He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.
As a church we are reading through the Gospel of John this month, so I thought I would give you another extract from a sermon by George Morrison of Glasgow entitled ‘The man who did no miracle’ based on the verse in John 10:41 – words spoken to our Lord concerning John the Baptist. “John did no miracle, but all things that John spoke about this man were true.”
“The kind of man who does no miracle is the kind we are meeting every day. He is the man that never makes us marvel. There are men like Shakespeare who cannot take up a pen without enriching us with miracles of wisdom. There are women who delight us with the miracle of song. But the average person is different from that.
So it may help us to consider what Scripture has to teach us about a man who never did a miracle.
Character does not demand great gifts. Character can ripen in the commonplace. The Baptist did no miracle yet God gave him a special work to do. It was the work of witnessing to Christ. We are so apt to think that special work is only given to very special people, that great tasks are not for common folk but for people of wonder-working gifts. For you there is a special service – something that only you can do; something that won’t be done unless you do it.
The Baptist did no miracle, yet he exercised a deep and lasting influence. Our Lord said that he was greater than the Old Testament prophets, yet John was a man who did no miracle. Most of us through the years have met with some who could take a common thing and touch it, and it would blossom into a world of beauty. And for all these wonderful gifts we shall be grateful, for every good and perfect gift is from above – but are these the folk who have influenced us most? Is it not far more often common, humble people, dowered with no extraordinary gifts? – a wife or mother, a wise and faithful friend, a minister whom none would call a genius? It is one of life’s most perfect compensations that influence does not depend on brilliance but comes from those (like John) who do no miracle.
John the Baptist did no miracle, yet he won the highest praise of Christ. “Among them that are born of women there has not arisen a greater than John.” A man may lead a false and rotten life and yet win the praise of men. The acid test of the successful life is this: does it win the praise of Christ?
To win that praise one does not need to be wonderful or striking; it is given to those who may do no miracle – to those who trust Him when everything is dark; to those who keep their faces toward the morning; to those who, through headache and through heartache, quietly and doggedly do their appointed bit; to those who ”endure” with a smile upon their lips; to those who help a brother by the way; to those who look for a city which has foundations.
In this big world there is room for every gift and for every genius who has the power of miracle. But in this big world there is room and power and victory for the great multitudes who do no miracle. It is not “Well done, good and brilliant servant,” else there would be little help for millions. It is “Well done, good and faithful servant.”