You Can Make Jesus Marvel!

It’s all been done; that’s what we are told.

And most days, we believe it.

Living in an age of accessible information and technological wonder, placed in a society of privilege and plenty, we are slow to be shocked. Skeptical and cynical, we salt everything. Amazement is nearly an extinct response, as extreme entertainment and non-stop stimulation have stolen such wonder from us.

Surely Jesus, one who had tasted heaven’s glory firsthand felt some such struggle as well.  Yet Luke 7 tells us of an incident that made Jesus marvel.

CenturionThe chapter opens with story of a Roman centurion. One of his dear servants was deathly ill. Having heard rumblings of a wonder-worker named Jesus, the centurion asked the Jewish elders of his community to approach the healer on his behalf. The Jews were quick to respond, as the Roman had constructed their local synagogue in a display of his affection toward the Jewish people and their way of life.

Jesus agreed to come.

But as he neared the house, he was intercepted by friends of the centurion. They carried a simple message: “Do not trouble yourself in coming, for I am not worthy to have you in my home. This is why I did not presume to come myself. Rather, say the word and healing will take place. I know how authority works as I serve under leaders, and soldiers serve under me. Commands are given, and action is executed. Please wield your power kindly toward me and my servant.”

And this made Jesus marvel.

One can almost imagine him stopping in stride. Smiling a sly grin and slightly shaking his head as he closed his eyes.

This was understanding. This profession of faith, from an outsider nonetheless, was profoundly insightful.

It carried conviction that Jesus was more than a tricky physician, who healed the insides by touching the outside. Rather this declaration professed a belief that Jesus was a spiritual power-broker, a mover and a shaker in the invisible realms. Every type spirit and force knelt before him, and a domain existed–even here and now–where his command was beyond question.

The centurion foresaw an answer to the prayer, “May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as in heaven.” He could see that such a kingdom was already at hand, and he was pleading humbly and honorably with Jesus to let it break into his life in great and gracious ways.

I want to make Jesus marvel just like that.

Miraculously Natural

With three daughters under the age of four, I have read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” more times than the average man. For the uninformed, this is the tale of caterpillar who breaks free from his egg with a serious hunger. After five days of colourfully-sketched fruit, he goes on a dietary tear, eating his way through desserts and delicacies, meats and treats. A stomachache lands him back at a green leaf feast. By this time, our tiny protagonist has become a pudgy worm on the verge of cocooning. The finale of the book begins on the second-last page:

Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out, and… (final page turn here)

He was a beautiful butterfly!


[The story can be viewed HERE, if you wish.]

A colourful story of how worms become butterflies, this children’s book has yet to educate me on what really happens.  How does a slinking and slimy caterpillar become a soaring and stunning butterfly?  What magical tailor lives in that cocoon to design, craft, and attach those wings to that thing?

It is no error that we use the word metamorphosis to describe this process:

A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.

No exaggeration is necessary to tie the term “miracle” to such a definition, yet the reminder quickly follows: “This is natural.”

Miraculously natural.

A paradoxical phrase. Continue reading