“I think that we live in a time where there’s a lot of fear and anxiety, and people are struggling,” says Rabbi Jason Sobel. “And the miracles of Jesus are really meant to give us hope, to understand that no matter how difficult our situations or circumstances are, God can break in and do something even when it seems hopeless.”
Rabbi Jason Sobel was raised in a Jewish home and came to believe in Jesus as Lord after having a dramatic encounter with God. He is the founder of Fusion Global and the author of several books, including “Mysteries of the Messiah” and “The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi,” the latter of which he co-authored with Kathie Lee Gifford. His latest book is “Signs and Secrets of the Messiah: A Fresh Look at the Miracles of Jesus.”
Rabbi Jason Sobel: Jesus’ Miracles Show Us Who God Is
Rabbi Jason Sobel joined ChurchLeaders for an interview about “Signs and Secrets of the Messiah” during which he shared insights on how Jesus’ miracles “reveal the heart of God.” This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What led you to write this book and what are you hoping that people, Christians in particular, are going to take away from it?
I think that we live in a time where there’s a lot of fear and anxiety, and people are struggling. And the miracles of Jesus are really meant to give us hope, to understand that no matter how difficult our situations or circumstances are, God can break in and do something even when it seems hopeless, like with the man who couldn’t walk for 38 years. No matter how long it’s been, God can show up and do something. And also, we want people to see the Bible, and especially the life of Jesus, in high definition.
One year I went out and bought a high definition television right before the Super Bowl. People were like, “It’s going to change the way you see the game.” And I’m like, “This isn’t so great.” And at the end of the game, I have a revelation: The higher channels are the high definition channels. I watched the whole game in standard definition! When I saw it in high def, I realized, “This makes a difference.”
So when you see how the old and the new connect, how God is in the details, the original Jewish, historical context, it makes the Bible come to life. It makes it exciting, but it also helps us to realize that just like God is in every detail that’s written in the Bible, God is in every detail of our lives as well, and he’s working it out together for good.
At one point in your book you write, “If we are Christians, walking in the supernatural should be natural for us.” Do you see Christians commonly walking in the supernatural, and if not, what do you typically observe?
I think it’s a mixed bag. Jesus says he wants those who worship him to worship in spirit and in truth, and I think there are those who lean more towards the Word and theology side, and there’s more who lead towards the Spirit side. But I think there has to be a balance between the two. It’s the Word and the Spirit. I think part of the problem, though, is that sometimes when people try to walk in the supernatural or seek God for the miraculous, oftentimes it just looks weird. It looks strange. And I think we’re called to be naturally supernatural.
The Holy Spirit lives inside of us, God is with us—that’s already supernatural. We have a new birth that’s already supernatural, and the Kingdom of God is within us. If the Spirit of Jesus is within us, it should be natural to hear God’s voice. It should be natural to pray for people and to see God show up and to do incredible things in their lives. And he said greater things than these you will do. Either we believe what he said or we don’t.
Your book focuses on signs and miracles in the Gospel of John. What made you choose John out of the four gospels?
One of the names that theologians and scholars give to the book of John is the “Book of Signs”—hence the name, “Signs and Secrets of the Messiah”—because [John] is centered around these seven unique signs that Jesus performed. Some of these miracles are not found in any of the other gospels. And so I think that was the reason, combined with the fact that John brings a lot of rich symbolism and meaning that’s on a deeper level.
One of the miracles you cover is when Jesus turns water into wine. Could you tell us a little bit about what is significant about that miracle?
Absolutely. Think about it for a moment: If the first miracle Jesus does is turning water into wine, obviously there has to be a reason why that’s the first miracle. So again, one of the reasons why John wrote his gospel and one of the reasons why I love focusing on John is [John] said these things were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that he is the Son of God.