The Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 6:1-24 records the miracles of Jesus feeding the five thousand and His walking on water. While these are the only two miracles recorded in all the four gospels, it is to be noted that John is particularly selective and objective in his recording of miracles. In John 20:30-31, he says that his sole purpose of writing is that - we may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing in Him, we may have eternal life.
Today, we all live an existence that is driven by the harsh realities of this world and in the process miss out on God’s blessings and the opportunity to see Him work miracles in our lives. What is it that was so different many years ago during the life of Christ that gave opportunities for miracles to happen and what is it that we need to change in our lives so that we can create conditions that are conducive for miracles to happen?
The common understanding or definition of a miracle is an act or event that does not follow the known laws of nature. On the contrary, it is interesting to note that the Bible reveals that when we live and walk with Christ, miracles will become a natural part of our lives. A careful reading of the above Gospel portion will help us to see how John has taken great pains in bringing out the little details, the conditions in which we can experience miracles in our lives.
Miracles happen when we are willing to put the needs of others before our own.
We are told in the gospel that the day was a long and hard one, as Jesus and His disciples came to the mountainside. The foremost thing in their minds would have been to rest their weary bodies and spend some time in quietness. However, Jesus noticed that there was a large crowd following Him the whole day and they were tired and hungry. He felt it necessary to address the needs of the crowds first, rather than his own.
Are we truly concerned and sensitive to the needs of those around us?
Miracles happen when we are not inhibited by our own limitations.
Jesus asked Philip where some food could be bought for the crowd. Philip was a realist and a very practical person. He immediately worked out the financial implication of such a massive requirement. Instead of directly answering the question, he replied that eight months normal wages would not suffice to buy the food that could ensure at least one bite to each one in the crowd. Jesus was only testing Philip and He knew that this would be his answer. Are we not often like Philip, trying to find realistic or practical solutions to our problems? We are bound by our own limitations and most often try to rely on our own strengths and abilities. We are unable to see beyond our own limitations.
Are we willing to provide space and opportunities for God to work in our lives?
Miracles happen when we are willing to bring our ‘ little ’ to God.
Andrew was undoubtedly an excellent public relations man or a trouble-shooter, for in the midst of all the confusion and concern; he went around and brought to Jesus a small boy having five loaves of bread and two fish. He was not concerned about the fact that the resources were little in the given circumstances. His role was to bring them to Jesus and leave the rest for Him to handle. We too must bring to God, the little resources that we have, the little of what we possess - our strengths, our weaknesses, the broken pieces of our lives - with the faith that Andrew had, that He will use these to work miracles in our lives.
Do we have the faith that God has a lot to do with the little that we have to offer Him?
Miracles happen when we have a thankful heart.
After seeing the meager provisions - five loaves of bread and two fishes - we see no concern or anxiety in Jesus about how it would suffice to feed such a large crowd of five thousand. He took it and ‘ gave thanks ‘. Thankfulness is the key to opening the doors to a miracle. No matter what it may be, however big or small, we need to have a thankful heart and must thank God for each and every blessing in our lives.
Are we not very often, like the person who kept complaining about his shoes until he saw a man without any feet?
Miracles happen when we are good stewards of what God has given us.
After feeding the crowd of five thousand, with just five loaves of bread and two fish, it may seem strange that Jesus instructed the remaining food to be collected so that it was not wasted. It is important to be good stewards of God’s grace and we should not waste anything that we receive from His continuous shower of blessings. God has given us so much in our lives, we should treasure every bit of it without wasting and use it and share it with others, for His glory.
Are we good stewards of God’s grace and blessings?
Miracles happen when we are willing to accept the storms of life.
Even though the disciples walked closely with Jesus, they had to encounter a stormy sea as soon as they took the boat. Walking with Jesus does not mean an unconditional guarantee for a smooth and peaceful life. As a matter of fact, there will be several storms in our lives when we follow Him. We should stand firm in faith and in His promise that He is with us all the time. He will never allow our boat to sink. When the disciples started panicking, Jesus said “ It is I, be not afraid.”
Do we turn to God only when the storms of life encompass us? Are we prepared to walk a close walk with Him, so that when the storms come, we feel His loving hands holding us?
Miracles happen when we allow Jesus to step into our boat.
It is interesting to note that the disciples were ‘ willing ’ to take Jesus into their boat, when they encountered the storm. When there are storms, we usually hesitate to allow Jesus into our lives, we would prefer if He would calm the storm for us from a distance. We fear that His stepping into our boat may entail changing the entire course of our lives.
Are we able to willingly invite Him to enter our boat and steer the course of our lives?
The need of the hour is change – a change in our lives, our attitudes and our relationships. We need to step out of our situations in life and walk a closer walk with Jesus today, to experience the miracles that He can work in us, every day of our lives.