Right after the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus preaches and teaches about turning the world upside down, he begins healing people. Right out of the gate. “When he came down from the mountainside…” (Matt. 8:1), the first thing he did was heal a man with leprosy. “Be clean!” The very next story has Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant. He heals Peter’s mother-in-law in the very next passage. And Matthew tells us, look, this is what God’s been building toward all along: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matt. 8:17).
Still in the same chapter, Jesus calms the raging sea. The wind and the waves are tearing up the boat. The storm is threatening to destroy the people in it. And Jesus stops everything. With a word, all is calm. Peace is restored.
A few chapters later we find more than 5,000 hungry people out in the wilderness. No food. No Kroger. They’re going to starve. And Jesus provides the food. Fish and bread. Everybody eats until they’re full. They collected twelve baskets of leftovers.
We look at Jesus’ miracles and we think, wow, Jesus goes against the laws of nature! Jesus does the supernatural! He suspends reality! We say Jesus overrides the natural order. But that’s not correct. When Jesus does a miracle, he’s actually restoring the natural order. Jesus is restoring things to the way they were always created and intended to be.
The wind and the waves were not created by God to kill. People are not made to be sick or hungry.
We need to change the way we view Jesus’ miracles. He’s not going against the norm. He’s tapping into and restoring the norm. Calm seas are normal. Satisfied bellies are normal.
Jesus shows up and says, “I’m fixing things!” When Jesus finishes a miracle, I think he steps back and says, “Now that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” Jesus’ miracles are not abnormal. He’s just showing us and reminding us of what normal is. It’s been so long, a lot of us forget. We look around at all the problems in this world and we start to think that things have always been this way and they’re always going to be this way. No! That’s wrong on both counts!
I think this has a lot to say to God’s people groaning today in Japan. It’s a powerful message for God’s people groaning in India. And in North Texas.
Hunger and disease and divorce are not normal. They are abnormalities. Aberrations. Addiction and homelessness and broken families are not regular. They are irregular. Out of order. So are tsunamis and tornadoes and hurricanes. And nuclear meltdowns and crime and war. These are the very things our Lord came to fix. And, praise God, with his coming, the fixing’s already begun.
And if we really believe it…
…then we’ll jump into that exact same kind of “fixing” work with everything we have.
Jesus’ miracles are not abnormal. He’s just reminding us of what normal really is.