i believe in miracles

do you? why not add your miracles too?


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Jesus Changes Water into Wine: John 2 (how I would say it)

sheep (baa-aa-aarely related image)

Day three: Jesus and the men who were learning from him attended a wedding in a town called Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was also there. Well before the celebration was ready to end, the hosts ran out of wine, and Jesus’ mother came up to him and said, “They ran out of wine.”

“What’s that got to do with me, Woman?” Jesus asked. “You know I’m not ready for prime time.”

His mother turned and told the wait staff, “Just do what he tells you to do.”

There were six big water jugs, the kind the Jews used for their religious washing rituals – each of them held about 20 to 30 gallons. So Jesus told the wait staff, “Fill those jugs with water.”

And they did, to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw a glass of it out and take it to the father of the bride.”

So they did, and the father of the bride tasted the water which had miraculously turned into wine. He had no idea where it came from, only the wait staff knew. Then the father of the bride called the groom aside and said, “Hosts usually serve the best wine first and then bring out the cheap stuff when people are too drunk to notice; but you’ve saved the fine wine for the end.”

This was Jesus’ first public demonstration of his divine powers, and it caused the men who were following him to believe that he was the real deal.

After the wedding, he left for Capernaum with his family and his followers came with too. They stayed there for a few days.

Jesus Clears the Temple Courts

It was almost time for the Passover, the most important annual Jewish holiday, so Jesus made his way to Jerusalem for the celebration. When he got there, he visited the temple and in the courtyards of the temple, there were people selling cattle, sheep and doves, as well as people selling the only currency that the priests would accept as offering. Biding his time, he wove a whip out of some rope and all of a sudden let loose, cracking the whip and scaring out the cattle and sheep from the temple. Then he flipped the money changers’ tables over and coins flew everywhere. He rushed the dove salesmen and said, “Get out of here! My Father’s house isn’t some livestock market!”

Trying to make some sense of this outburst, the men following Jesus remembered the Scripture that says, “I will be overwhelmed with passion for your house.”

A few people stood up to him and said, “What gives you the right to do this?”

Jesus replied, “Flatten this place and I’ll have it up again in three days.”

They popped back, “It’s taken 46 years to build this temple and you think you could do it in three days?”

But Jesus wasn’t talking about the building; he was referring to his body. This made sense to his followers only after he had come back to life, after three days of being dead. They really only understood what Jesus had said that day in the temple in retrospect.

During the Passover celebration in Jerusalem, Jesus did a lot more amazing, miraculous things and quite a few people started to believe he was for real and spread the word about him. But knowing people like Jesus did, he kept a safe emotional distance. He didn’t need anyone to tell him how fickle people can be.

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We’ve Been Following the Wrong Guy! John 1:35-51 (how I would say it)

The_pleasure_of_Night_sky_viewing_Sanyam_kumar_shrivastava,_MD_Star_astronomy_club,_Bhopal (this image only somewhat unrelated to text)

The next day John was there again with two from his entourage, and when he saw Jesus going by he said, “Look, there’s God in the flesh!”

When the two men he was with heard him say that, they packed up and started following after Jesus. Jesus turned around and looked at them and said, “Can I help you?”

They said, “We’d like to learn from you. Do you mind if we join you?”

“Sure, why not,” Jesus said. “You can see my ‘headquarters’ and then decide if you want to stick around.”

So the two followed him, saw his “headquarters” and hung out with him all day until about four in the afternoon.

One of these two men was named Andrew, and he had a brother named Simon Peter. Right off, Andrew went and found his brother Simon and told him, “We’ve found the One all the prophesies point to, God in human form.” And he brought him back to meet Jesus.

Jesus took one look at him and said, “I know you – you’re Simon son of John. I’m going to call you The Rock” (a.k.a. Peter).

Philip and Nathanael Join Up

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. On the way, he met a man named Philip and asked him to join the group.

Like Andrew and Peter, Philip was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip went looking for his friend Nathanael and told him, “You’ve got to come see who we found – the very person that Moses and the prophets were writing about all these years. His name is Jesus, he’s from Nazareth, his father is a man named Joseph.”

“No way, Nazareth! I’m so sure that God incarnate is going to come out Nazareth.” Nathanael said skeptically.

“Just come and see for yourself,” said Philip.

Jesus saw Nathanael walking up and commented to those nearby, but within Nathanael’s hearing, “Now here comes a dyed-in-the-wool Israelite – as genuine as they get.”

“Who told you that?” Nathanael asked.

“Nobody,” Jesus answered, “I figured it out for myself from watching you under that fig tree earlier today.”

Knowing no one could have seen that, Nathanael blurted out, “Holy… you! You must be the son of God. You’re the rightful king of Israel.”

