QUESTION – IS IT CRITICAL THAT I BELIEVE IN THE MIRACLES OF JESUS?
INSIGHT – The power of miracles as evidence rests entirely on the validity that Jesus is God and that His life and miracles are a historic fact.
- It really matters who Jesus is!
- The crisis we face:
- There is a God, or there isn’t.
- That God created everything, or He didn’t.
- That God wants to have a relationship with us, or He doesn’t.
- That God has made promises to mankind and has kept them, or He didn’t
- That God communicated with mankind through people and the Bible, or He didn’t.
- That God became a man, or He didn’t.
- That God came by miracle birth and life, or He didn’t.
- To make Jesus and His miracles anything but historically correct is to ultimately reject Jesus as Lord and the Bible as God’s inspired Word.
QUESTION – WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
INSIGHT – The miracles detailed in the Bible are more than just unlikely events; they are specific, divine actions.
- The Greek New Testament uses two different words that can be translated as miracle in English.
- One is dunamis, meaning a work of power.
- The other is saymeion, which means a sign.
- Miracles described within Scripture are therefore events that are beyond the capabilities of man and beyond the regular workings of the universe.
- A miracle is when God reaches in from outside to effect anything that is not according to the normal course of event such as creation, placing Himself in human form, rising from the dead is a miracle.
- Call attention to God.
- Are events that may only be attributed to divine origin or intervention, and…
- Are rationally unexplainable by probability or natural sciences.
- A miracle by definition is supernatural. It defies all physical laws or it wouldn’t be a miracle in the first place.
- A miracle must be beyond the ability of science to explain, prove or disprove.
QUESTION – IS THERE ANY EVENT THAT QUALIFIES AS A MIRACLE THAT CAN STILL BE SEEN?
INSIGHT- If God, the infinite and transcendent Creator of the universe, exists as separate and distinct from His creation then miracles are not just possible, they are inevitable.
- Consider the beginning of the universe:
- This is the first recorded action of God in the Bible. That the universe had a beginning is even officially accepted among astronomers.
- Nothing in nature or natural reasoning can explain how the universe (or even a pre-existent spaceless and matterless environment of quantum laws) could have been produced by nothing from nothing. It is not that the cosmos was simply an unlikely event; it was an impossible event.
- If you believe in God, you believe in miracles.
QUESTION- “WHAT MIRACLES DID JESUS DO THE GOSPELS?”
INSIGHT – The 37 miracles recorded in the Gospels:
|1||Jesus Turns Water into Wine||2:1-11|
|2||Jesus Heals an Official’s Son||4:43-54|
|3||Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit||1:21-27||4:31-36|
|4||Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law||8:14-15||1:29-31||4:38-39|
|5||Jesus Heals Many Sick at Evening||8:16-17||1:32-34||4:40-41|
|6||First Miraculous Catch of Fish||5:1-11|
|7||Jesus Cleanses a Man With Leprosy||8:1-4||1:40-45||5:12-14|
|8||Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant||8:5-13||7:1-10|
|9||Jesus Heals a Paralytic||9:1-8||2:1-12||5:17-26|
|10||Jesus Heals a Man’s Withered Hand||12:9-14||3:1-6||6:6-11|
|11||Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son in Nain||7:11-17|
|12||Jesus Calms a Storm||8:23-27||4:35-41||8:22-25|
|13||Jesus Casts Demons into a Herd of Pigs||8:28-33||5:1-20||8:26-39|
|14||Jesus Heals a Woman in the Crowd||9:20-22||5:25-34||8:42-48|
|15||Jesus Raises Jairus’ Daughter to Life||9:18, 23-26||5:21-24, 35-43||8:40-42, 49-56|
|16||Jesus Heals Two Blind Men||9:27-31|
|17||Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak||9:32-34|
|18||Jesus Heals an Invalid at Bethesda||5:1-15|
|19||Jesus Feeds 5,000||14:13-21||6:30-44||9:10-17||6:1-15|
|20||Jesus Walks on Water||14:22-33||6:45-52|
|21||Jesus Heals Many Sick in Gennesaret||14:34-36||6:53-56|
|22||Jesus Heals a Gentile Woman’s Demon-Possessed Daughter||15:21-28||7:24-30|
|23||Jesus Heals a Deaf and Dumb Man||7:31-37|
|24||Jesus Feeds 4,000||15:32-39||8:1-13|
|25||Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida||8:22-26|
