How do miracles happen? Obviously every miracle is a special work performed by the merciful God for us. But when we go deep into it we can find that there are certain things that act as catalysts or rather prime movers for miracles. Broadly we can classify them into two; faith and obedience. The role of faith behind miracles is well documented and we do not need any evidence for it because the Scripture is replete with instances of the merciful God performing miracles seeing the faith of the people.
But the other aspect viz. obedience is generally ignored. True, we value obedience as an essential virtue, we practice it and we uphold its value before God. But have we ever given our thoughts to obedience as something that compels God to perform miracles?
At Cana the process of converting water into wine commenced at the moment when the servants obeyed the words of Jesus to ‘fill the jars with water’ (Jn 2:7). The man at Bethzatha was eager to get well, and Jesus was equally eager to heal him. But the miracle happened when the paralytic obeyed Jesus; ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk’ (Jn 5:8). For a man who was confined to the bed for thirty eight years, there were compelling reasons to doubt these words. Jesus could have healed him by a mere touch or glance or a ‘get well’ command. But instead Jesus demanded an apparently impossible thing from the paralyzed person. And the miracle happened when he obeyed the words of Jesus and tried to stand up.
When Jesus multiplied the bread, he knew beforehand that he was going to do it (Jn 6:6). Yet he said to the disciples; ‘Make the people sit down’ (Jn 6:10). They obeyed and the miracle followed. When Jesus healed a man who was blind from birth, the actual miracle happened when he obeyed the words of Jesus to get himself washed in the pool of Siloam (Jn 9:7). Lazarus was risen from the dead by the powerful word of Jesus; “Lazarus, come out!” (Jn 11:43). But before that his sisters had to obey what Jesus instructed them; ‘Take away the stone’ (Jn 11:39). Jesus demanded obedience as a precondition to raise even his closest friend!
The obedience of ten lepers stands out. When they prayed for healing. Jesus does not immediately heal them. Instead he tells them to ‘go and show themselves to the priests’ (Lk 17:14). For anyone who knew the cleansing rituals demanded from a Jewish leper, Jesus’ words were strange. Because for a leper, presenting himself before the priests was the last step after getting cured of leprosy. Here Jesus is telling them to go to the priests even before they were healed. Their obedience was blind and it was rewarded not at the end but on the way. The Scripture says that they were made clean as they went.
Peter, John and other disciples were returning with empty hands after a night’s toil in the sea. Jesus knew that they were returning disappointed. But he was ready to help them. ‘He said to them; “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some’’ (Jn 21:6). They obeyed and found not just some fish, but an unbelievably big catch of fish filled their net in no time.
Do you want to see miracles in your life? Just obey what Jesus says. If he did his first miracle when servants were ready to obey his words, he is ever ready to do miracles in our life too. Thus says the Lord; ‘If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land’ (Isa 1:19).
Abraham was willing and obedient to the core. When the Lord told him to leave his native place and proceed to an unknown place, he had no hesitation to obey. ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’ (Gen 12:1). In return it was promised that ‘God will make of Abraham a great nation, and will bless him, and make his name great so that he will be a blessing.’ What bigger miracle can we expect from a man than becoming the father of a great nation at the age of hundred!
The cornerstone of Christian faith is the belief in the risen Lord. It is before the name of Jesus Christ that ‘every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth’ (Phil 2:10). Jesus earned this exalted name through his obedience, says the Scripture. ‘He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death- even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name’ (Phil 2:8-9). Starting from the miraculous healing of the crippled beggar at the temple gate (Acts 3: 1-8) all miracles till date are performed in this mighty and exalted name of Jesus, who himself earned it through obedience. Let us also follow Jesus in obedience and wait patiently for miracles to happen in our life.