How we respond to the miraculous is just as important as trusting that they can happen.
Often, what can happen when we actually DO trust Jesus and the power of miracles is that we sit back and say, “Alright Jesus! You’re up. Do your thing. I’m going to just sit here and wait.” If we get complacent and expect miracles to bail us out, then we get lazy. We stop planning and working.
The better response from the disciples would have been and indeed the way we ought to respond is by saying, “Jesus, I’m going to try to do this thing. Will you give me a hand? I know this is going to be so much better with you.”
In one sense, then, it was good that the disciples never stopped trying to figure things out. This bled over after Jesus was gone and they were sent out to make other disciples. Empowered by the Spirit, they still had the work ethic that said they needed to work with the Spirit and not in place of the Spirit. They knew that miracles could happen. They just didn’t wait for them to happen.
The other things we can do is that we can also overanalyze the meaning of the miracle and make it out to be a fulfilling of our wants and desires instead of letting the miracle point to the Miracle Worker. Jesus isn’t an ATM to supply your wants. He is the source of all life that overflows your needs. Miracles do not happen to fulfill wants. They fulfill needs.
But look what happens in this passage. The people get fed. Jesus does this amazing thing. Certainly, many of those people had seen or at least heard about the other miracles Jesus had done previously. They decide that he’s probably the eagerly waited for Messiah.
We don’t have time today to get deep into the assumptions that held for the crowd other than to say they way they thought the Messiah should behave was not the way Jesus knew it needed to happen.
But they see this miracle and respond by launchingout into thinking about how they could take this amazing miracle worker and usehim to fulfill a deeply held desire. It wasn’t a need, though they might have arguedotherwise. The conquering Messiah that would come and physically overthrow theRoman occupation was something wanted but not ultimately something needed atthat time. And Jesus knew it.
In the book Anatomy of a Miracle, there is a story of a woman who sees a paralyzed veteran get up out of his wheelchair and walk. She believes he has God’s favor and Jesus’ ear. She tells the young man, “I need Jesus to hear you say my name tonight.” She responded to witnessing a miracle to try to get something out of Jesus. She responded to the miracle by expecting more right then. Instead of thinking that she should pray more earnestly and trust in Jesus to work through her prayers, she saw the miracle and placed her trust in something other than Jesus himself.
How do WE respond to the miraculous? Do we rely onmiracles to pick up our slack? Do we hope and pray for miracles to give us whatwe want…or what we need? Do we even know the difference? Do we trust in Jesusto journey along with us as we do work in his name or do we expect him to doall of the heavy lifting?
Trust that miracles can happen and that more oftenthan not they will happen through our actions and resources…but they will bedriven by God’s power.
Pray for our needs and not for our wants.
Realize that miracles always point to the glory andgoodness of Jesus and not us.
Ifyou remember nothing else, remember this: We don’t havethe power to fix the world. We have the power to trust Jesus (and respond appropriatelyto his miracles).