I wonder to myself sometimes, “Why doesn’t God (insert miracle) to show that He is real, powerful, and loving.” Perhaps you have thought something similar? Then I’m reminded that there were people that were with Jesus, people who saw His power and heard His teaching firsthand who still rejected him.
We can see this dynamic most profoundly in the Pharisees. Have you ever noticed how many of Jesus’ miracles are directly followed by an attempt by the Pharisees to trap or accuse Him?
One of the most striking examples of this phenomenon is found in Matthew 12. You can read about Jesus healing a man with a crippled hand in verses 9-14.
Instead of being astounded by Jesus’ supernatural power the Pharisees were upset that Jesus “worked” on a day of rest. Pardon my language, but that’s just stupid.
Verse 14 boggles my mind uniquely. Right after Jesus revealed His Divine power over sickness and disease, “The Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” In place of an appropriate worshipful response to this miracle-worker, they went to war against Him.
Jesus helps us to understand these dynamics better in John 10:26, “But you don’t believe because you are not of my sheep.” What may appear to us to be “stupid” actually represents an important spiritual truth.
Recognizing Jesus as Lord comes from conviction of the Holy Spirit and the drawing of the Heavenly Father. Even in the face of miracles, without a spiritual work, people will still reject Christ. For most people miracles were not enough in New Testament times, they won’t be enough today.
The Apostle Paul wrote this in I Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is folly to those that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Two people can sit in the same church service, hear the same Gospel, and one leaves that service fully forgiven after they come to Christ and the other remains in their sin.
More than any physical healing, the forgiveness of a sinner is the greatest miracle of all. For God to physically heal, all He has to do is speak, but to save the lost God had to die. We should pray for sick people to be healed but we should be most passionate about the miracle that is the Gospel.
This reality is what makes John 14:12 clearer. Whenever someone is miraculously healed it’s because God saw fit to heal them. These moments are not based on an individual’s giftedness or super-spirituality.
So what “greater works” is Jesus talking about in this passage? I believe that Jesus is referring to the miracle of a sinner’s conversion. As we share the Gospel we have the opportunity to be involved in a fully Trinitarian salvation when someone we share with repents and believes. What a privilege that God has given us with the Gospel!
That miracle that shows that God is real, powerful, and loving is embodied in the life of any sinner saved by grace.
When we keep this truth in mind we won’t just be more thankful for the grace we’ve received we’ll want to see that grace do greater works around us! The most relevant miracle of all is redemption. B&R