At the time of this writing, we are in the midst of the sermon series “The Gospel According to John: The Invisible Made Visible.” If you’ve been following from the beginning or have read through the book, you’ll notice that John is a very thematic writer. Like his Rabbi, he cleverly combines spiritual truths with physical illustrations. One theme that has become particularly apparent to me is the stark contrast between genuine belief in Jesus as the Christ and excited fascination in Jesus the miracle-worker.
Both are true about Jesus. Jesus performed many miracles prior to his ascension, from turning water to wine (John 2:1-12), healing multitudes of disease and sicknesses (Matthew 14:14), and even raising some from the dead (Mark 5:35-41; John 11:8-44). And it is also true that Jesus is the Christ of God, the Messiah sent by the Father to save the world from sin.
However, what John wants us to see and believe is that the two titles are inextricably connected. Jesus is the consummate miracle worker, the holistic Physician who heals body, soul and spirit, mind, and heart. That is the what many of his first century audiences did not accept. They followed Jesus simply to make their temporal lives better. But Jesus was not content to simply heal the sick or cater a meal for the thousands. Jesus had compassion on their physical needs, yes (Mark 8:2), but he was more concerned about their spiritual condition (Mark 6:34). The physical healing and full stomach would only last temporarily, but he had compassion enough to provide eternal healing and everlasting fulfillment. So he gave them himself.
And the same if true for us today. Jesus gives us himself, the only one capable of transforming us from self-centered sign seekers to God glorifying Jesus worshipers. Our willful rebellion against God and our defiance of his laws made us enemies – enemies that deserve the just punishment of our sin. But on the cross, Jesus paid the penalty of our sin, and with his resurrection, death is defeated. Our hope, then, as believers, is that we will outlive death and will one day experience the inexpressible joy of seeing Jesus face to face.
Let me leave you with these words from the apostle Paul.
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:18-21).