Christianity is an unashamedly miraculous faith, just as it is also an historical faith. You can no more remove then miracles than you can remove the historical events and be left with anything worth believing. But which is the greatest miracle? I think I would instinctively say it was the Resurrection of Jesus. That’s where Jesus himself seems to point people when they ask him for a sign (Matthew 12:40).
There’s a case, though, for saying that it’s the Incarnation. The chapter entitled ‘The Grand Miracle’ in his book Miracles begins with these words: “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.”
In a similar vein, JI Packer writes in his great book Knowing God: “The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man – the second person of the Godhead became the ‘second man … It is from misbelief, or at least inadequate belief, about the incarnation that difficulties at other points in the gospel story usually spring … The incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes sense of everything else that the New Testament contains.”
Perhaps it’s foolish to compare one miracle with another. However, I can see that once it’s established that Jesus is ‘God made man’, then the other miracles become less surprising. The real surprise is that this God-man should die: “’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies.”
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)