Monday, January 24, 2011

Jesus is no Jedi

Today I'm linking up with Joanne Sher's blog "An Open Book" to talk about today's verse.  I think I took a different tack on this, but the question of why bad things happen has been on my mind...

Today's Monday Manna verse is: 

“And (Jesus) did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”  --- Matthew 13:58

Growing up in the Star Wars era, I was fascinated by the saga of Luke Skywalker What kid wouldn’t want to be able to use the Force to defeat bullies and get a few chores done?

Then there’s that verse in the Bible where Jesus says, “...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20)

Whoa. Talk about a Jedi moment.  I envisioned moving mountains, like Yoda raising Luke’s X-Wing fighter from the swamps of Dagobah.  All it took was a little faith...

Well, not really. I knew better than that.

But I think we can get a bit confused about the connection between faith and miracles.  We’re tempted to believe that if we only have a little more faith something incredible will happen.  But what if the miracle doesn’t come: people die, storms ravage, cancer comes back  Does that necessarily imply a lack of faith?

Is God saying to us when life slips away, as Darth Vader did, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

No, absolutely not.

Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus performed many miracles, giving credit to faith:

  •  “Take heart, daughter. Your faith has healed you,”  (Matt. 9:22)
  •  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
  •  “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you.” (Luke 18:42)

However, Scripture also tells us that Paul prayed for a “thorn” to be removed and it wasn’t.  (2 Cor. 12)  No one would accuse Paul of having little faith.

Give thanks for miracles. They display God’s glory. They uplift the believer.  They astound the unbeliever.  And no doubt about it--the story from which today’s verse was taken is a cautionary tale.  We should guard and grow our faith through prayer and study. But we should keep in mind that there’s no mystical, “force” of faith that we need to learn to manipulate to bring about miracles.

With God, nothing is impossible. But Jesus is no Jedi.  Thank God for that.


Joanne Sher said...

What a great analogy, Karen! I love how everyone seemed to tackle this from a different angle. That's why I love Monday Manna so much :).

Absolutely glad God is God and, well, I'm not.

Yvonne Blake said...

Thanks for joining us. I think we would have more power than a Jedi, if we only had more faith.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Ooh, I like your Jedi analogy, Karen. Good reminder, too, that faith isn't a tool for manipulating God.