Monday, 23 May 2016

Miracles & Strangers - Sunday 22nd May 2016

Miracles! Some people believe in them, some people do not - and there are a good many people somewhere in between. People of faith heartily endorse the miraculous, while people of no faith resist the idea. Both sides are perhaps a little over-keen to prop up their own presumptions. Truth and fact easily get lost behind the smoke of personal propaganda.
The New Testament accounts of miracles are not blatant propaganda. Jesus routinely asked those he healed not to tell anyone about it. He was not in the business of drawing attention to himself. He had a different agenda.
It is interesting to note that almost all the people who were miraculously healed by Jesus or his disciples were strangers to them. These events were not an outworking of faithful prayer for loved ones in difficult times. There was something quite different going on - something bigger and broader. Jesus was not introducing a heavenly health service, nor was he declaring war on sickness and suffering. These miraculous events were an outworking of God’s love for the people who were consistently rejected and ignored by polite, religious society.
Jesus’ example does not lead us to pray fervently that God will rescue those we love from suffering (though such prayer is a reasonable and appropriate expression of our love). Jesus’ example leads us to consider the plight of total strangers who are rejected and abandoned by our society, and to ask God what he expects us to do for them. And to do it. This is the work of the kingdom of God.

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