We began a preaching series last week called That’s a Great Question. We’re looking at some of the questions Jesus asked. We are challenged to consider what these questions say about our own hearts as well as the heart of God.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to tackle some of the questions our congregation is submitting during this series. Our desire is to foster an environment where we are unafraid to ask questions, have dialogue, and look to Scripture to trust more confidently in the sovereignty and love of our Heavenly Father.
Here’s one from this week: I accept that Jesus rose from the dead, but I have a hard time with some miracles in the Old Testament. Was this a magical place where things happened for a time but never again?
I have been challenged to read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. The things God was doing in and through the Hebrew people in ancient times was setting the table for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. These are fantastic stories and sometimes difficult to believe. The story of Jonah tells of God’s prophet being thrown from a ship and swallowed by a large fish. He remained there for three days until the fish vomited him onto the beach. In the book of Numbers a donkey speaks to his owner. The book of Exodus tells of the miraculous plagues which befell Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions and God shut their mouths to keep him from harm. Three men were thrown into a blazing furnace and walked out of it alive! Fantastic acts of God abound throughout His Word.
It’s important to note that millions of people lived during the OT and NT times who never witnessed any of the miracles we read about in the collection of the Scripture. Most of the accounts we read about in the NT show Jesus healing sparingly.
Let’s note three important things, here. One, God used miracles in the OT to establish his identity and glory. In Exodus 3 we read this:
2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up… 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
God used miraculous acts to show Israel that he was the Creator God and the only one who is worthy of their worship and trust. In essence, any God who can bend the order of nature is a God worth following. This is an important foundational fact. God shows that he has sovereignty over animals, water, fire, wind, and disease. He will prove this over and over. Jesus will do the same.
Two, God used miracles to protect his chosen people. In 2 Kings 6 God provides an army from heaven with chariots of fire to surround and defeat an invading enemy army. God saw fit to continue to remind the Jewish people that he was their God and that he had a plan and purpose for their lives. He promised to bless them and multiply their descendants. He promised never to abandon them. He continued to draw out of them dependence and trust in Him alone. He could bend the natural order of things and unleash heaven’s power onto earth to do just that. One of those descendants is Jesus. Jesus would continue to bring the fuller weight and power of God’s Kingdom down from heaven to earth.
Third, God used miracles to prove he has the power to defeat death and restore life. You’ll notice that Jesus never turned anyone to stone, nor did he change the color of the sun to blue. Jesus’s miracles always showed his power to restore things to their original creation order. He made food abundant. He calmed storms. He healed sick people. He brought dead things back to life. The ultimate miracle of God was to defeat sin and death through the resurrection of his Son! This was his plan all along. Jesus hints at it in Matthew 12.
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The resurrection of Jesus is the promise of new and eternal life to all those who believe in him. If our Heavenly Father can do that, then believing he can shut the mouths of lions or part seas or save marriages or heal addictions or change hearts or use ordinary people to advance his Kingdom through his Church all over the world… then he can do anything! He is worthy of my trust and worship.
Believing the unbelievable,
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church