Miracles are given many names in the Word of God, including “signs,” “wonders,” and “mighty deeds.” However, they all had one thing in common: they were, at their source, the actions of Almighty God. Whether working through His Son or an Old Testament prophet, miracles brought God close and had a lasting impact on those they touched.
Miracles – then and now – are not magic. Magic is performed to entertain crowds; miracles are performed to change lives.
You can find many miracles in the Old Testament, but it is in the New Testament, especially the four Gospels recounting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that miracles had their fullest form and finest hour. The blind saw, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, the incurably sick were healed, and the dead were brought back to life. However, the jaw-dropping effect of these events can cause them to seem far away when we look at our own lives in this world today.
Unless we know what to look for.
Before the birth of Jesus, every miracle had a specific purpose for a specific time and place. The Israelites needed to be rescued from Pharaoh’s onrushing army, so God parted the Red Sea until His people reached the other side (Exodus 14:1-31). Joshua needed more daylight to vanquish the Amorites, so God made the sun stand still until the enemy was defeated (Joshua 10:1-14). Elijah needed to eat, so God multiplied a poor widow’s food so that she could feed him (1 Kings 17:8-24).
Then came Jesus.
Admittedly, every miracle performed by Jesus had a recipient: a man healed of leprosy (Matthew 8:1-4), another who had been lame for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-9), a hungry crowd (John 6:1-15), a man who had been blind from birth (John 9:1-15), and a widow’s only son who had died (Luke 7:11-17). However, what caused the Son of God to bring forth the supernatural no longer had to be part of a larger plan or objective. Instead, the activating cause was love, His love, often simply expressed as His compassion for our helplessness and continued captivity to sickness and death (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 20:34; Mark 8:1-3; Luke 7:13; John 11:35-36).
This is where you and I come in.
Two storms, two rescues
Among the many miracles of Jesus, two were performed at sea. In one, His followers were with Him when a fierce storm threatened to capsize their boat (Mark 4:35-41). In the other, His followers were alone when a severe storm arose and Peter left the boat to meet Jesus, who was walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). In the first storm, Jesus transformed the violence into calm (Mark 4:39). In the other, He reached out and pulled Peter from harm (Matthew 14:31).
Again, it is easy to miss the relevance of these events in our own lives unless we know the reasons they are in the Word of God, preserved for us for almost two thousand years.
Were these events a demonstration of the power of the Son of God?
Did they show the authority He exercised on behalf of God the Father?
But are they, for us, limited to only these types of natural occurrences or the geographical places at which they occurred?
Not at all.
Most of us will never encounter storms at sea that threaten our lives. However, almost all of us will encounter storms in our lives that threaten to capsize our joy and destroy our peace.
The storms of life
I have lived long enough to have seen both the best and the worst of life on this earth. I cling to God’s joy, and I crave His peace, but, in an instant, it can all be lost. Hope and faith so strong today can quickly become like the wreckage of a boat tossed up on the beach tomorrow. Friends and family try to help, but even they are powerless against the forces of evil and death in our world.
That is why we still need – and still have – a Savior.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior
When Peter began sinking amidst the wind and waves on that fateful day so long ago, he uttered perhaps the perfect prayer: “Save me, Lord!” And Jesus did just that (Matthew 14:30-31). At the most difficult times in your life, Jesus Christ is already there, hand extended, ready to pull you from the chaos which threatens to engulf you. Peace, joy, hope, love – as God knows them, not as this world knows them – are all there waiting for you again, or perhaps for the first time ever, once the rescue is complete. Only God can do that. Only God will do that.
In the end, the miracles of Jesus at sea almost two thousand years ago teach us the same crucial lesson they taught Peter and the others back then:
The storms of life will prove the strength of our Savior.
-- Dr. John Morris