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Simple. Jesus didn’t swing for home runs.

by Dan Cruver Published May 15, 2015

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Jesus didn’t try to change the world in a day. He didn’t even swing for home runs every time he stood at the plate to perform miracles. From what we can tell from the four New Testament Gospels, Jesus didn’t wake up every morning thinking, “What’s the big thing I can do today to solve the world’s biggest problem?”

As far as the number of actual miracles of Jesus recorded in the four Gospels, we find just 37 of them. Just 37 miracles on record. If you consider the fact that Jesus’ public ministry spanned just 3 years, Jesus only performed a recorded miracle about once a month; the first of which was a miracle Jesus performed behind the scenes: turning water into wine (John 2:1-11).

But we also know Jesus performed hundreds, even thousands of miracles that the Gospel writers only give a passing mention. Take Matthew 4:23-24 for example:

“And [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan” (emphasis mine).

Most of the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Gospels were for individuals too: healing an official’s son (John 4:46-54); driving out a demonic spirit (Luke 4:31-36); healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15); cleansing a man from leprosy (Mark 1:40-45); healing a Centurion’s servant (Luke 7:1-10); healing a paralytic (Mark 3:1-6); healing a man’s withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14); and many other similar miracles. If you ask me, if the Father had asked Jesus to do so (John 5:19), he could have simply said, “Everyone who suffers from a disease in the land of Israel, be healed!” and everyone in Israel would have been made well. But Jesus never swung for home runs like that. Sure, Jesus feds thousands of people a day here and a day there, but those miracles never came close to solving world hunger. That wasn’t his objective. Jesus wasn’t swinging for the fence when he multiplied the fish and loaves.

Someone might counter, “But when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he sure seemed like he was swinging for the fence.” But such a sentiment misses the bigger point of the Lazarus miracle. Jesus wasn’t swinging for a home run when he raised his friend from the dead. I actually believe what Jesus did by raising Lazarus from the dead is more akin to a batter warming up in the batter’s box.

Jesus’ raising of Lazarus was pointing to the future out-of-the-park day ”when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out” (John 5:28-29). Raising Lazarus wasn’t Jesus swinging for the fence. If I can put it this way, Jesus was “simply” doing good in that moment with his end game in mind: the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). What I find instructive of Jesus’ end game as described by Luke in Acts 3:21 is that just a verse earlier, Acts 3:20, Luke says that for those who believe in Jesus, from his very presence comes “times of refreshing.” What this simply means is that Jesus’ miracles provided an advance taste, a refreshing taste of the future restoration of heaven and earth (Acts 3:21). “[Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38), and from the healing presence of Jesus the people experienced wonderful “times of refreshing.”

What’s my point in all this talk about Jesus and his miracles? Jesus went about doing simple deeds of good with his end game in mind: the restoration of all things. He wasn’t swinging for a home run every time he stepped up to the plate to do good. No, Jesus didn’t hit the home run until he actually rose from the dead. The “times of refreshing” Jesus provided through doing good moved him closer, step-by-step, to the home run of his resurrection from the dead and to the yet future restoration of all things.

If we as Christians have Jesus’ end game in mind, an ongoing series of simple actions can make a world of difference for an orphaned or vulnerable child. We, too, can provide times of refreshment in Jesus’ name. Yes, the global orphan crisis is incredibly complex. But if we learn to think simple, I think we’ll find solutions are closer than we think.

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