Expecting a Miracle

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Looking at the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

            because the Lord has anointed me.

            He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,

                        to proclaim release to the prisoners

                        and recovery of sight to the blind,

                        to liberate the oppressed,

            and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19 (CEB)

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus’ ministry began in his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus gives the people of Nazareth a glimpse of the Kingdom that they don’t appreciate: It is not only the Jews who are part of God’s Kingdom, but others whom God calls as well. To the Nazarenes, this doesn’t sound like Good News – so they try to kill him.

In Matthew’s Gospel we hear a little bit more about Jesus’ time in Nazareth: Jesus was unable to do many miracles there because of their disbelief.[1] I don’t know if the Nazarenes were unable to believe because they knew Jesus since he was a boy or if it was because they didn’t want to believe his Good News.

Threatened and rejected, Jesus leaves Nazareth.

We can ponder the many reasons why Jesus was able to do so few miracles in Nazareth yet so many in Capernaum, just a short walk away. We could speculate without end but I wonder whether it was the people of Nazareth failed to recognize a miracle as a miracle. And maybe this lack of sight kept them from bringing their sick to Jesus.

Jesus said he came to recover the sight of the blind. I wonder if we are blind or if we simply choose not to see. People say that miracles don’t happen anymore, but I think that is probably because we don’t expect them. Jesus may not be physically walking with us on earth, but God’s presence and action continue to be incarnate in the world. Many of us have the story of a miracle or an angel – but we don’t talk about it. Maybe we doubt ourselves or we fear the reaction of other, but, we too, have been anointed by God’s Spirit to proclaim the Good News.

They were all shaken and said to each other, “What kind of word is this, that he can command unclean spirits with authority and power, and they leave?” Reports about him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

When the sun was setting, everyone brought to Jesus relatives and acquaintances with all kinds of diseases. Placing his hands on each of them, he healed them. – Luke 4:36-37, 40 (CEB)

Living with the expectation that God continues to work miracles in this world, that angels continue to visit, is living a life of joy. On the third week of Advent, we increase the light by lighting the candle of joy. What if we also increased the light by sharing the miracles we have seen so that others may have their eyes opened and recover their ability to see the Good News?

Jesus, the Word made flesh, your good word continues to speak and act in our world. Help us to turn to you when we need recovery, release and liberation as well as in our thanksgiving. May the Good News we have seen, heard and experienced in our life be ever on our lips so that our joy will be shared – and so that joy, itself, may be complete. In thanksgiving for not just what you’ve done but who you are, we pray, Amen.

 

 

[1] Matthew 13:58 (CEB)

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