By Pastor Rodney Wilson
Something To Marvel About
Marvel. And no, I’m not referring to the comic book publisher. I’m referring to the word, “marvel” defined by Noah Webster in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English language as “a wonder; that which arrests the attention and causes a person to stand or gaze.” Christ uses this word to explain the purpose of his miracles:
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.” (John 5:19–20, ESV) [Emphasis mine]
Jesus had just healed an invalid by the pool of Bethesda (John 5). He healed the man physically and then told him to “sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you” which suggests Jesus’ ministry was more than merely healing infirmities (John 5:14). The Jews then sought to kill Jesus because he broke the Sabbath (by healing) and declared that God was his Father. Jesus then explained that he was doing the work of his father and that greater works will be done so that men may “marvel.”
But why “marvel” and for what purpose? Solely being amazed at Jesus’ power to heal, cast out demons, and raise people from the dead seems empty and lacking. A miracle done by Jesus seems devoid of meaning and leaves us wanting more miracles, if our marveling ends there. Consider Jesus’ reaction to his followers after the feeding of the Five Thousand:
“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” (John 6:26, ESV)
In essence, Jesus is saying, you aren’t seeking me because I am divine. You are simply looking at the surface. The marveling that results from a work of God will always lead us to God himself. Christ's miracles were a display of his deity so that man’s attention would be arrested and fixed—not just upon a healer, but a savior!
“And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” (John 5:20–21, ESV) [Emphasis mine].
Sadly, we live in a world where many people, saved and unsaved, do not marvel in this way. The saved person can slip into this just as easy as an unsaved person. We witness God’s miracles each day, yet never marvel at the one who displays his deity so that we might come to salvation. We look at the heavens and do not see them “declaring the glory of the Lord,” according to Psalms 19. We view the sun as simply a star among stars and the moon a mere rock in space but never consider its maker. The birds that fly are simply birds—nothing more. They are merely peripheral life forms on this planet and not an amazing creation of God. Every day, human beings are attacked by all manner of sicknesses that we never feel because God heals our bodies. Yet, this is nothing to marvel over. It’s just our immune system doing its job. Babies in the womb are scientifically explained away as a tissue mass and certainly the miracle of child birth is not a miracle but a common place, routine visit to a hospital.
I submit that one of the biggest problems in the world is our inability to marvel at the creator and thereby, see the need to be submitted to a Lord and savior. Of course, all of this stems from sinfulness and idolatry. Christ came to make all of this right. He is the only one who can stop a sinner dead in his tracks and cause him to marvel as God intended. But we Christians still have work to do. Let’s not let the heavens beat us in declaring the glory of the Lord!
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:13–15, KJV 1900)
To think that God uses sinners like us to take a message so beautiful . . . now THAT’S something to marvel about!