Part II - The Miracles
PART II - THE MIRACLES
- The Water and the Wine
- Healing the Epileptic
- Peter’s Mother-in-law
- Healing at Sundown
- The Leper at Iron
- The Nobleman’s Son
- The Widow’s Son
- The Centurion’s Servant
- The Pool of Bethesda
- Man with a Withered Hand
- Healing the Paralytic
- Spontaneous Miracles
- Supposed Miracle of Stilling the Tempest
- The Kheresa Lunatic
- Cure of Jairus’s Daughter
- Feeding the Five Thousand
- Casting Out the Unclean Spirit
- The Syrian Woman’s Daughter
- The Epileptic Boy
- Healing the Blind Beggar
- The Ten Lepers
- Healing the Dropsical Man
- The Woman with the Spirit of Infirmity
- The Resurrection of Lazarus
- The Blind Man at Jericho
A. TIME: A.D. 26
B. PLACE: Cana of Galilee
C. OCCASION: Shortly after the choosing of the first six apostles, Jesus’ family and the apostles were invited to this wedding at Cana. Mary journeyed to Cana like the queen mother walking on air. There were about one thousand guests.
E. THE MIRACLE: “It was gradually dawning upon Jesus what had happened. Of all persons present at the marriage feast of Cana, Jesus was the most surprised. Others had expected him to work a wonder, but that was just what he had purposed not to do. And then the Son of Man recalled the admonition of his Personalized Thought Adjuster in the hills. He recounted how the Adjuster had warned him about the inability of any power or personality to deprive him of the creator prerogative of independence of time. On this occasion power transformers, midwayers, and all other required personalities were assembled near the water and other necessary elements, and in the face of the expressed wish of the Universe Creator Sovereign, there was no escaping the instantaneous appearance of wine. And this occurrence was made doubly certain since the Personalized Adjuster had signified that the execution of the Son’s desire was in no way a contravention of the Father’s will.
“But this was in no sense a miracle. No law of nature was modified, abrogated, or even transcended. Nothing happened but the abrogation of time in association with the celestial assembly of the chemical elements requisite for the elaboration of the wine. At Cana on this occasion the agents of the Creator made wine just as they do by the ordinary natural processes except that they did it independently of time and with the intervention of superhuman agencies in the matter of the space assembly of the necessary chemical ingredients.
“Furthermore it was evident that the enactment of this so-called miracle was not contrary to the will of the Paradise Father, else it would not have transpired, since Jesus had already subjected himself in all things to the Father’s will.
“When the servants drew this new wine and carried it to the best man, the ‘ruler of the feast,’ and when he had tasted it, he called to the bridegroom, saying: ‘It is the custom to set out first the good wine and, when the guests have well drunk, to bring forth the inferior fruit of the vine; but you have kept the best of the wine until the last of the feast.’
“Mary and the disciples of Jesus were greatly rejoiced at the supposed miracle which they thought Jesus had intentionally performed, but Jesus withdrew to a sheltered nook of the garden and engaged in serious thought for a few brief moments. He finally decided that the episode was beyond his personal control under the circumstances and, not being adverse to his Father’s will, was inevitable. When he returned to the people, they regarded him with awe; they all believed in him as the Messiah. But Jesus was sorely perplexed, knowing that they believed in him only because of the unusual occurrence which they had just inadvertently beheld. Again Jesus retired for a season to the housetop that he might think it all over.
“Jesus now fully comprehended that he must constantly be on guard lest his indulgence of sympathy and pity become responsible for repeated episodes of this sort. Nevertheless, many similar events occurred before the Son of Man took final leave of his mortal life in the flesh.”
- This episode demonstrates the deep affection—the profound love—of Jesus for his mother.
- This event substantiates the reality of the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth.
- This illustrates how, while Jesus was subject to the limitations of space, he was little handicapped by time.
- Jesus was always subject to his Father’s will. The water and the wine serves to show that God did often permit unusual (even miraculous) events to attend upon the earth mission of his Son.
- This event also shows that many events in Jesus’ life which appeared to be miraculous were not. They merely represented preknowledge on his part, (see the draught of fishes—(1628.4) 145:1.1) or, like this one, represented a foreshortening of time.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Capernaum
C. OCCASION: This Sabbath afternoon, Jesus had preached a sermon on “Personal Experience.” At the end of the discourse, a young man in the congregation was seized with a violent epileptic attack.
