“It is impossible on reasonable grounds to disbelieve miracles.”
– Blaise Pascal
“The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one.”
– David Hume
Christianity is a miracle. Now upon hearing this, the mind might reflexively turn to the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection, as it should. Surely the empty tomb of Jesus is a miracle of mind-blowing proportion—but what I mean to speak of here is that the tomb was left empty precisely in order for Jesus to miraculously fill our hearts full with His Spirit. The empty tomb was the doorway to hearts coming alive.
See, Christianity is not some method, not a technique for a good life, not merely a new moral matrix through which to engage the world; nor is it a program in which to participate or a philosophy unto which we subscribe. Christianity is a living miracle in the grandest and most personal sense—a marvel, a wonder, a delightful surprise that spills into our existence. It is something from outside the walls of the world that breaks into history and beautifies the dreary, restores the broken, shatters bleak expectations, and lifts our blurry eyes to the high definition glories of what is really going on in this world. And what is really going on? God is at work in Jesus restoring a world gone all manners of wrong.
True Christianity is the Jesus life, and this means nothing less than to be drawn up and drawn into the very life of Jesus by God’s intervening grace. In other words, Christianity is the miracle of Jesus abiding with us. It is the gift of his Holy Spirit dwelling within us, making us like him and animating us to serve both God and neighbor in love. In short, the Jesus life is a life of Spirit-empowered service.
The empty tomb of Jesus is a miracle that has effectively shaken creation to its ancient bones, jostling loose memories of what humanity was meant to be. And every heart loosed from death, every human being filled with the Spirit of Jesus, is yet another resurrection miracle that reverberates throughout all creation—an advanced echo of what we will be as mature image bearers of God. In words that shimmer with a magical quality, Paul says in Romans 8:9-11:
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
Paul teaches us that because the Jesus life dwells in us, we will one day be raised from the dead—new physical bodies. Undying. Magnificent. But the wondrous is not simply just ahead of us out there as a distant “someday”—it is here. Present. Active. Because this Jesus life dwells in us now, we are to live a life of daily love, ruling and reigning through humble service and an other-centered orientation to all we do. This is the life of discipleship—the life of Spirit-empowered service.
What would come about if we began to recognize Christianity—a term sadly corroded and caked with layers of negative connotations—as this Jesus Life? What if we understood it as the supernatural love of God flooding our being? What if we were to be ever aware of his abiding presence with us, empowering us to serve him? How this would reinvent our plausibility structures! How it would captivate our imaginations! How it would provide peace amidst the daily onslaught of chaos!
Would it not reframe how we pray? Would it not provoke our hunger to learn of this God who entered time and space so humbly and for love’s sake? Wouldn’t this divine presence fashion such a deep security and steady identity that we would be free to give of our selves and resources to see others share in the delight that is discipleship? Wouldn’t even the smallest glimpse of the miraculous truth of God with us warm us to embrace others with Christ-like hospitality? Wouldn’t the marvel of it all lead to a life growing in gratitude and praise? I believe it would.
Are you looking for a miracle? Look no further than a heart that trusts in Jesus—for it is evidence heaven has invaded the badlands of this world. The dead has come to life. Christ in us, the hope of glory—this is the miracle of faith.1 Every child of God is an everlasting splendor, an indescribable wonder, a luminous miracle walking around veiled in common clothes, in disguise in what we might call ordinary flesh and bone.2 Let us walk in wonder of the miracle that is the Jesus life.