The miracles of Jesus are bitter sweet: Intriguing, but hard to believe. We hope for them, yet find them hard to believe in. We see them in everything even as we explain them away. For centuries we’ve wrestled with them, sometimes reducing them to parables, and other times defending them as history. Perhaps they’re both . . . and more! Maybe the miracles are signs of a deeper reality. Maybe they’re tiny windows that allow us to peer into the heavens, if only for a moment, to see the “mystery of godliness,” (1 Tim. 3:16). Maybe they show us Jesus’ power over nature, over evil, over disease, even death . . . in other words, over all things that overwhelm us. Maybe in miracles we get a glimpse into the power and the scope of the gospel, into what God intends for this world and for us. After all, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work,” (1 John 3:8). This series is a collection of miracles around that theme.
Week 1 “The Impossible” John 2:1-11. Rev. Steve DeNeff
Why is this “the first (archon – the ruling, the overarching, the predominant) miracle that Jesus performed?” In this introduction to the series on Jesus’ miracles, we’ll explore how the turning of water into wine, at a wedding in Cana, was typical of everything Jesus came to do. The whole gospel – the covenant, the mystery, the good news for those who have run out of wine – is present in this first miracle. This message will, I hope, inspire us to appreciate what we have, to go into the world and share it with hope, and to believe again in the miracle of transformation.
Week 2 “Deep Water” Luke 5:1-11. Rev. Eric Crisp
Many of us want to live our lives on the shores of Christianity listening to the great teachings of Jesus and looking for a miracle to help or amaze us. But, like Simon Peter, Jesus may be asking us to do something that seems risky or ridiculous when viewed thru the lens of our experience. It is when Jesus asks us to move out into the deep water that we often see a miracle. The miracle of the large catch of fish challenges us to follow Jesus into the deep water of disciple-making and trust him to produce the miraculous increase.
Week 3 “Your Witness” John 9:1-25. Rev. Steve DeNeff
Sometimes waiting is easier when we can see the reason for delay, when we can see what is happening ahead of us. But too often we cannot, and we are made to wait anyway and what causes us so much angst is that we are stuck in the moment with no explanation of what else is happening, or of how this will all work out. Joseph provides a model for how they can wait with integrity (1:19) and continue to do what the Lord commands (1:24).
Week 4 “Did You Hear That?” Mark 7:31-37. Rev. Steve DeNeff
Throughout the Bible, we encounter people who cannot hear: “Ever hearing, but never understanding,” because their hearts are calloused. Like white noise, they have heard the same things so long that they can no longer hear them . . . or anything else. What are the obstacles that prevent us from genuinely hearing? How does Jesus “make the deaf hear” today? What might we do to cooperate with the miracle of hearing that God wants for us? This sermon will explore the stages of having our own ears opened, so we can hear more of what God has been saying all along.
Week 5 “The One Who Returned” Luke 17:11-19. Rev. Beau Hamner
Jesus oftentimes finds us in places in which we are stuck, places that are “between.” In those places, we know we need Jesus, even if it is just his pity. Out of desperation we are willing to obey while accepting his pity. We settle, as if his pity is all that he wants to offer us. In doing so, we fail to receive the full transformation that can take place in our lives. This transformation can only take place when we discover the fullness of Christ and surrender at his feet.
Week 6 “Healing Effect” Mark 5:1-20. Rev. Alex Mandura
Many of us want Jesus to bring healing to our hurts and even resolution to our long- standing problems that have become a part of who we are. We want our identities to be changed and transformation to take place. However, we may not be aware or ready for the effect that the healing has upon, not just ourselves, but on our relationships and our community. The miracle of the healed demoniac confronts us with the reality that transformational healing can still take place and lives are still changed because of it.
Week 7 “Walking on Water” Matthew 14:22-33. Rev. Steve DeNeff
To “walk on water” has become a popular idiom describing someone who can do anything, someone bigger than life. Yet the real miracle that day, when Jesus “walked on water,” was that he walked into a storm. He saw his disciples “buffeted by the waves because the wind was against (them)… and he went out to them, walking on the water,” (v.24-25). Many times, when we are in a crisis, Jesus walks into it with us and says, “Take courage; it is I,” then he calls us, like Peter, to walk into the storm with him. This sermon will speak of ways to recognize Jesus in the storm, and challenge us to walk out there with him.
Week 8 “An “Ordinary” Miracle” Luke 5:17-26. Rev. Emily Vermilya
Perhaps one of the most astounding things about the miracles was the way Jesus involved others—ordinary people. In the story of the healing of the paralytic man, we see, once again, how Jesus allows others to be involved in his life-transforming work. He allows our faith, our creativity and selfless nature to play a significant role in this inexplicable healing and reminds us that Christ still seeks to employ a community of ordinary people to help accomplish his miraculous Kingdom work on earth.