E. THE MIRACLE: “Just as Jesus finished speaking, a young man in the congregation who had been much agitated by his words was seized with a violent epileptic attack and loudly cried out. At the end of the seizure, when recovering consciousness, he spoke in a dreamy state, saying: ‘What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? You are the holy one of God; have you come to destroy us?’ Jesus bade the people be quiet and, taking the young man by the hand, said, ‘Come out of it’—and he was immediately awakened.
“This young man was not possessed of an unclean spirit or demon; he was a victim of ordinary epilepsy. But he had been taught that his affliction was due to possession by an evil spirit. He believed this teaching and behaved accordingly in all that he thought or said concerning his ailment. The people all believed that such phenomena were directly caused by the presence of unclean spirits. Accordingly they believed that Jesus had cast a demon out of this man. But Jesus did not at that time cure his epilepsy. Not until later on that day, after sundown, was this man really healed. Long after the day of Pentecost the Apostle John, who was the last to write of Jesus’ doings, avoided all reference to these so-called acts of ‘casting out devils,’ and this he did in view of the fact that such cases of demon possession never occurred after Pentecost.”
- This youth had been taught that his affliction was caused by demoniac possession. Jesus wanted to correct this notion by simply commanding him, as it were, to “snap out of it”—making no reference to evil spirits.
- This episode is included under miracles because on the evening of this same day, this young man was actually cured of his malady.
- The spreading of rumors about this and similar incidents contributed to building up Jesus’ reputation as a wonder worker.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Capernaum
C. OCCASION: This was later on this Sabbath when the epileptic boy was supposedly cured. Peter’s mother-in-law was afflicted with malaria and it was reported that Jesus had healed her. The actual cure occurred that same evening along with the epileptic boy and many others.
E. THE MIRACLE: Many times the natural change for the better in an illness was interpreted as a miracle. This case is included in the miracles because she was really cured of her malaria the evening of that same day.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Capernaum—the front yard of the Zebedee home at Bethsaida
C. OCCASION: In addition to Jesus’ already great reputation as a healer, during this afternoon rumors of his healing the epileptic boy and Peter’s mother-in-law had spread widely, so that at the going down of the sun large numbers of sick and afflicted began to assemble in the front yard of the home where Jesus resided.
E. THE MIRACLE: “When the Master stepped out of the front entrance of Zebedee’s house, his eyes met an array of stricken and afflicted humanity. He gazed upon almost one thousand sick and ailing human beings; at least that was the number of persons gathered together before him. Not all present were afflicted; some had come assisting their loved ones in this effort to secure healing.
“The sight of these afflicted mortals, men, women, and children, suffering in large measure as a result of the mistakes and misdeeds of his own trusted Sons of universe administration, peculiarly touched the human heart of Jesus and challenged the divine mercy of this benevolent Creator Son. But Jesus well knew he could never build an enduring spiritual movement upon the foundation of purely material wonders. It had been his consistent policy to refrain from exhibiting his creator prerogatives. Not since Cana had the supernatural or miraculous attended his teaching; still, this afflicted multitude touched his sympathetic heart and mightily appealed to his understanding affection.
“A voice from the front yard exclaimed: ‘Master, speak the word, restore our health, heal our diseases, and save our souls.’ No sooner had these words been uttered than a vast retinue of seraphim, physical controllers, Life Carriers, and midwayers, such as always attended this incarnated Creator of a universe, made themselves ready to act with creative power should their Sovereign give the signal. This was one of those moments in the earth career of Jesus in which divine wisdom and human compassion were so interlocked in the judgment of the Son of Man that he sought refuge in appeal to his Father’s will.
“When Peter implored the Master to heed their cry for help, Jesus, looking down upon the afflicted throng, answered: ‘I have come into the world to reveal the Father and establish his kingdom. For this purpose have I lived my life to this hour. If, therefore, it should be the will of Him who sent me and not inconsistent with my dedication to the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, I would desire to see my children made whole—and—’ but the further words of Jesus were lost in the tumult.
“Jesus had passed the responsibility of this healing decision to the ruling of his Father. Evidently the Father’s will interposed no objection, for the words of the Master had scarcely been uttered when the assembly of celestial personalities serving under the command of Jesus’ Personalized Thought Adjuster was mightily astir. The vast retinue descended into the midst of this motley throng of afflicted mortals, and in a moment of time 683 men, women, and children were made whole, were perfectly healed of all their physical diseases and other material disorders. Such a scene was never witnessed on earth before that day, nor since. And for those of us who were present to behold this creative wave of healing, it was indeed a thrilling spectacle.
