Year of Miracles – Finale: Part 2

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Last week we began our annual two-part finale by focusing on insights from the first half of this year podcasting through the gospels and focusing in on Jesus’ miracles.

However, before we dive back into the insights we’ve learned from looking at Jesus’ miracles, I’ve been thinking and debating in my head about what we should focus on for next year. A few years back, we had several years of chronologically moving through the Bible, and we just finished two awesome years focusing on the topic of Jesus’ final week leading up to the cross and now on Jesus’ miracles.

The debate in my head centered around trying to do another year focused on a specific topic, or perhaps if we should spend several years focusing on each gospel individually. While we often take each gospel for granted, and simply choose the one that we like the most or the one that includes the greatest detail, each author had a specific focus in mind when writing their story of Jesus. In many ways, we can discover a lot about Jesus through each gospel individually.

Well I think I may have just solved my dilemma. Starting next week, let’s dive into Matthew’s gospel and see what he can teach us about Jesus!

However, we still have a bunch of insights left to focus on from our year of miracles. So let’s pick back up where we left off at the end of our last episode.

Episodes 26 and 27 focused in on Jesus feeding the crowd of 5,000 people. However, Mark’s gospel taught us something we might not have noticed before in this event. From Marks’ gospel in episode 26, we learned that it is critically important for us to take time away from our mission in life to simply rest. We should never feel guilty taking time to rest and recharge, but we also should always be willing to help those God has brought into our lives.

From John’s gospel in episode 27, we also learned from the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus that when we sacrificially give, God is able to bless in extraordinary ways. Also Andrew teaches us that we should bring people to Jesus regardless of whether we believe the gifts they have to offer are significant or not. We should bring people to Jesus simply because we know that God loves them and that Jesus died for their sins. There’s no better reason to invite someone to God than because of what Jesus has already done for us.

Jumping ahead to episode 29, we learned from a few transitional verses that word had spread about the woman touching Jesus’ garment and how she was healed. From this episode, we discovered that faith, when added to just a sliver of Jesus, is capable of extraordinary miracles. The faith of all these people, when mixed with a momentary touch of Jesus’ garment, prompted their healing. With a Holy Spirit connection, we can have both the faith we need and the connection we need to see and experience miracles in our own lives. The big test of our faith is actually choosing to step out in faith that we will get answers and see the miracle.

In episode 30, it appeared as though Jesus made a special trip up to the Mediterranean coast just to insult a gentile woman who came asking Him for help. While Jesus appears to be very insensitive in this event, we discovered that Jesus may have ignored and insulted this woman to show everyone present that nothing would stop her, distract her, or shake her determination to get Jesus’ help. Regardless of whether we mess up, fall down, or fail God, the only way we truly fail is if we don’t get back up and press forward. If our faith disappears at the slightest push of resistance, it is worthless and weak.

While I don’t believe God likes to ignore us, and I don’t believe His desire is to insult us, I believe that the only way to truly test the strength of faith is by giving it resistance. Without pushback, it is impossible to test the strength of faith. Without resistance, it’s impossible to become like the first century church heroes and model Christ to a world needing a Savior.

Jumping forward to episode 35, we see Jesus being asked a perplexing question about what caused a man to be born blind. In that culture, it was seen as a punishment from God for sin, either from one’s actions, or from a parent or grandparent’s action. Jesus counters with a third option, that sometimes things happen so God can receive glory. We discovered in this episode that Jesus’ third option opens the door for us to be a blessing to others. If God is punishing someone for their sin, we would be unwise to get in the way of that punishment. However, if the bad that happens is God sending an opportunity for His people to step in and help, it becomes an opening for God to be praised through the good that happened in spite of the bad situation. If this is the case, then as Christians, when bad happens, we are to see this as God giving us an opportunity to get involved and challenging us to make a positive difference.

As we are again running out of time, let’s jump over a bunch of episodes that had great insights to get to some extra significant ones that come later.

In episode 45, which focused on Jesus cursing a fig tree which shriveled up and died, we discovered a lesson about faith, prayer, and doubt. In this event, we learned that One might call doubt itself a negative faith. If something bad happens in our life, we can choose to hate God, or hate the sin-corrupted world that we live in. If we choose to hate God, then doubt gains a foothold in our hearts. However, if we choose to hate the sin-corrupted world, we naturally lean into God and more eagerly look forward to the day when Jesus returns and puts an end to sin.

Jumping forward to the miracle surrounding Jesus hanging on the cross in episode 47, while it isn’t generally listed as one of Jesus’ miracles, we discovered in this episode how Jesus truly is the Life-Giver. Jesus the Life-Giver’s death brings His people new life. As followers of Jesus, we not only have a new life in our current situation, but we also have the promise of a perfect, eternal life when Jesus returns.

To wrap up this year focusing on Jesus’ miracles that were recorded in the gospels, episodes 49 and 50 focused us on Jesus’ last official miracle, and on an often ignored or discounted miracle that is one of the most significant gifts Jesus offered to us. In this event we discovered forgiveness, and that no matter how far we have fallen away from God, He is willing to invite us back. No matter how badly we have messed up, while we have breath, we have been given the chance to return. Even if we think God no longer loves us, know that Jesus came to redeem sinners – and that includes whatever you feel you have done that isn’t forgivable. God wants to forgive you, and He is more than willing to invite you back into being one of His followers.

And with God’s forgiveness, Jesus trusts us with His people. Every believer, when they have received forgiveness is entrusted with feeding, taking care of, and helping other believers. God could have left the work of evangelism and helping others to the angels, but instead, He gives us the opportunity to join with Him and be a blessing to those He brings into our lives.

We spent an amazing year together looking at Jesus’ miracles. To end off this episode and this year of podcasting Jesus’ miracles, let’s focus on one last promise and challenge from episode 50: Jesus knows our future and He is passionate about seeing us saved for eternity. While Peter failed Jesus before the cross, Jesus gave Peter the greatest gift imaginable: Jesus gave Peter the assurance that his life would glorify God. We don’t know when our end will be, or even what the circumstances surrounding our end will be, but we know that Jesus knows, and that while He has work for us to do in this world, He will keep us safe to do His work in this world.

We also know and trust that when we are finished doing the work God has called us to do, He will give us the blessing of rest and keep us safe as we move together into eternity.

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

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