At one point in Jesus’ ministry He had 72 people who called themselves His disciples. These He empowered to go out and do miracles. When they returned, they were overflowing with excitement about the power they had been given:
“Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name!” (Luke 10:17b)
The Lord was unimpressed: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18b) Yes, the disciples had been given great power. The Lord acknowledged this, but they were missing the point. That power was a means to an end. The miracles that Jesus did, or that He did through His disciples, were never meant as ends in themselves. They were always designed as affirmations of His deity and His Sonship to God in order to bring people to a saving knowledge of Himself . (See John 10:25). Never did Jesus perform a miracle on someone where He did not also bring the recipient to that realization. As far as Jesus was concerned, the miracles were never the focus.
Even Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus to the cross, did miracles. He had to have, or the other disciples would have known him to be a false disciple long before they did. Even at the Last Supper, they had no idea that Judas was a traitor. That revelation was hindsight to all of them. (See John 6:70-71.) As for the 72, it would not be long before all but 12 would remain with the Lord: 11 true disciples, and Judas. Of the eleven true disciples, what really set them apart was not the miracles they were able to do, but their absolute faith in Christ:
(13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
(14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
(15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
(16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus blessed Peter for his words, because under the leading of the Holy Spirit, even he got the point: “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
You know, it’s easy to be Superman: impervious to bullets, faster and stronger than everyone else, blessed with superhuman abilities. What’s really courageous is walking with the Lord when you’re completely powerless. Most of the miracle of the Christian walk is not in the spectacular. It’s in how it carries you through the everyday, the ordinary, the mundane. Even a donkey can deliver a message (Numbers 22). Only a believer can know the Lord. In the grand scheme of things, that’s what really matters.
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