“But of all the beings who were astonished at this sudden and unexpected outbreak of supernatural healing, Jesus was the most surprised. In a moment when his human interests and sympathies were focused upon the scene of suffering and affliction there spread out before him, he neglected to bear in his human mind the admonitory warnings of his Personalized Adjuster regarding the impossibility of limiting the time element of the creator prerogatives of a Creator Son under certain conditions and in certain circumstances. Jesus desired to see these suffering mortals made whole if his Father’s will would not thereby be violated. The Personalized Adjuster of Jesus instantly ruled that such an act of creative energy at that time would not transgress the will of the Paradise Father, and by such a decision—in view of Jesus’ preceding expression of healing desire—the creative act was. What a Creator Son desires and his Father wills IS. Not in all of Jesus’ subsequent earth life did another such en masse physical healing of mortals take place.”
- Many features of this sundown healing episode are very much like those attending the so-called miracle of the water and the wine.
- In this case there was more of Jesus’ own conscious participation than at Cana. His heart was always touched by the sight of human suffering.
- In this case, a Creator Son expressed a wish which the Personalized Adjuster ruled was not in contravention of the Father’s will—and it happened.
- Only a small number of those physically healed were spiritually benefited by their experience.
- This sundown healing episode spread Jesus’ fame far and wide, so much that he decided the next morning, much against the wishes of his apostles, to leave Capernaum.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Iron—a mining town of Galilee
C. OCCASION: During the mission at Iron, Jesus spent considerable time in the mines. Returning from the mines, he met this leper in a side street and heard his plea for healing.
E. THE MIRACLE: “Late on the afternoon of the third day at Iron, as Jesus was returning from the mines, he chanced to pass through a narrow side street on his way to his lodging place. As he drew near the squalid hovel of a certain leprous man, the afflicted one, having heard of his fame as a healer, made bold to accost him as he passed his door, saying as he knelt before him: ‘Lord, if only you would, you could make me clean. I have heard the message of your teachers, and I would enter the kingdom if I could be made clean.’ And the leper spoke in this way because among the Jews lepers were forbidden even to attend the synagogue or otherwise engage in public worship. This man really believed that he could not be received into the coming kingdom unless he could find a cure for his leprosy. And when Jesus saw him in his affliction and heard his words of clinging faith, his human heart was touched, and the divine mind was moved with compassion. As Jesus looked upon him, the man fell upon his face and worshipped. Then the Master stretched forth his hand and, touching him, said: ‘I will—be clean.’ And immediately he was healed; the leprosy no longer afflicted him.
“When Jesus had lifted the man upon his feet, he charged him: ‘See that you tell no man about your healing but rather go quietly about your business, showing yourself to the priest and offering those sacrifices commanded by Moses in testimony of your cleansing.’ But this man did not do as Jesus had instructed him. Instead, he began to publish abroad throughout the town that Jesus had cured his leprosy, and since he was known to all the village, the people could plainly see that he had been cleansed of his disease. He did not go to the priests as Jesus had admonished him. As a result of his spreading abroad the news that Jesus had healed him, the Master was so thronged by the sick that he was forced to rise early the next day and leave the village. Although Jesus did not again enter the town, he remained two days in the outskirts near the mines, continuing to instruct the believing miners further regarding the gospel of the kingdom.
“This cleansing of the leper was the first so-called miracle which Jesus had intentionally and deliberately performed up to this time. And this was a case of real leprosy.”
- This seems to be Jesus’ first miracle of deliberate choice. The leper asked for healing that he might be able to serve in the spiritual brotherhood.
- He was cured when Jesus said: “I will—be clean.” It was in the act of worship—when Jesus gave him the healing touch.
- Jesus never performed miracles for the purpose of enhancing his gospel. Therefore, he charged the cured leper to show himself to the priest (for legal sanction in accordance with Jewish law) and then he admonished him—”See that you tell no man about your healing."
- The leper did just the opposite—he did not go to the priest, and he did publish his healing abroad.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Cana—during his second visit. The afflicted son was at Capernaum.