|26||Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind||9:1-12|
|27||Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon||17:14-20||9:14-29||9:37-43|
|28||Miraculous Temple Tax in a Fish’s Mouth||17:24-27|
|29||Miraculous Temple Tax in a Fish’s Mouth||12:22-23||11:14-23|
|30||Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman||13:10-17|
|31||Jesus Heals a Man With Dropsy on the Sabbath||14:1-6|
|32||Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers||17:11-19|
|33||Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead||11:1-45|
|34||Jesus Restores Sight to Bartimaeus||20:29-34||10:46-52||18:35-43|
|35||Jesus Withers the Fig Tree||21:18:22||11:12-14|
|36||Jesus Heals a Servant’s Severed Ear||22:50-51|
|37||Jesus Heals a Servant’s Severed Ear||21:4-11|
QUESTION – “HOW IMPORTANT IS BELIEVING THAT JESUS IS GOD IN THE FLESH AND THAT HE DID MIRACLES TO YOUR SALVATION?”
INSIGHT – If Jesus didn’t do miracles He is not God in the flesh. If He did miracles, He is God in the flesh.
- At the beginning of Jesus ministry LUKE 4:14-21, He returned to His home town, entered the synagogue and read from the scrolls from ISAIAH 6120 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (That which God had promised through a prophet 750 years before had come true).
- Jesus said – “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” JOHN 14:11
- The Bible says Jesus did miracles and John explained the reason in JOHN 20:30-31. “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name”.
- John said, I JOHN 2:21-23 – 21 “do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
- John said, >II JOHN 7-11 – “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”
- Consider the following miracles:
- The virgin birth – LUKE 1:34,35
- The Bible says the virgin birth is impossible by natural law, yet it happened by the power of God. This is how it proves Jesus is from God.
- Some suggest the virgin birth was not literal. They suggest it is legend but not actual.
- Some claim Mary conceived by a relationship with Joseph or some other man.
- The resurrection of Jesus – ROMANS 1:4
- The Bible says Jesus’ resurrection is impossible by natural law, yet it happened by the power of God. This is how it proves Jesus is from God.
- But some folks point out that, for a dead man to come to life again after three days, would be impossible according to science. (Of course! That’s the point of miracles: they are impossible by natural law.)
- So some try to reconcile the Bible and science by saying that the resurrection was not literal. They say the Bible account is a legend, or just conveys some spiritual concept, but it is not historic fact.
- Some claim Jesus never really died on the cross, or that His disciples stole the body, or that He just fainted then revived. An excellent source on miracles can be found here.
- A discussion on miracles is critical to the believability of the Bible in at least two aspects.
- First, Christianity is based upon the belief in certain miraculous events as fact. There is no believing in Jesus without believing in miracles: If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. I CORINTHIANS 15:13-14</>.
- Second, the idea of miracles as literal historical events is a frequent reason given by unbelievers as to why they doubt the Bible. “They violate the laws of nature,” and “I certainly don’t see them going on today” were my own reactions.
- The Bible presents miracles not only as critical elements, but presents them as sufficient proof with which to believe in Christ. The quote from JOHN 14 indicates this to be true for Christ’s immediate audience as well as for us. However, part of the reason that some people are not convinced by the miracle accounts is that those people may be harboring one or more of several common misconceptions.
- The virgin birth – LUKE 1:34,35
QUESTION – IS THERE EVIDENCE OTHER THAN SCRIPTURE THAT PROVE HIS MIRACLES?
INSIGHT – Here are some questions that can be asked in order to help determine whether or not the miracle accounts are legitimate observations:
- Are there extra-biblical confirmations of miracles? Can the biblical accounts of miracles be corroborated by testimony other than that of Scripture?
- Note this information from EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT by Josh McDowell.
