John 10:38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.
I would think when a person experiences a miracle there is a change of heart or mind on who, what, or how the miracle was performed. As Jesus was saying in this passage, if you don’t believe in Me, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done.
Yet, just because a miracle has been performed, it does not mean people will believe. In fact, there was a group of cities in Israel during the days of Jesus who had miracles performed in them, and it did not change their mind about God. If a person can’t believe in the results of a miracle being from God, what would convince them of God’s presence on earth? Good question! You would think that miracles would make it easier to believe, but let me show you what happened during the time of Jesus.
The passage is Matthew 11:20-24 and there are these cities: Chorazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon, and Capernaum. All these cities Jesus said had great miracles done in them, yet none of these cities repented before God. In fact, He even singles out Capernaum (His hometown) and said that Sodom would have more tolerance with God than Capernaum in the Day of Judgment. Why? Because there were mighty works of God done in all these cities, but it wasn’t enough to bring them to repentance and to acknowledge God. Think about that for a moment.
All these cities had miracles performed in them, but nothing changed. People didn’t change, conditions in their cities didn’t change … nothing changed, even though God was at work in their midst. Today, it’s hard to get people to believe in miracles because they don’t happen every day to most people. In fact, miracles do happen daily but many of us just don’t see them because we are not looking for them. I can’t find my keys most days, even though I have a system I call, ‘ministry of place.’ Ministry of place is where you put your keys and important things (wallet, phone) you need every day in a special place, and that is the place you go to find them for the next day. So, what happens is I forget to place my keys in the ‘ministry of place’ and I absentmindedly place them somewhere I will never find them when I need them. That is when the miracle takes place. God helps me find those keys even when I would never look in the place I put them the night before. It is a miracle, and as small as it is, for me, it is a miracle when I find my keys. I can acknowledge God with thanksgiving, I can change my patterns of absentmindedness, and get back on track with the ‘ministry of place’ if the miracle of finding my keys really impacted me. That is the bottom line. Was I impacted enough to realize I need to change? If so, then the miracle did its work.
These cities saw and experienced the miracles of Jesus and yet nothing they saw was impactful enough for them to know they needed to change and acknowledge God in their lives. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead it impacted people, but not everyone. Many of Jesus’ disciples were not impacted to the point of a major change. Judas was not so moved by this miracle that he devoted his life to preserving the ministry of Jesus. His betrayal was his choice, his impatience to see Jesus reign on earth now, and he was going to do something about that by forcing Jesus to act when he sold Him out to the religious leaders.
Miracles have their place to inspire and influence, but commitment to God doesn’t come from inspiration … it comes from our conviction and our commitment to know God. There cannot be anything between us and God if we want to know Him as He is. We cannot say it was the miracle that made me come to Jesus … it may inspire you to come to Jesus, but Jesus wants you to know Him without any strings attached. Some people serve Jesus because there is a benefit for them to do so. Called it eternal life, blessings, peace, all of which are good things, but they should never be the reason we serve and worship Him. He wants us to know Him without the trappings we often use to say God is good. God is good no matter what, but that is hard to say when you’ve just lost a loved one, or you just got fired, or you went bankrupt. But that is the point … the circumstances should never define your love for God and influence you to serve Him or not. His purpose for you to come to Jesus is to have your sins forgiven, and you could have a relationship with Him, no strings attached. You don’t have to worship a certain way, or believe in a way that qualifies you to belong to a group … you just believe and let you and God work out the details. The bottom line is knowing God by loving Him … which is done by doing what God wants you to do. It is that simple.
Yes, the miracles in those cities should have influenced them to press in and discover that the Messiah was in their midst, but they didn’t … that was a huge mistake. Don't make that same mistake! Take the time to say to God you want to know Him and He will direct you to Jesus. He is the One you must know to have a relationship with God, and that is the greatest miracle of all.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler