The Person Who Does No Miracle

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John did no miracle: but all things that John spoke of this man were true — John 10:41

Miracle of Creation.John 10:41

Miracle of Creation.John 10:41


The Brilliant and the Average

Too often, we think that we need to either see a miracle, or experience a miracle, to have what some have coined as “the fullness of truth.” But nothing could be farther from the truth. The kind of person who does no miracle is the kind that you and I meet every day. This kind of person is the one who never makes us marvel in amazement. There are people who cannot take up a pen without enriching us with miracles of wisdom. There are some who delight us with miracles of song. There are others who experience that “all things made new” of 2 Cor 5:17; but the average person is different from that. We could even say that such people are rather predictable. Being “average” is the sort of thing that we can do ourselves. Now, brilliance may be perilous; but mediocrity also has perils, according to scripture. Remember that in the Master’s story it was the man of the one talent who made shipwreck. So it may help us to consider briefly what Scripture has to teach about a person who never did a miracle. Such was the beloved John to Christ.

Even Though John Didn’t Do Any Miracles He Had Miracle Character (2 Cor 5:17)

John the Baptist did no miracle, yet he had a lofty character. And people readily noticed that about John. Perhaps we would be aware of that more vividly if the Baptist did not stand so close to Jesus? A flower is apt to blossom unobserved if it be near one that is altogether lovely. And our blessed Lord, in that perfect poise of His, was “altogether lovely.” So that often we are likely to miss, from its very proximity to what was perfect, the grandeur of the character of John. How true he was in every relationship! How wise in the midst of riotous excitements! How brave both in the desert and the dungeon! How humble was John! All this loftiness and moral worth found, not in the child of genius, but in the man who never did a miracle. Character does not demand great gifts. Character can develop in anyone we would look at as “common,” or simple. People who have no wonder-working genius or miracles can “come smiling from the world’s great snare uncaught.” And to do that, when life is difficult, and skies are dark and temptations are insistent is to reach the sunrise and the crown of life.

John Had a Special Work to Do

John the Baptist was a true witness for Christ. Yet the Baptist did no miracle, but God gave him a special work to do. It was the work of witnessing for Christ, and John fulfilled that work in the noblest way. Others dreamed that the Messiah would come in splendour: John witnessed that He was in their midst. Others dreamed that He would appear in sovereignty, kind of like Lion of the tribe of Judah: but John witnessed that Jesus was the Lamb of God. And this great mission, of such supreme importance in the loving purposes of heaven, was given to a man who did no miracle. We are so apt to think that special service is only given to very special people, that great tasks are not for common folk but for people of wonder-working gifts. And the beautiful lesson of our text is this, that though you may have no power to do a miracle, though you may never have seen a miracle, for you, too, there is a special service-something that only you can do; something that won’t be done unless you do it; something the world needs, which you and you only can supply—you, not blessed with any gift of miracle. Business people in a humble way of business, mothers in undistinguished homes, common labourers working in construction, clerks and typists in the city offices—such do no miracles and never will save the one miracle of patient drudgery; yet God for each has a special work to do.

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John’s Influence

Then the Baptist did no miracle, yet he exercised a deep and lasting influence. It was of that, in part, our Lord was thinking when He said that John was greater than the prophets. In the long history of Israel none were more influential than the prophets. They stirred the conscience; they revived the state; they brought God to bear on daily life. But even greater than that prophetic influence was the influence of John the Baptist—yet John was a man who never did a miracle. Is not that true of human life? Most of us in our journey through the years have met with some who had the gift of miracle—some who could take a common thing and touch it, and it would blossom into a world of beauty. And for all these wonderful gifts we shall be grateful, for every good and perfect gift is from above, but—are these the folk who have influenced us most? Is it not far more often common, humble people, blessed with no extraordinary gifts — a wife or mother, a wise and faithful friend, a minister whom none would call a genius? It is one of life’s most perfect compensations that influence does not depend on brilliance but comes to those (like John) who do no miracle.

In the announcement to Zacharias before the birth of John, the angel had declared, “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:15). In the estimation of Heaven, what is it that constitutes greatness? Not that which the world accounts greatness; not wealth, or rank, or noble descent, or intellectual gifts, in themselves considered. . . . It is moral worth that God values. Love and purity are the attributes He prizes most. John was great in the sight of the Lord, when, before the messengers from the Sanhedrin, before the people, and before his own disciples, he refrained from seeking honour for himself, but pointed all to Jesus as the Promised One. His unselfish joy in the ministry of Christ presents the highest type of nobility ever revealed in man.

