By Adam Crawford
For most of my life, I’ve had a fascination with magic. I got my first magic set when I was around five and I practiced for days that seemed like years. But I couldn’t ever seem to get it right. The tricks I was performing in front of a mirror just weren’t as cool as the ones I could see on the tutorial video. It was frustrating.
There’s been somewhat of a resurgence in my fascination with close-up magic in the last few weeks. I’ve always had a couple decent card tricks up my sleeve for those wonderful moments of boredom when you’re with friends or family, but lately, I’ve been learning new ones!
I’ve spent a few hours here and there trying to learn some new tricks and I’ve gotten a couple of decent ones that get pretty good reactions. It’s a lot of fun to see people suspend their belief for a few moments. It doesn’t matter how much of a realist you are, when you watch someone perform a magic trick well, something happens. For just a moment, you feel like a kid again.
All of this learning of tricks lately has got me thinking. We were obsessed with David Copperfield when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear. And before him we were transported to a place where anything was possible when Harry Houdini performed his amazing escape acts. The problem with all of these performers is that given enough time and effort, you could figure out how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear or how Houdini got himself out of seemingly impossible situations.
What we will never figure out, though, is how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. I don’t mean to say that I don’t know how he did it. He is the Son of God. He is God. But there is no amount of time I could spend studying that would give me the insight into how I could bring someone back from the dead. There’s no amount of scripture I could read, no amount of meditating I could do, no amount of video tutorials I could watch, that would give me the divine power to raise someone from the dead.
In other words, it ain’t happenin’.
The really cool thing is, Jesus didn’t just raise Lazarus from the dead. He made a paralytic walk.
They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they mae an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was laying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the Paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now there were teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk?’ But I want you to know hat the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mand and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” – Mark 2:1-12
This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Not because he makes a man walk again, but because He, as usual, shows the people that the real miracle is forgiveness of sins. We, as humans, don’t deserve such love. We had our chance at salvation in the Garden of Eden and it was stripped away by our disobedience. Yet we are not fascinated by this amazing feat. We are not amazed when someone tells us, “Go to God and repent, for he will forgive you of your sins.”
So, let me ask you, what’s more amazing: making a 350ft statue disappear, or knowing that God will forgive you of your sins?