In my early morning dream, Jesus walked on water… and I saw a wooden bench, and on the ground under it were several items, including keys and other small objects. People had set these objects on the bench, and they had fallen right through the wooden surface onto the floor as if it were not there.
The interpretation is simple: if Jesus could walk on water, the laws of physics were temporarily abrogated. To abrogate means to “annul by an authoritative act – as in to abrogate a law “. Normally, floating is caused only when we displace a volume of water that weighs the same as our total weight. Since we weigh just a little less than water by volume, we are almost totally submerged when we float. But Jesus “floated” on water as if it were a solid. And should you think that He just did it because He was (is!) God, I will remind you that Peter did it as well. What’s more, Jesus fully expected the disciples to do the same miracles He did. When the disciples went to Him in the storm that threatened to sink their boat, He scolded them for being “of little faith”. After all, they had just seen solid food materialize from nothing as Jesus fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and even less fish.
What follows the sentence “you of little faith” in Matthew 14:31, is “why did you doubt?” They doubted in the power of God, and had faith in natural laws. In Matthew 21:21, after miraculously causing a fig tree to wither, the disciples ask Jesus how he could have made the tree to wither suddenly. In other words, how did He break the laws of nature? His answer, once more, is that the requirement is having faith and not doubting. But faith in what, not doubting in what?
In my dream, a liquid failed to behave according to the “laws” of physics we place so much faith in: it supported Jesus as a solid would. But the other “miracle” is that of the wooden bench, a solid, also failing to behave according to the same Newtonian physical laws: a solid is expected to support another solid, not be interpenetrated by it. We normally accept Jesus’ miracles to be strictly God’s sovereign option (conveniently forgetting about Peter) and not something to embrace as part and parcel of our normal Christian life. The dream of the bench, which I take to be a dream parable, illustrated two instances of miracles, which are apparent suspensions of “normal” physical laws. The authority, the right or ability to employ forces that can manipulate the visible, tangible world, is in question. Is it only God, as designer and creator of this universe , who has such power and authority. Or does He empower His disciples, His lovers, to do as He does. And if so, what is the purpose.
Quantum physics is a fascinating study. Early in the 20th century, physicists began observing behavior at the atomic level that was contradictory to everything they had learned until that time. It was so shocking, that the man we consider a revolutionary and shining star of the world of Physics, Albert Einstein, refused to his dying breath, to accept the discoveries of his contemporaries.
Quantum physics describes – and even photographs – particles that exist at multiple locations simultaneously. It describes non-linear time, as a particle is caused to change state by the mere presence of an observer, although this observation occurs after the change of state it causes. It observes a particle causing another particle to be moved at great distance, without any apparent connection, and with no time lag whatsoever. All these phenomena, and many more, are equally impossible, yet observable and provable. But what do they tell us?
My interpretation is that God designed this universe with certain laws that are usually immutable. But the sub-micro pieces that make up the macro world observable with our eyes, work according to laws and principles that more closely resemble the “laws” of heaven, the invisible world. That world, although invisible, is where things are caused to live or die, to move one way or the other, to be cursed or healed, to move mountains without explosives or shovels, walk on water without skis, heal and even resuscitate the sick and dying without medicine.
Do we have to understand how this wondrously made world operates? No.
Are we supposed to do unexplainable miracles? Yes. Jesus commanded, heal the sick, not just pray for them expecting nothing to happen. Set the captives free! But how? Did Jesus say to scare the world into believing, give eloquent speeches, or hand out tracts to make disciples? But before moving on to the keys Jesus gives us to living a miraculous life, let me be clear about one thing. Doing physical miracles, and even healing miracles, is not the end game. These were merely to be impressive proof that the power Jesus disposed of could only come from above, from heaven, from the invisible, from the Father. The ultimate focus, was and is to restore humanity to intimacy with the Father and set humanity free from the bondage that has existed since the rebellion of man and woman.
