Passover is the most exciting time of the year. As well as celebrating the exodus from Egypt, it commemorates the two most celebrated miracles of all time – the parting of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
Both miracles show the strong hand of God directly intervening in human history.
We read about these miracles in scripture, but for many people, they are just a story, perhaps even just misinterpreted natural events that through primitive eyes took on a supernatural hue. For these people, the story never leaves the pages it’s written on. It never comes to life.
But for me, as a born-again believer, I not only celebrate and commemorate these miracles, I pray to God for a deeper understanding of them, to see them through the eyes of the people who witnessed them first-hand.
Because have no doubt – it was people just like you and me who were there and lived them.
I have experienced many miraculous escapes and rescues in my life that were for me like my own personal parting of the Red Sea. At the time, I didn’t recognize them as miracles because I wasn’t a believer. It was only after I was born-again that I understood God’s direct intervention in my life.
I also had my own personal resurrection – my spiritual rebirth. I died on a beach an atheist, and I came back to life a born-again believer. If that wasn’t a resurrection, I don’t know what is.
The parting of the Red Sea was an escape miracle. The children of Israel were hemmed in by the sea on one side and the full force of the advancing Egyptian army on the other. They could see no way out because there was no way out, not in the natural order of things. They hadn’t gotten themselves into the predicament on purpose; God had led them into it.
When God leads you into situations that put your life in danger, he does so to give you a miraculous escape. He gives you the miraculous escape for two reasons: one, so that you’ll know he exists, and two, so that you’ll fear him. There can be no genuine faith without fear of the Lord, and no one-on-one relationship with God without faith. The parting of the Red Sea was God kick-starting a one-on-one relationship with the children of Israel, so that they would trust him and heed Moses, his designated minister, for the 40 years of their wanderings.
When God performed his miracles for me, as an atheist, rescuing me from what seemed like impossible situations, I was like Jesus’ mother Mary, tucking all these mind-boggling experiences away for another day, as I couldn’t at the time explain how or why they’d happened.
I’m sure the parting of the Red Sea affected the Hebrews the same way – they had no idea how it could be; they just knew that it was.
Jesus’ miraculous resurrection had the same effect. Although no human (that we know of) was present when Jesus rose from the dead, several of his followers arrived at the gravesite soon after and witnessed that it had indeed happened. They saw him alive and well and walking around. He spoke with them. And then, over the next 40 days and nights, he walked and ate and spoke with them some more on several occasions and at several different locations.
Of course, he didn’t look like Jesus anymore (his body was in the process of being glorified, which means he was in the process of being physically perfected) and he had the unnerving habit of showing up out of the blue or disappearing into it, which made some of his followers initially doubt it was even him. But as soon as he spoke familiar words to them, they knew beyond a doubt that he was Jesus.
We all experience miracles every day of our lives. God is with us all the time through his Spirit. He also sends his angels and other ministers to help and guide us and direct our course. He sends me to you and you to me; he uses each of us according to our willingness to be used: Most of the time he uses us without our even knowing it.
We are surrounded by miracles because we are surrounded by God. As a believer, I look back on my impossible escapes as an atheist and they don’t seem impossible anymore, because I know (Jesus told me) that nothing is impossible with God.
I have no doubt that the Red Sea parted as described in scripture, and I have no doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. I have no doubt that the miracles described throughout the Bible happened not only because I have myself experienced miracles, but I am one. Spiritual rebirth is a miracle, and the being that emerges from the rebirth experience is a walking, talking miracle, like Jesus was.
I am a walking, talking miracle. I don’t speak my own words; I speak God’s Word. Anyone who knew me prior to my rebirth and knows me now, knows that words like these never left my lips before, and that the only time that I spoke the names of God or Jesus were as part of a curse. Some think I’ve gone crazy, while others think it’s just a phase that will pass, yet here I am, 23 years a believer, and still going strong.
But underneath, they’re not really sure what to think. I can see it in their eyes. They’re squirreling me away for later, as they cannot process who or what I am: it doesn’t fit into any of their understandings. They’re doing to me what I did to God’s miracles when I was an atheist: putting them to the back of their mind, filed under “???!!!”.
And like Jesus, I will just keep on walking and talking until my time is up, until the parting that divides this world from the next one opens up before me, and I can go home.