“More Than A Miracle”

 

TEXT:  Mark 3:7-12

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

Well, Christmas and Easter have come and gone and we exhale …Maybe that’s just me. Spring and Summer are on our doorstep and we eagerly await the end of the rainy season, so we can enjoy the warmer weather here in paradise. It’s a time for family reunions and vacations, baseball and picnics. So much more to do. How do we fit it all in?

Unfortunately, when the Easter season ends, many will also take a vacation from following Jesus so closely. But, Christmas will come again and then they’ll put on their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes and give Him a little more of their time. Until then, however, they’re too busy with the “me” stuff.

Yet the call of Christ on our lives does not change after the Easter season. He still expects that we give Him 100% of ourselves. He still counts on us to spread the Good News of salvation to all people. He wants every day to be Easter in our hearts.

Several years ago, on New Years Day, a beautiful float in the Tournament of Roses parade suddenly sputtered and quit and the whole parade was held up. The most amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast resources, its truck ran out of gas.

That’s how I think many of us Christians end up after the holiday seasons. With all that we have to be thankful for…with all the resources that God has given us…with such a saving message to share, we sputter in our faith and eventually come to a halt. I’ll get to church when its convenient. That should hold God over until Christmas comes around again.

How about you? It’s awesome to see you all here this morning, but what about when you leave this place. Will you stay in idle until next week, or will you keep the Christ engine going?

In the first few chapters of our Gospel lesson we read, Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that He was doing, they came to Him. And He told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him because of the crowd, lest they crush Him, for He had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around Him to touch Him.”

There were lots of people around Jesus that day, but they really weren’t looking to Jesus the Messiah, they were looking to Jesus the miracle worker. As long as they were getting something, they pressed on hoping for even the slightest touch so that they might be healed. They had no faith in Jesus beyond what He could do for them.

Their excitement was in the moment and when that moment was no longer available to them, then they cared little about Jesus the true Messiah. Apart from Him, the enthusiasm subsided.

But Jesus wasn’t interested in His popularity as a healer of earthly bodies. He was interested in healing their hearts, preparing their very souls, extending their lives beyond their lives here on this planet. We can imagine that in His happiness to heal the people He so dearly loved, there was also a sadness that many would fall away when they had gotten what they had come for. Even the demons He cast out knew who He was, yet so many didn’t care, as long as they felt better when they left Him.

Jesus healed because He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom. Yet he longed to give more than the huge crowd was asking for. He longed for them to yearn for greater things that He was prepared to give them. Even so the crowd pressed Him for purely selfish reasons and He healed them out of His God-sized love.

The same gifts He was willing to give them, He is more than willing to give you. His love and want for you never wains even when you forget about Him again and again. But He knows that many will fall away after they get what they want out of Christmas and Easter. They will wait until the need arises again, if it ever does.

Many fall away because they’re still looking for Jesus the miracle worker and not Jesus the Messiah. They follow for purely selfish reasons. They feel better about themselves when they go to church. They think that if they appease Christ now and again that somehow their lives will be more charmed. Yes, Jesus the miracle worker is still quite popular.

But Christ wants more for His people. He wants you to come to Him for whatever reason. He wants you to count on Him as your healer and provider. Even when the selfish crowd presses in on Him today, He heals the sick and casts out the demons.

Still Jesus wants to give you so much more. He doesn’t want you to be content after He has simply meets your wants. He wants you to trust in Him for greater things. He doesn’t want you to come to church just so you can feel better about yourself, he wants you to take advantage of the message so that your rewards become everlasting. He wants to fill you with His power enough that it will last the week. He wants that power to reach out to others with the greatest news of all so that they too can benefit from their faith.

Isn’t that what you want also? Or,are you still content going through the motions of your faith doing just enough to satisfy yourselves? If you can’t get past your own desires, then don’t crowd Jesus.

Don’t come to Him for purely selfish reasons. Expect Him to give you more then you could have ever hoped for.

You see, when many of those people who crushed in on Jesus were cured, they had no further use for Jesus and they just left. And because they left, they condemned themselves. Because they were only in it for the quick cure, they lost things infinitely greater.

Christ is not a magician putting on a show, He is the salvation of the world ushering in everlasting life. He’s not looking to gain souls by giving into people’s selfish desires like some sideshow act, He wants you to trust in His promises of more than you could ever imagine.

So, instead of going through the motions in your faith, answer His call. Respond to His invitation, commit yourself to His will and not your own for the rest of your life. Don’t be satisfied with the quick cure.

It’s important to know that while Jesus cares for the many, only a few will follow Him past their self-seeking wants and desires. He wants you to be part of the group that follows Him above all things. Because the power is not in the crowd, it’s in the calling.

I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want my life to be. I want to follow a loving God with every step and with every breath knowing that He’ll still be there for me when I mess up along the way. I don’t want to be content just being one of the crowd. I want the whole package.

I want to be used in great and mighty ways knowing that nothing is impossible with God. I want to pray great prayers, dream great dreams, think great thoughts and accomplish great things. Because there are no limits with God, I want Him to do things in my life that I could never have dreamed of on my own.

If you want those same things then I urge you to answer His call. He invites you to stick around, unsatisfied with just the quick cure. He wants to have more than a superficial relationship with you. He wants it to have real meaning and purpose beyond anything the crowd receives.

President Teddy Roosevelt was a very charismatic man who made quite an impression on anyone he met. One journalist, William Allen White, wrote of his meeting with Roosevelt in 1897:

“He sounded in my heart the first trumpet call of the new time that was to be… I had never known such a man as he, and never shall again. He overcame me. And in the hour or two we spent that day at lunch, he poured into my heart such vision, such ideals, such hope, such a new attitude toward life and patriotism and the meaning of things, as I had never dreamed men had…after that I was his man.”

If Teddy Roosevelt could have such an impact on a person, imagine what Christ can do for you if you let Him into your heart.

While Roosevelt couldn’t offer to provide new vision, new hope or new meaning to anyone, Jesus Christ can. Accept His invitation so that you can truly say, “I am His.”

Embrace this opportunity Christ is giving you. Don’t be content simply going through the motions hoping God will get you through the hard times. Surrender to Him completely and experience the kind of a loving relationship that isn’t available in the world. Trust in your Savior to do more in your life than you could have ever hoped for. Challenge Him to show you more, use you more and guide you more. He’s much more than a miracle worker. Amen.

 

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