Monday, August 16

The Miracles of Jesus (Part Four)

The great conqueror Napoleon once said, "I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him." (Photo credit to Visual Bible International, Gospel of John starring Henry Ian Cusick, ©2003)

If Napoleon, a man well-known in history, can make such bold claims about Jesus of Nazareth, and knew the claims to be true - we may also know that the claims of the Gospels are true. They claim divine inspiration, and time after time God proves the Truth of his Word to us. Albert Einstein, world-renowned scientist and theorist, had this to say: "As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

Precisely. Unless you outright reject God,  when we read The Bible, we should pray "Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things in your law." (Psalm 119:18) Each and every time I pray this, God reveals something new to me I had not previously seen or thought about in scripture. Now, there is no guarantee that the same thing will happen to you - but if you read it, knowing that the scriptures are truth, God will reveal himself to you through his Word. In the last three entries, we covered the Miracles of Jesus concerning: healing, casting out demons and raising the dead to life, food, water, and weather, and today we focus on three miracles of Jesus, classified as "others." This is the final entry in this series. Matthew 21:19-21 gives the account of the withered fig tree. This occurred after Jesus cast those who were buying and selling out of the temple.

"Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. 'How did the fig tree wither so quickly?' they asked. Jesus replied, 'Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'"

Now, many get confused on what Jesus meant. He did say that what we ask for in prayer we will receive, but prefaced that by saying, "IF YOU BELIEVE." Let me give you an example. If someone says to you, "You are Christian. Come to my Grandmother's house, and ask God to heal her - she will be fully healed." If you ask God, but have doubts as to whether she will be healed, that is not believing. You may believe he can do extraordinary things, but have doubts. That is also the case with selfish prayers, though we do not always see them as selfish. God knows our entire life, and if we pray for something that he knows in the long run will not be beneficial or teach us anything, help us grow, he cannot grant the request. (See entry: "Are Selfish Prayers Answered?" for more on the subject.) Let's take a look at Luke 4:29-30.

Luke 4:29-30 says, "They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."What is meant by this passage is... Jesus walked right through them - they could not stop him. Why? Some say that Time was stopped, and Jesus walked away. Some say that out of fear, they merely could not make a move to stop him. Others say that Jesus walked through them without them even noticing. Regardless, this was a miracle of Jesus - he walked away as a mob of people were trying to kill him. The last miracle that we will take a look it is one that is well-known, even among those who have never read The Bible. John 2:1-11. Jesus and his disciples, along with Mary (mother of Jesus) were invited to and attended a wedding in Cana. When the wine was all gone, Mary came and consulted Jesus.

He replies, "Woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." Without saying another word, she turns to the servants and says, "Do whatever he tells you." Another translation says, "Woman, what do you have to do with this?" What can we tell from this? Mary, knowing Jesus well enough, understands that he will help - but it is still a mystery as to why he replied the way he did, though we can speculate. "Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding twenty to thirty gallons." That's a lot of wine. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." They filled them to the brim. "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." Here is the rest of the account: "They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, 'Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.' What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the sings through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples put their faith in him." Jesus turned the water into wine. We may also say that this in some way foreshadowed the Eucharistic meal.

Before I close out this series, I want to present a quote, from Daniel Webster, who wrote Webster's Dictionary. "If I might comprehend Jesus Christ, I could not believe on Him. He would be no greater than myself. Such is my consciousness of sin and inability that I must have a superhuman Saviour." (emphasis added). Here are two quotes from Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most brilliant minds in all of history: "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history." "This thing [a scale model of our solar system] is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you, as an atheist, profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker! Now tell me by what sort of reasoning do you reach such an incongruous conclusion?"

What can we gain by looking at these famous men who felt very strongly about God and Truth? That's what they spent their lives doing! Many people accept the laws that Kepler and Newton introduced, yet they were both self-proclaimed Christians. Evidence of the Creator is all around us, it's whether you accept him or reject him - and the miracles Jesus performed. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this series, I pray that it was insightful and helpful. 
Troy Hillman

Previous entry in series: The Miracles of Jesus (Part Three)

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