Flashback Episode — Year of Miracles – Finale: Part 1

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As we begin our special two-part finale for this year of podcasting, first off I want to wish all of you an extra special and merry Christmas. I hope that while you are spending time with friends and family, that you also take some time to remember Jesus and what He stepped into this world to accomplish. Without Jesus, life would have no reason for hope, and we would be lost in our sin.

However, because of Christmas, we are reminded that Jesus did come, and that He came to show us how much God loves each of us. Seeing how God loved people through Jesus is one of the big themes we focused in on this past year of podcasting through the gospels looking at Jesus’ miracles. As always, there is way more than I could cover in one, or even two, finale episodes if I were to try to recap everything, but as always, I’m here to share with you the insights that stood out to me the most.

With that said, let’s dive into some of the biggest and best insights, at least in my own mind, that we discovered this past year focusing in on Jesus’ miracles.

Let’s start off by focusing in on what we learned in episode 1. In our first episode, we looked at God miraculously protecting Jesus when those in the Nazareth synagogue wanted to kill Jesus for offending them. In this episode, we learned that while none of us knows exactly when we will die, we can trust that God will keep us safe through everything that comes our way as we move through fulfilling the mission He has for our lives. Regardless of whether our lives are going well, or whether we are facing hard times, and regardless of whether things are calm or chaotic, we can trust that God is in control and that He is moving history towards the end of sin and the salvation of His people.

Continuing forward, the next two episodes focused in on Jesus turning water into wine. In episode 3, we learned that culture pressures people to live by the philosophy “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”—which is ultimately a recipe for living hopeless lives. But the symbolic counter-cultural message here is that Jesus flips this idea upside down. When Jesus is involved, what we thought was good wine was served first, but what comes next is infinitely better. While those living without Jesus live hopeless lives believing that times are good then worse, when we live with Jesus, we can face the good and bad times in this life knowing that the best is still to come.

Episodes 4 and 5 focused on Jesus healing an official’s son in Capernaum. In this miracle, we learned that when we pray to God, know that He does not delay answering our prayers. Like the official did, we should trust that God has answered our prayers at the exact moment we pray them. However, we should also move forward with the faith that we might not always see God’s answers to prayers at the moment we pray them, or in the way we expect them to be answered.

Episode 6 was one of the first times we looked at miracles where Jesus cast demons out of people where the demons tried to tell those present who Jesus was. In this episode, we are reminded that Jesus, as the Holy One of God, is stronger than Satan and his force of evil angels. The demon obeyed Jesus, and this detail proves that Jesus is stronger than the devil. We should never listen to Satan because he is an untrustworthy source. Satan can share truth, but because Satan is known for lying, anything we listen to becomes suspect simply because of the source. It is much safer to acknowledge but ignore Satan.

I promise we won’t cover something from every miracle, but in episode 7, where Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, we learned that one of the most appropriate ways of saying “thank you” to Jesus and to God for everything He has done for you and I is through serving Him. Peter’s mother-in-law served Jesus following being healed. In the case of us living over 2,000 years later, we serve God through serving others, and when we serve those who cannot repay us with more than a “thank you”, we are serving as God has called us to serve.

In episode 9, we looked at the miracle of fish that prompted the invitation of some of the first disciples. We discovered that Jesus was willing to trust His message with a bunch of not-so-religious fishermen. These four men were the least qualified men from a religious perspective, but in God’s eyes, they were perfectly qualified because they had willing, teachable hearts. God uses the willing and teachable heart to train and equip an individual for His purposes, and these closest disciples step up to lead the church in powerful ways after the Holy Spirit entered their lives.

Jumping forward to episode 11, we discovered some powerful truths when learning about Jesus healing a man with leprosy. We learned that sometimes bad things happen simply because we live in a sinful world. In contrast, sometimes bad things happen because God chooses to withdraw His protection. When we are living apart from God, it makes logical sense that God is not obligated to protect us from the sin in this world. God’s protection is a gift, and when we realize this, we should be grateful when we are protected, not angry when bad enters our lives.

And in this same episode, we are reminded that when we make mistakes in life, and when we sin, it is easy to think that God no longer loves us. However, God is more than willing to forgive you and me than we are willing to admit. God loves you and I so much that nothing could stop Jesus from coming down to take the punishment for our sins. Jesus forgives us because He wants to forgive us, and because He knows that His forgiveness is a big part of the way we receive eternal life.

Wow, we are running out of time. Let’s jump forward and focus on just two or three more episodes before wrapping up part 1.

In episode 20, when Jesus is interrupted on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter by a woman wanting to be secretly healed of a bleeding condition, Jesus stopped and brings this miracle to the forefront. We learned in this miracle, through this woman’s faith in Jesus that God is looking for a people who are determined, persistent, and won’t back down when their faith is challenged. God is looking for His people, living today, to be persistent, passionate, and determined to live our lives with a faith that will not be shaken by anything that comes our way. We are called to live with a faith that leads us into eternity.

A few episodes later in episode number 23, we discovered when looking at Jesus healing a mute man and receiving pushback from the Pharisees that history has proved repeatedly that when the Bible is filtered through anything else, people are deceived and they give up on God’s truth. Tradition is only as good as it is grounded in scriptures. If a traditional belief or idea counters what the Bible teaches, then we must discard the tradition in favor of the Bible in order to have a clear conscience.

Following tradition is easy, but tradition caused the people who should have recognized Jesus, namely the religious leaders who knew the prophecies and the scriptures the best, to reject Him instead. Tradition threatens us in the same way today when we don’t remain grounded in God’s Word!

The last episode we’ll look at in part 1 of our finale is a truth that we discovered in episode 24, in the miracle by the pool at Bethesda. In this event, it appears as though Jesus may have ignored many sick or ill people while He came to help this one man. We discovered in this episode that some times God chooses not to heal someone instead of healing them. Some people choose to discount God’s love or His existence because of this dilemma, but this dilemma only is unsolvable when we see this life as all there is to live. Instead, God wants as many people as possible in the new heaven and new earth, and He wants sin gone forever, never to reappear. God is more focused on bringing people safely into eternity than on minimizing the destructive nature of sin while it exists.

This concludes our first half of this finale. The closing thought and challenge I’ll leave you as we head into our Christmas celebration together is that God wants to answer our prayers, but He also wants us to give Him gratitude, thanks, and love for being our Provider. When we are grateful to God for everything He has done for us, and when we open our eyes to how He often works, we will begin to see answered prayers, blessings, and evidence for His existence everywhere.

Let’s thank God today and this season for everything He has done for us!

Flashback Episode: Year of Miracles – Finale: In the first part of our annual two-part finale, discover some of the biggest insights we discovered during the first half of this past year moving through the gospels and focusing in on the miracles Jesus performed.

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