- Thallus, a writer around AD 52, wrote to speculate on natural reasons that would explain away the three hours of darkness that occurred during Christ’s crucifixion. Although the event corresponded with the monthly period of a full moon (which is sufficient to prove that the darkness could not have been a lunar eclipse), the most important point is that Thallus deals with Christ’s crucifixion and the accompanying darkness as factual events. These were events for which he desired alternative explanations. A writer named Phlegon, circa AD 140, wrote similarly in one of his books entitled Olympiads.
- The point of the Thallus and Phlegon examples is that if Christ’s crucifixion and accompanying darkness were only myths, ancient critics would not have sought alternative explanations to deny the miraculous aspects of the events – they would be denying the events altogether.
- The writings of Flavius Josephus also corroborate the Bible in a number of aspects. He was a Jew who turned his loyalty away from Jerusalem to the empire of Rome. Between AD 66-93, he wrote extensively of Jewish history. His works include detailed mentions of King Herod, “John, surnamed the Baptist” and “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ”.
- Josephus indicates some acknowledgment of miracles or miraculous claims in a passage known as the Testimonium Flavianum. Because it so thoroughly supports the existence and reputation of Christ, some allege that early Christians must have altered the Greek text of Josephus’ words. Granting that possibility, here is a translation of the same passage from an Arabic text. This would have been far less likely to circulate in Christian circles of that time, and it is admittedly less complimentary than other translations: At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive;.
- A rabbinical writing, perhaps as early as AD 70, states “that one called Yeshu (Jesus), “practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray.” This is further indication that many outside of Jesus’ circle of followers have associated irregular events with his person.
- The Islamic Qur’an even mentions Christ’s virgin birth (Mary 19:15-22), his healing of the blind and lepers, and his raising of the dead (Table 5:110-112).
- Finally, an unusual, derogatory remark by Julian the Apostate, Emperor of Rome and great foe of Christianity, describes Jesus as “one having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany”.
APPLICATION – IF HE CAN DO MIRACLES, HOW DO I GET ONE?
- I once read of a man in the Second World War who, when in the middle of a battle field, with bombs and bullets flying all around him, was forced out of his safe position. He got up, ran across the battlefield and jumped into a large hole. When he caught his breath he noticed he wasn’t alone in the hole, there was a man standing there holding a crucifix and screaming, “How do you make this thing work?”
- To many people want what God can do for them but do not want Him.
- Others are trusting in a cross, a church, a Bible, a parent, or a person rather than the God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Some have two small a faith or believe in a too small of God.
- Until we learn that, we cannot be a Christian without Christ, that we can’t change our own lives or anyone else’s, that’s God’s job.
QUESTION – WHAT IS THE MISSING INGREDIENT IF MY OWN LIFE IS NOT A MIRACLE?
INSIGHT – Because Jesus is indeed Lord, He can make a miracle out of your life.
- READ ISAIAH 61:1-6: 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring Good News to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland (flower) instead of ashes. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. The mantle of praise instead of the spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations. And they will repair the ruined cities. The desolations of many generations, and strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners, will be your farmers and your vinedressers, but you will be called the priests of the Lord”.
- When I discovered:
- HE CAN bring good news to the afflicted….because He brought it to me!
- HE CAN bind up the broken hearted because He bound up mine!
- HE CAN set the captive free because He set my filthy life and mind free!
- HE CAN make this a favorable year.
- HE COULD comfort my mourning heart.
- HE COULD place praise into my failing heart.
- HE WOULD cause me to stand like a giant oak tree in the storms of life;
- HE COULD bring praise to Himself from my life;
- HE WOULD allow me to rebuild the ruins and He would take away the devastations of my life; and that, miracles of miracles.
- HE WOULD allow me to be called a priest of the Lord”.
- I began to focus on the fact that HE CAN, HE COULD, HE WOULD AND HE DID!
- It was then that I discovered the secret of being forgiven, restored and changed.
- It was then that I discovered that if He could do that for me, He could do it for others!
- It was then I discovered there is hope for the hopeless and helpless!
- We can face the world, the devil and the flesh and expect we will come out stronger on the other side of the crisis!
“IT IS NOT THAT WE ARE GREAT PEOPLE, IT’S THAT WE HAVE A GREAT GOD!”