Jesus said, “Did that impress you – my ability to see what you were doing under that fig tree? That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what’s coming up.” Then he added, “The fact is, you’re going to see the atmosphere part and angels go up and come down to me from outer space.”

[Nathanael’s mind is officially blown!]


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It Ain’t Me, Babe: John 1:19-34 (how I would say it)

DSC02635 lo (another completely unrelated image that I just like)

When Jewish leaders from Jerusalem sent some religious big wigs out to ask John if he might be the Son of God come to earth, he told them straight out: You’ve got the wrong guy.

So they asked, “Then who are you? The prophet Elijah come back from the dead?”

“Nope.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

“Nope.”

Finally they said, “Who are you? We need to know what to tell the people who sent us out here. Give us a clue as to who you are.”

Quoting Isaiah the prophet, John said, “I am a lone voice in the wilderness that says, ‘Get ready for God, cuz here he comes!’”

Then the religious big wigs said, “Why are you dunking people in the water as some sort of symbol of spiritual cleansing if you’re not God’s Son or Elijah or some other prophet?”

“It’s true, I dunk people,” John replied, “but your goose chase is misguided. The guy you should be looking for – he’s out there somewhere – is way out of my league and much more fascinating.”

All of this was happening at Bethany, on the other side of the Jordan river, which is where John was dunking people, AKA baptizing.

The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here he is! The sacrifice to end all sacrifices who will completely clear our account with God. This is the guy I was talking about when I said, ‘Even though he comes after me, he’s way ahead of me because he existed long before me!’ I really didn’t know who he was, I just knew that I needed to get out here and start dunking people in water as a symbol of spiritual cleansing and somehow that would flush him out.”

Recalling how he understood Jesus to be God’s Son, John said, “God’s Spirit came down from the sky as if it were a dove and it landed on Jesus and stayed with him. I didn’t even realize who he was until that moment. The same inner voice that compelled me to start dunking people out here told me, ‘When you see God’s Spirit come down and land on someone, you’ll know he is the one who is going to be doing the real spiritual cleansing – not just the symbolic act.’ I’ve seen it with my own eyes and I assure you, this is the one we’ve been waiting for. God chose him!”


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Advanced Training in Self-Denial: Matthew 4:1-11 (how I would say it)

Dare ya to jump from here!

Dare ya to jump from here!

 

[Ironically,] following his debut, Jesus went into seclusion as per instructions from God’s Spirit. The purpose: advanced training in self-denial. He spent 40 days and nights there without eating, after which he was quite hungry. Then the torture. The tempter approached him and said, “So you think you’re the Son of God, eh? Why don’t you make bread out of these rocks then?”

Jesus’ reply: “The textbook says that it takes more than bread to sustain life. Man’s true need is to consume God’s word.”

Then the tempter took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “Well, if you were really the Son of God you could throw yourself off of this building, because the textbook also says, ‘He will command his angels to take care of you wherever you go—even to the extent of giving you a little boost to keep you from stubbing your toe on a rock.’”

Jesus answered him, “Yep, and the textbook also says, ‘God doesn’t do tricks on command.’”

Next up, the tempter took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the nations of the world and flashed their opulence in front of him. “See all of this?” he said. “It can all be yours if you’ll just acknowledge that I’m number one.”

Jesus dispatched him by saying, “The textbook says, ‘There’s only one boss, and that would be God. Work only for him.’ So get lost, Satan!”

So he did. The tempter left—for the time being. Then some beings from outside of this earth appeared to take care of Jesus [and give him a high five].

 


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Jesus’ Coming out Party: Luke 3:15-18, Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:23a (how I would say it)

dove

Everyone was hoping and thinking the same thing: Could John be the one God is sending to rescue us? But John put an end to those speculations by announcing, “I may be immersing you in water as a symbol of spiritual cleansing, but I’m just the opening act for someone else who is completely out of my league. He is going to immerse you in God’s own spirit and in fire. He’s coming to clean house. He’ll keep what belongs to him and then take out the trash and burn it.” This was one of the many ways John tried to convey the urgency and excitement of what was about to happen.

Finally, one day Jesus left Galilee and came to the Jordan to meet John in order to receive his symbolic dunking. John wasn’t at all comfortable dunking Jesus. He said, “You should be doing this to me, not vice versa.”

Jesus said, “Just go with it; it’s in the script.”

So John consented.

Just as soon as Jesus came up out of the water, the clouds and atmosphere broke open and God’s own Spirit came down like a dove and landed on Jesus. And a voice came from the sky saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, and I’m so proud of him.”

Jesus was about 30 years old when he made his formal debut.