i believe in miracles

do you? why not add your miracles too?


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The Best Man’s Speech: John 3:22-36 (how I would say it)

Can I have your attention please

Later, Jesus and his followers spent some time in the Judean countryside, performing spiritual cleansing rituals. John was there too, also dunking people near Salim at Aenon, where the water was suitable for this sort of ritual and there were no lack of people either. (This was before John was sent to prison.) Some of John’s followers started arguing with a certain Jew about this dunking ritual. Then they complained to John, “Teacher, everyone is going over to the other side of the Jordan River to be dunked by that man you kept going on about.”

John replied, “I’ll be happy with whoever God sends me. You already know where I stand on this; you heard me say he’s the one who is going to do the real spiritual cleansing, not just the symbolic act of dunking. I’m like this guy’s best man, if you will. The best man is there to do whatever the groom needs. And at that moment when the bride starts to walk down the aisle, she’s not heading toward the best man; she’s heading for the groom. And the best man isn’t jealous—if anything he’s overwhelmed with joy for the groom. And that’s what I feel right now. It’s time for me to bow out and let him stand in the spotlight, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

“Look, this guy is not from around here; he’s otherworldly and way more advanced than anything on this earth. I’m just a human and I can only relate to what I know from my experience. But someone from outer space? Who could possibly know more than he does? He speaks from a whole other base of knowledge and experience; and yet people aren’t believing him. The ones who do believe him are proving God to be real. God sent him and he speaks on God’s behalf. He has this direct line to God—no waiting on hold or being sent to voicemail. Father God loves his Son and gives him any and everything—on demand. And if you wrap your mind around that and accept the Son for who he is, you’ll live on even after you die; but if you think it’s a load of bull, you’ve got no chance of life after death, because you’ve officially ticked off God.”

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Jesus Schools Nicodemus: John 3:1-21 (how I would say it)

There was a man named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council and the Pharisee sect. One night he clandestinely sought out Jesus to speak with him. He said, “Teacher, it’s obvious that you have a special relationship with God—that’s the only way anyone could possibly perform all the miracles that you are performing.”

Jesus replied, “The fact is that it’s impossible to understand God at work unless you have been adopted as one of His children.”

“I’m way too old to have been adopted as a child! Is it possible for an old man like me to be adopted into a new family?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus answered, “Here’s the way it works: you can’t become a child of God unless you’ve been spiritually cleansed and spiritually birthed. Humans have little babies, but God gives birth to spiritual babies. Don’t be shocked to learn you have to be baby again.

“Can you control the wind? We can hear it, but we have no idea which direction it’s coming from next or which direction it will go. And that’s the way it is with spiritual birth—there’s no predicting it on your part.”

“I don’t get it,” Nicodemus replied.

“Wow. You’re on the ruling council and you don’t get this?” Jesus continued, “The fact of the matter is that we can only relate to what we know—things we’ve experienced and seen. And I’ve been teaching from these concrete experiences, but still you all don’t ‘get it.’ If I’m teaching you from concrete experiences and you don’t get it, how could you possibly understand if I were to teach you lessons from the cosmos, with which you have no experience? After all, no one has ever been in outer space except the one person who came from outer space—the Son of Man. And just like Moses held up that snake in the desert to stop death in its tracks, the Son of Man has to be held up to stop death too, and everyone who counts on him to save them from death won’t just live, they will live forever.

“You see, God loved the world so much that he gave up the only Son he ever fathered to be lifted up and stop death in its tracks. And if you are able to believe that, you will live now and forever. God didn’t send his Son to browbeat the world, but to save it. Believe in the Son and there’s no browbeating; don’t believe and you’ve already been beaten, because you didn’t believe in your only chance at real life—God’s one and only Son.

Here’s what I think: God sent Light to the earth, but some people prefer to slink around in the dark because they don’t want anyone seeing what they’re doing. When you’re up to no good, you hate the thought of being found out and you certainly wouldn’t move around in the daylight for fear of being found out. But when you live a life of integrity, you can call on people during the day, and you’re not afraid to live in plain view of God and everyone.

[Ouch.]


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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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The Trick is to Believe without Seeing: John 20:24-31 (how I would say it)

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One of the 12 main followers, a man named Thomas, a.k.a. the Twin, wasn’t with us when Jesus came that first time. The other followers told him, “Our boss was here!”

But he replied, “Unless I see and touch the nail marks in his hands and his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his followers were all together again in one place, and this time Thomas was with us. The doors were locked, but again somehow Jesus was all of a sudden standing there with us.

He said, “How’s it going?” Then to Thomas: “Ok, Thomas, here’s the proof you need. See and feel the nail prints in my hands and my side. You need to stop doubting and start believing.”

Thomas replied, “Boss! Rather, God!”

 Jesus said, “Oh, so now that you’ve seen me you believe? Well, amazing things await for people who can believe sight unseen.”

There’s so much more to this story—so many more things Jesus did, supernatural things, right before our eyes. I couldn’t possibly put them all in one book, but I went to the effort of writing this much down so that you, the reader, might be one of those who believes in Jesus as the representative and Son of God—sight unseen—and that the belief might cause you to live the way He instructed us.


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Blowing More than Hot Air: John 20:19-23 (how I would say it)

That very night Jesus’ followers were gathered behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. Somehow Jesus was all of a sudden there, just hanging out with them. He said, “Hey, how’s it going?” Then he showed them the wounds on his hands and his side. Jesus’ followers were beside themselves when they saw Jesus. He asked them again, “So, what’s up, how’ve you been?” Then he said, “Just like I came as a representative, I’m going to send you out as my representatives.” He then blew breath on us all and said, “Here’s the Holy Spirit for you. Now, if you pardon anyone of his ugly humanity, he will be covered. If you determine he shouldn’t be pardoned, then he won’t be.”