healer. He has come for you, He was born for you, He loves you. You need a miracle in your life? Jesus was born for you. You need a miracle in your marriage? Jesus was born for you. You need a miracle in the life of that child that's far from home and far from God? Jesus was born for them.
So come all you unfaithful. You need a miracle of provision for your life, financial or otherwise? Jesus was born for you. And He can even speak peace to the most troubled heart. If your world is a storm right now, and the winds and the waves are pounding your heart, your heart is troubled, you can calm the waves. Maybe not the circumstances around you, but your heart within you, and say, "Peace, be still". He can cast out demons and break the chains of Satan and addiction and all the rest in your life! He can heal, this miracle worker, your diseased body or your broken heart! He, the Great Physician, the Miracle Worker can forgive every sin. Believe Him. The One who was born of a miracle, and He is a Miracle.