C. OCCASION: Titus besought Jesus to come and heal his son—Jesus said: “Your son will live.”
E. THE MIRACLE: “When this nobleman had located Jesus in Cana, he besought him to hurry over to Capernaum and heal his afflicted son. While the apostles stood by in breathless expectancy, Jesus, looking at the father of the sick boy, said: ‘How long shall I bear with you? The power of God is in your midst, but except you see signs and behold wonders, you refuse to believe.’ But the nobleman pleaded with Jesus, saying: ‘My Lord, I do believe, but come are my child perishes, for when I left him he was even then at the point of death.’ And when Jesus had bowed his head a moment in silent meditation, he suddenly spoke, ‘Return to your home; your son will live.’ Titus believed the word of Jesus and hastened back to Capernaum. And as he was returning, his servants came out to meet him, saying, ‘Rejoice, for your son is improved—he lives.’ Then Titus inquired of them at what hour the boy began to mend, and when the servants answered ‘yesterday about the seventh hour the fever left him,’ the father recalled that it was about that hour when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live.’ And Titus henceforth believed with a whole heart, and all his family also believed. This son became a mighty minister of the kingdom and later yielded up his life with those who suffered in Rome. Though the entire household of Titus, their friends, and even the apostles regarded this episode as a miracle, it was not. At least this was not a miracle of curing physical disease. It was merely a case of preknowledge concerning the course of natural law, just such knowledge as Jesus frequently resorted to subsequent to his baptism.”
- While this is included among the miracles—it was not really a miracle of healing—it was a case of Jesus’ preknowledge of the working of natural law.
- Jesus desired to honor the father’s faith; accordingly, he did not fully explain just what was taking place, but sent him home with assurance of his son’s recovery.
A. TIME: A.D. 28.
B. PLACE: On the road from Cana to Nain
C. OCCASION: The meeting with a funeral procession coming out from Nain to the cemetery, bearing the supposedly dead son—an only son—of a widow.
E. THE MIRACLE: “When Jesus sought to leave Cana and go to Nain, a great multitude of believers and many curious people followed after him. They were bent on beholding miracles and wonders, and they were not to be disappointed. As Jesus and his apostles drew near the gate of the city, they met a funeral procession on its way to the near-by cemetery, carrying the only son of a widowed mother of Nain. This woman was much respected, and half of the village followed the bearers of the bier of this supposedly dead boy. When the funeral procession had come up to Jesus and his followers, the widow and her friends recognized the Master and besought him to bring the son back to life. Their miracle expectancy was aroused to such a high pitch they thought Jesus could cure any human disease, and why could not such a healer even raise the dead? Jesus, while being thus importuned, stepped forward and, raising the covering of the bier, examined the boy. Discovering that the young man was not really dead, he perceived the tragedy which his presence could avert; so, turning to the mother, he said: ‘Weep not. Your son is not dead; he sleeps. He will be restored to you.’ And then, taking the young man by the hand, he said, ‘Awake and arise. And the youth who was supposed to be dead presently sat up and began to speak, and Jesus sent them back to their homes.
“Jesus endeavored to calm the multitude and vainly tried to explain that the lad was not really dead, that he had not brought him back from the grave, but it was useless. The multitude which followed him, and the whole village of Nain, were aroused to the highest pitch of emotional frenzy. Fear seized many, panic others, while still others fell to praying and wailing over their sins. And it was not until long after nightfall that the clamoring multitude could be dispersed. And, of course, notwithstanding Jesus’ statement that the boy was not dead, everyone insisted that a miracle had been wrought, even the dead raised. Although Jesus told them the boy was merely in a deep sleep, they explained that that was the manner of his speaking and called attention to the fact that he always in great modesty tried to hide his miracles.”
- To the miracle-minded mother, Jesus plainly said: “Your son is not dead”—but it did little good.
- Prolonged comatose states are not uncommon even today. Down through the ages, no doubt, many such persons were buried alive.
- Now, on top of numerous wonders, Jesus is credited with raising the dead. It is difficult to convince people against their wills. We usually find what we look for.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Capernaum
C. OCCASION: As they were making ready to go to Jerusalem for the Passover, Mangus, captain of the Roman guard, besought the rulers of the synagogue to interest Jesus in his afflicted servant.
E. THE MIRACLE: “On the day before they made ready to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, Mangus, a centurion, or captain, of the Roman guard stationed at Capernaum, came to the rulers of the synagogue, saying: ‘My faithful orderly is sick and at the point of death. Would you, therefore, go to Jesus in my behalf and beseech him to heal my servant?’ The Roman captain did this because he thought the Jewish leaders would have more influence with Jesus. So the elders went to see Jesus and their spokesman said: ‘Teacher, we earnestly request you to go over to Capernaum and save the favorite servant of the Roman centurion, who is worthy of your notice because he loves our nation and even built us the very synagogue wherein you have so many times spoken.’
