Friday, August 13

The Miracles of Jesus (Part One)

Now that we have discussed who the Messiah is, and what he came to do, I believe we should review the miracles that were performed by Jesus. This is the first entry in a short series of perhaps 3 or 4. The NIV version is used. In this entry, we will take a look at the healing miracles of Jesus. While all of the verse references may bore some, for others, it is a confirmation that this can all be found in God's Word, and not something that I made up. (Picture credit to Visual Bible International, Gospel of John starring Henry Ian Cusick)

Keep in mind that these miracles are not all in order. Since the four Gospels are all accounts of Jesus' life, it would be difficult to calculate which came first, though in some cases we know when certain miracles took place. Jesus began his ministry approx. AD 30, which lasted for three years, ending with his crucifixion at Golgotha outside of Jerusalem circa AD 33. He was resurrected three days later, just as he had stated many times, and appeared to over 500 people, (500 at one time, though he appeared to many others, 1st Corinthians 15:4-6) over a period of 40 Days - before ascending into the sky in front of his disciples. Why did he ascend? We are told that after he was risen, he could appear and disappear at will. If he had merely disappeared, the disciples would have had the mindset to look for him on the earth.

Since he ascended, they knew they would not be able to search for him. That is why he ascended instead of disappearing - and to indicate the way in which he would return. We do not know all of the miracles which Jesus performed in his lifetime and ministry. John, the last to write a gospel, had read the other three from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He had written his own, and at the end of his Gospel, he says, "Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (John 21:25) This series takes a look at the miracles - for some we will give an overview, others, we will look into. Let's begin with Matthew's Gospel.

Matthew 8 gives three instances of healing. The first is recorded in Matthew 8:1-4. Now, Jesus had just given the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7) The crowds followed him. A man with leprosy, which is a word used to describe various diseases that affect the skin, knelt and asked for cleansing. Jesus cleansed him, and told him to go show the priest. The next instance, recorded in Matthew 8:5-13, tells of the faith of a man. A Centurion came to Jesus and told him that his servant was sick. Jesus asked the man if he wanted him to come heal his servant, but replied that if Jesus uttered the words, it would be so. Jesus was "amazed" at this man's faith, telling the Centurion that he had not yet found someone with such great faith, and said that his servant would be healed. When the centurion returned, the servant was healed within the hour.

Another instance is recorded in Matthew 8:14-17. Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, who had a fever, as well as healing all the sick that were brought to him in Peter's house. Matthew tells us that this occurred to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy concerning Jesus: "He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." (Isaiah 53:4). Matthew 9:1-8 paints a picture. Jesus saw a man lying on a mat, and healed him, saying, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." The teachers of the law called Jesus a blasphemer, but Jesus said to them "...I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." He turned to the man, and told him to pick up his mat and go home. The man, who has been paralyzed, was immediately well, and went home.

Matthew tells of several other instances of Jesus healing. Jesus healed a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years - who touched his cloak and was healed (Matthew 9:20-22), healed the blind and the mute, (Matthew 9:27-30), healed a man with a crippled hand on the Sabbath, and was told that it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath - to which he replied that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and told the man to stretch out his hand. It was healed. (Matthew 12:10-13). Matthew 15:30-31 also shows us the healing mercies of God. "Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel."

When Jesus was passing by two blind men, they called out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" The cried out twice, because the first time, the crowd shushed them. Jesus came over to them and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" (Matthew 20:30-34) The replied that they both wanted their sight. Verse 34 says, "Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him."

Jesus also healed the blind and the lame in the temple on one occasion. Again, the priests did not approve - however, children did, and praised him saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David." The priests asked Jesus if he heard what they were saying and replied, "Yes, have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise' [Psalm 8:2]?" (Matthew 21:14-16)

Mark gives us two instances. In Mark 7:31-35, which tells of Jesus healing a deaf and mute man. He put his fingers into the man's ears and spit and touched the man's tongue. He proceeded to look up to heaven and say, "Ephphatha!" (Meaning, "Be Opened!") "At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak plainly." Jesus allowed this man to hear and speak. The other instance is found in Mark 8:22-26. Jesus was taken to a blind man. He spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, and asked what he saw. The man told Jesus that things seemed blurry, that the people looked like walking trees. So Jesus did this a second time, and the man's sight was fully restored.