Aside from the joy that John found in his mission, his life had been one of sorrow. His voice had been seldom heard except in the wilderness. His was a lonely lot. And he was not permitted to see the result of his own labors. It was not his privilege to be with Christ and witness the manifestation of divine power attending the greater light. It was not for him to see the blind restored to sight, the sick healed, and the dead raised to life. He did not behold the light that shone through every word of Christ, shedding glory upon the promises of prophecy. The least disciple who saw Christ’s mighty works and heard His words was in this sense more highly privileged than John the Baptist, and therefore is said to have been greater than he.

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It was not given to John to call down fire from heaven, or to raise the dead, as Elijah did, nor to wield Moses’ rod of power in the name of God. He was sent to herald the Saviour’s advent, and to call upon the people to prepare for His coming. So faithfully did he fulfill his mission that as the people recalled what he had taught them of Jesus, they could say, “All things that John spake of this Man were true.” Such witness to Christ every disciple of the Master is called upon to bear. {CC 279.2-4}

God’s “Well Done” Is for the Faithful Person

John the Baptist did no miracle, yet he won the highest praise of Christ.

“Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John.” (Luke 7:28)

A person may lead a false and rotten life and yet win the praise of others. The acid test of the successful life is this: does it win the praise of Christ?

And the fine thing is that to win that praise one does not need to be wonderful or striking, or to do miracles: it is given to those who may do no miracle—to those who trust Jesus when everything is dark; to those who keep their faces towards the morning; to those who, through headache and through heartache, quietly and doggedly do their appointed bit; to those who “endure” with a smile upon their lips; to those who help a brother or a sister by the way; to those who look for a city which hath foundations. In this big world there is room for every gift and for every genius who has the power of miracle.

But in this big world there is room and power and victory for the great multitude who do no miracle. It is not “Well done, thou good and brilliant servant,” else would there be little hope for millions. It is “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

The life of John had been one of active labour, and the gloom and inaction of his prison life weighed heavily upon him. As week after week passed, bringing no change, despondency and doubt crept over him. His disciples did not forsake him. They were allowed access to the prison, and they brought him tidings of the works of Jesus, and told how the people were flocking to Him. But they questioned why, if this new teacher was the Messiah, He did nothing to effect John’s release. How could He permit His faithful herald to be deprived of liberty and perhaps of life?

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These questions were not without effect. Doubts which otherwise would never have arisen were suggested to John. Satan rejoiced to hear the words of these disciples, and to see how they bruised the soul of the Lord’s messenger. Oh, how often those who think themselves the friends of a good man, and who are eager to show their fidelity to him, prove to be his most dangerous enemies! How often, instead of strengthening his faith, their words depress and dishearten!

Like the Saviour’s disciples, John the Baptist did not understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom. He expected Jesus to take the throne of David; and as time passed, and the Saviour made no claim to kingly authority, John became perplexed and troubled. He had declared to the people that in order for the way to be prepared before the Lord, the prophecy of Isaiah must be fulfilled; the mountains and hills must be brought low, the crooked made straight, and the rough places plain. He had looked for the high places of human pride and power to be cast down. He had pointed to the Messiah as the One whose fan was in His hand, and who would thoroughly purge His floor, who would gather the wheat into His garner, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Like the prophet Elijah, in whose spirit and power he had come to Israel, he looked for the Lord to reveal Himself as a God that answer by fire.

John was troubled to see that through love for him, his own disciples were cherishing unbelief in regard to Jesus. Had his work for them been fruitless? Had he been unfaithful in his mission, that he was now cut off from labour? If the promised Deliverer had appeared, and John had been found true to his calling, would not Jesus now overthrow the oppressor’s power, and set free His herald?

But the Baptist did not surrender his faith in Christ. The memory of the voice from heaven and the descending dove, the spotless purity of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit that had rested upon John as he came into the Saviour’s presence, and the testimony of the prophetic scriptures,–all witnessed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised One.

And the promise for every child of God is sure:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. (AMP)”

THAT makes every child of God “The Miracle.”

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