Being light in the world is infinitely more “difficult” than walking on water or healing someone. It means that when we enter the room, people who don’t know Christ will immediately sense His presence in you and me and begin to move along that journey of restoration to intimacy with God Himself. Jesus, as ultimate teacher, rabbi, gives simple demonstrations that will move His disciples – and therefore also us – toward doing what He does. The Father put His son on display, and the world found Him so attractive that flash mobs followed Him, and lives were changed. And that’s what He wants to do with those who believe in Him and are called according to His purpose: to put you and me on display so others would come to know Him. This would happen only because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence inside of us, a light more powerful and bright than a thousand suns.
Of course the scientific minded people will think this to be utter nonsense. Yet quantum physics hints at the reality of these things. God really can be as powerful as a thousand suns. Witness how we transitioned from explosives utilizing mere chemical recombination of atoms, to nuclear reactions utilizing the almost unlimited power of sub-atomic particle/waves. The bible says we are seated in heavenly places even as we’re sitting or standing here on earth. Utter nonsense? Quantum physics proves that it is indeed possible for particles to be present in more than one location at once. Is it really a stretch to believe, to have faith in the God who made all this? Is it really more rational to believe in and have faith in the random evolution of everything around us from chaos to the harmony we see everywhere?
Jesus usually demonstrates and explains. So after many demonstrations, and being asked how does that all work, Jesus explains Mark 11:22-26 :
“Have faith in God. “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.“
Here are a few points illustrated in these scriptures. But let me be clear: these are not religious rules to follow, nor a pat how-to. Jesus is giving us keys to aligning ourselves, tuning ourselves to, the power of God Himself:
1. Hang out with Jesus: that’s what the disciples did. They had the physical Jesus, and saw miracles daily, but they still doubted, and often had no clue. We have the benefit of Christ IN us, so we have a better chance to understand an invisible reality. So Jesus is inside us, as well as upon us as the Holy Spirit. Try what we call soaking: just put on some heavenly music (try Alberto Rivera) lie back comfortably and let Jesus/Father/Holy Spirit take you in His arms and fellowship with Him.
2. Have faith in God and His power: remember that faith is the evidence of things NOT seen. But sometimes we all have to put our finger in the wound as Thomas did. And whereas we may not see the cause of God’s power, we are meant to observe its results. After all we’re meant to be shown God’s love and miraculous nature by other disciples. So go and visit a church culture where miracles abound. It will do wonders for you. If you hang out with doubters, you will become a doubter. Disbelievers have devised a theology that basically says that miracles ended with the apostles. Where that is in scripture I have no idea. This theology tells us that what Jesus teaches the disciples is also for us… except for His instructions to go and heal the sick, cleanse the leapers, set people free from all bondage, etc. Go, hand out tracts, persuade people with your mental prowess and superior Bible knowledge … Really?
3. Pray: prayer is the vehicle for transforming the earth to more closely resemble heaven. As in heaven so on earth. But I believe that “prayer” means not just speaking a litany of petitions. Prayer sometimes is speaking what is not into being. That’s what God did, and that’s what He asks of us. And sometimes it’s not verbal at all: as Saint Francis said, “pray, and sometimes use words.” Jesus Himself took time off, away from people to pray and hang out with the Father
4. In order for prayer to become reality, we must fulfill two major requirements:
a. Stop doubting, being double-minded. I equate this to alternating current which continually reverses its polarity. The result can be zero.
b. Forgive any and all offenses, real or perceived. It isn’t accidental that Jesus follows the instruction to not doubt with the most fundamental instruction of all, to forgive. The final verse, which appears in some but not all the old source texts, goes so far as to say that if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven. Isn’t that what salvation is? So what requirement could be more fundamental than to forgive?
c. Believe that you have received what you pray for. Prayers cannot not have effect . Receive it as if you see it done and it will take shape. Remember, this is a messy, rebellious world in the process of being reclaimed. Daniel had to wait a month for the archangel to come in answer to his prayer.
So, one more time, why miracles? Paul said it clearly: “and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.“
1 Cor 2:4-5 (Message Bible)