Over the previous three posts asking Who Was Jesus?,we discussed the words Jesus shared with His followers as well as His enemies. We shared a wide variety of issues that were addressed by Jesus. The words He shared revealed a person who didn’t show signs of delusion. He confronted difficult facts of His own life and future that a deluded person would have pushed out of their awareness. Jesus also displayed an uncanny understanding of human nature. Jesus words were at times, an indictment of his friends and followers, and at others, his detractors and those out to get Him. Jesus words also displayed a morality that actually raised the bar on moral norms of His day. His strongest pronouncements were often criticism of the religious “elite,” as He saw the hypocrisy of their lives.
Based on the discussion of His words, it appears unlikely that He was a deliberate fraud. And, it appeared unlikely that He was deluded Himself. And, due to the inclusion of the messy stuff, that was either hard to understand or difficult to accept, it appears unlikely that the story as told in the Gospel accounts is inaccurate. Still, the case for who Jesus was has its final “smoking gun.” Jesus did things that other people have rarely or ever done. We will look at several of these as well as some of his words related to these miracles.
Miracle: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
There are many claiming to come from a “scientific” worldview who a priori rule out the possibility of the supernatural. As a result, they have eliminated the historical method and witness testimony that may refute their closed-system, materialistic view of the universe. (Note: materialism here refers to the view that all that exists in the universe is the material. It is often linked to secular humanism as a world view).
Jesus first miracle occurred at a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. One thing that is noteworthy about all of Jesus' miracles is that they weren't like "parlor tricks." He met real needs with the miraculous works He performed. On the occasion of His first recorded miracle in the New Testament, we find Jesus attending a wedding. In Middle Eastern culture in that day, a wedding feast was given over several days. There were strict cultural norms attached to hospitality in that society as well. The concept of reciprocal hospitality was an understanding that if you attended a wedding ceremony and ate and drank to your heart's content, that if you gave a wedding, your feast would provide the same type of experience to your attendees. Running out of food or wine reflected very poorly on the Groom's family (the hosts) and on the couple getting married. With that in mind, when told of the situation, Jesus fixed it. No fanfare. No pyrotechnics. He pointed out 6 twenty to thirty gallon clay "jars," (more like barrels to me!). These jars were normally used for ceremonial cleansing prior to eating meals. Jesus had the servants fill them with water. Upon drawing the water out of the jars, it had become fine wine. The wine was so good that the master of ceremonies commented about how good it was. This miracle helped celebrate marriage, bringing joy to the attendees and provided where there was need, thus preventing the subsequent shame of the hosts of the ceremony. (John 2:1-11)
In John 4:46-53, we read where a governmental official comes to Jesus asking Him to come to his home to heal his very young son who was deathly ill.
The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.
Again, no fanfare. Jesus simply spoke the word and sent the man home. When the man arrived home, his young son was well. He asked those who'd been attending to him when he recovered and he was told that it was at 1:00 pm the previous day. The man realized that was the exact time he'd been talking to Jesus. Important to note, I believe, is the length the man went to exercise his faith. He walked for an entire day, one way, to reach Jesus. Jesus saw the need and heard the desperation in this father's pleas and He acted.
In Luke 5:12-15, we read of Jesus healing a man with an advanced case of leprosy. People with leprosy were considered unclean and were often left to live alone in isolation or with other people who had the disease. No one wanted to be with them.
When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”
Again, no fanfare, no hype, just compassion and a reversal of the natural processes that had brought this man to this place in his life. Jesus instructed the man to go through the normal process for ceremonial cleansing that was required and to tell no one that He had healed him.
There are thirty-seven miracles recorded in the four Gospel narratives (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). John states matter-of-factly that there were many more miracles performed that weren’t included in his narrative. We will conclude this series with a final look at three particular miracles as recorded in the Gospel accounts that I find compelling in describing the identity and character of Jesus. In this entry, we’ve established that Jesus was able to circumvent the natural order to accomplish His purposes. And, we also saw that Jesus heart was compassionate and that He desired good for those who came to Him. I hope this sampling of just a few of Jesus’ miracles stimulates thought, wonder, and maybe some good conversations with friends or family!
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.