What of Luke? Surely, Luke must have accounts. He does. Luke 13:11-13. Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and saw a woman who had been crippled [we are told that she was crippled by a spirit] for 18 years. "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." The woman, who had been crippled for 18 years, straightened up and was healed. In Luke 14:1-4, Jesus healed a man who had swelling, asking the Pharisees if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. They did not reply, and he proceeded. Luke 17:11-19 is interesting. Ten men, all having leprosy, met Jesus and on the road. They stood at a distance and asked for cleansing. Jesus told them to leave and go to the priests. On the way there, they were cleansed. One man came back and praised God.

This is interesting because, here were ten men. Jesus did not touch one of them to heal them, but told them to go see the priests, and on the way, they were healed. Jesus is not bound by human measures, if it is his will for someone to be healed, they will be healed. We can learn from that. If it is his will that an acquaintance of ours be healed, then they will be healed. The last instance of healing in Luke was the night of his arrest. When the men, along with Judas Iscariot, came to Jesus at the Mount of Olives, in Gethsemane, and stated their intentions, Peter cut one of the servants of the High Priest's - named Malchus - ear off. Now... understand that this man's ear was off. Disconnected.

Jesus walked up to Malchus, (John 18:10) touching the spot where his "right ear" was, and it grew back - he was healed. (Luke 22:50-51) That alone probably made the soldiers tremble, since they were the ones who had to arrest this same man. John gives us three instances of healing. John 4:46-54 tells us of a Royal Official whose son was dying. When he heard that Jesus was in town, he came to see him. The Official asked for Jesus to come and heal his son - Jesus replied, "Go, your son will live." With that, the Official left. His servants met him on his way, and said that his son was completely healed. When he inquired at one time, it was the exact same time Jesus had said "Your son will live." So he believed.

Jesus later came to the pool called Bethesda, or Bethsaida. This pool was purported to have healing powers when the pool was stirred. Jesus saw a man who had been "invalid" for 38 Years. Jesus asked the man if he wanted to get well. He replied that he had no one to help him into the pool, and when he finally got down, someone else was already in. Jesus tells the man, "'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked." (John 5:2-9). I want to point something out, before we look at our last miracle then close out for this entry. Jesus asked the man, "Do you want to get well." In other words, "Do you want change?" This man we are told had been laying there for 38 years. He probably made money off of people, who took pity on him. If he was healed, he could no longer do that. So when Jesus asked, and the man replied, AT ONCE change occurs in the man. Do you believe that he can change you?

The last instance of healing is found in John 9:1-7. Jesus saw a man who was blind from birth, and walked over to the man, after the crowd told him of the man's condition. He spit on the ground, making mud, and put it in the man's eyes. He proceeded to tell the man to go and wash his eyes in a pool. Verse 7 says, "So the man went and washed, and came home seeing." Overall, there are about 19 recorded instances of Jesus healing. Jesus healed many, hundreds, maybe even thousands, but we are not told about every one, just as John 21:25 told us. Jesus can heal us. He can restore our souls, forgive our sins, he is the way, the truth, and the life. Even if he only performed one miracle, that would be sufficient. But Jesus performed many miracles so that we may all believe. Some critics may be able to explain away certain things, but they cannot account for every miracle of Jesus. The first century historian, who is trusted by secular historians, gave this account of Jesus:

"Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works - a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him;" (The Antiquities of the Jews, 18.3.3.)

I hope this entry has been both insightful and educational. The next entry will take a look at other aspects of the Miracles of Jesus, so be sure to check out the next entry. Take care, dear reader, and God Bless. Troy Hillman 

Next Entry in Series: The Miracles of Jesus, (Part Two)

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