When God does miracles today, people respond in different ways. Some people get scared. Some people get excited. Some people run to find others to tell. Some people refuse to believe that it is possible. Some people think it is fake. Some people are jealous. Some people are encouraged. Some people are amazed.
In today’s reading there are four miraculous occurrences that take place, each with different responses:
Aaron lifted his hands over the people and blessed them. Having completed the rituals of the Absolution-Offering, the Whole-Burnt-Offering, and the Peace-Offering, he came down from the Altar. Moses and Aaron entered the Tent of Meeting. When they came out they blessed the people and the Glory of God appeared to all the people. Fire blazed out from God and consumed the Whole-Burnt-Offering and the fat pieces on the Altar. When all the people saw it happen they cheered loudly and then fell down, bowing in reverence. Leviticus 9:22-24 MSG
The Israelites witnessed fire falling from heaven consuming the sacrifices prepared for God by Aaron and his sons. In times past, the fires of the sacrifices were started by man. In this instance, fire came out from before the Lord and burned the fat of the sacrifice. This was a supernatural fire. The peoples’ response was to shout with joy and triumph and fall on their faces in fear and reverence.
Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper. Mark 6:39-44 MSG
When Jesus looked to heaven and blessed and divided the five loaves of bread and two fishes, food which normally would have fed five to ten people, there was enough was enough to feed everyone eating with twelve baskets of remnants left over. There is no report about how the 5000 men who ate of the loaves and fishes responded to this miracle of provision, except that they ate their fill. The people may have been accustomed to Jesus’ miracles and were not surprised, just assumed that this was a normal thing when in His presence, or they may not have even realized that a miracle had occurred at all.
Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts. Mark 6:50-52 MSG
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water they were initially scared. When Jesus comforted them and told them not to be afraid they were amazed. Even though they walked with him and regularly saw Jesus do miracles, they were shocked and didn’t understand.
They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well. Mark 6:53-56 MSG
These people had heard about Jesus and the miracles He had been performing. They knew that Jesus would heal all those who were brought to Him. The people of Gennesaret responded with belief and great expectation by bringing all of their sick to Him to be healed. Those who needed healing responded in faith by touching Jesus and were healed.
I believe in miracles. I pray for miracles on a regular basis and see them happen first hand, in India and elsewhere: A woman’s leg lengthened so she no longer walks with a limp or with pain. A leper who can now open and close his hands to be able to grip a spoon so he can eat again. A joyful song sung by a pastor who wasn’t able to preach the Gospel for a year because an illness damaged his vocal chords. A teary eyed smile from a woman who could see clearly again after cataracts slowly took her eyesight. Tumors in a man’s arm shrinking more than 50% before my very eyes. Chest pain, headaches, and emotional heart aches…gone in Jesus’ name.
Each time I witness God’s miracles I am encouraged to pray for more. I am amazed. I am excited. I am filled with awe at God’s love for me. I don’t understand them or why some receive miracles and some don’t. But I don’t need to. I trust in God’s divine, supernatural power and His ability to do whatever needs to be done according to His will and purposes.
Holy Spirit, thank you for all of the miracles you have done in my life – both the seemingly small miracles to the huge ones. I want to see more miracles in my life and in the lives of others. Help my heart understand and not ever harden to how you are moving today. Keep my heart always soft toward you so that I can freely receive and freely give all that you have given me. Amen.
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India