“And when Jesus had heard them, he said, ‘I will go with you.’ And as he went with them over to the centurion’s house, and before they had entered his yard, the Roman soldier sent his friends out to greet Jesus, instructing them to say: ‘Lord, trouble not yourself to enter my house, for I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. Neither did I think myself worthy to come to you; wherefore I sent the elders of your own people. But I know that you can speak the word where you stand and my servant will be healed. For I am myself under the orders of others, and I have soldiers under me, and I say to this one go, and he goes; to another come, and he comes, and to my servants do this or do that, and they do it.’
“And when Jesus heard these words, he turned and said to his apostles and those who were with them: ‘I marvel at the belief of the gentile. Verily, verily, I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.’ Jesus, turning from the house, said, ‘Let us go hence.’ And the friends of the centurion went into the house and told Mangus what Jesus had said. And from that hour the servant began to mend and was eventually restored to his normal health and usefulness.
“But we never knew just what happened on this occasion. This is simply the record, and as to whether or not invisible beings ministered healing to the centurion’s servant, was not revealed to those who accompanied Jesus. We only know of the fact of the servant’s complete recovery.”
- Here is a good illustration of belief in intercession—getting some one with influence to get favors from God for you. The pagan feared to go directly to Jesus—he went to the synagogue rulers.
- Jesus was always interested in people who were looking for help—any sort of help. He never turned a deaf ear to human suffering.
- In this case, our unseen friends frankly confess that they do not know what happened. They do not know whether this was a miracle or just another case of preknowledge.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Jerusalem
C. OCCASION: John was impatient—he wanted something to happen, so he led Jesus down to the pool of Bethesda, hoping that Jesus would be constrained to work some miracles.
E. THE MIRACLE: “The afternoon of the second Sabbath in Jerusalem, as the Master and the apostles were about to participate in the temple services, John said to Jesus, ‘Come with me, I would show you something.’ John conducted Jesus out through one of the Jerusalem gates to a pool of water called Bethesda. Surrounding this pool was a structure of five porches under which a large group of sufferers lingered in quest of healing. This was a hot spring whose reddish-tinged water would bubble up at irregular intervals because of gas accumulations in the rock caverns underneath the pool. This periodic disturbance of the warm waters was believed by many to be due to supernatural influences, and it was a popular belief that the first person who entered the water after such a disturbance would be healed of whatever infirmity he had.
“The apostles were somewhat restless under the restrictions imposed by Jesus, and John, the youngest of the twelve, was especially restive under this restraint. He had brought Jesus to the pool thinking that the sight of the assembled sufferers would make such an appeal to the Master’s compassion that he would be moved to perform a miracle of healing, and thereby would all Jerusalem be astounded and presently be won to believe in the gospel of the kingdom. Said John to Jesus: ‘Master, see all of these suffering ones; is there nothing we can do for them?’ And Jesus replied: ‘John, why would you tempt me to turn aside from the way I have chosen? Why do you go on desiring to substitute the working of wonders and the healing of the sick for the proclamation of the gospel of eternal truth? My son, I may not do that which you desire, but gather together these sick and afflicted that I may speak words of good cheer and eternal comfort to them.’
“In speaking to those assembled, Jesus said: ‘Many of you are here, sick and afflicted, because of your many years of wrong living. Some suffer from the accidents of time, others as a result of the mistakes of their forebears, while some of you struggle under the handicaps of the imperfect conditions of your temporal existence. But my Father works, and I would work, to improve your earthly state but more especially to insure your eternal estate. None of us can do much to change the difficulties of life unless we discover the Father in heaven so wills. After all, we are all beholden to do the will of the Eternal. If you could all be healed of your physical afflictions, you would indeed marvel, but it is even greater that you should be cleansed of all spiritual disease and find yourselves healed of all moral infirmities. You are all God’s children; you are the sons of the heavenly Father. The bonds of time may seem to afflict you, but the God of eternity loves you. And when the time of judgment shall come, fear not, you shall all find, not only justice, but an abundance of mercy. Verily, verily, I say to you: He who hears the gospel of the kingdom and believes in this teaching of sonship with God, has eternal life; already are such believers passing from judgment and death to light and life. And the hour is coming in which even those who are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the resurrection.’
“And many of those who heard believed the gospel of the kingdom. Some of the afflicted were so inspired and spiritually revivified that they went about proclaiming that they had also been cured of their physical ailments.
“One man who had been many years downcast and grievously afflicted by the infirmities of his troubled mind, rejoiced at Jesus’ words and, picking up his bed, went forth to his home, even though it was the Sabbath day. This afflicted man had waited all these years for somebody to help him; he was such a victim of the feeling of his own helplessness that he had never once entertained the idea of helping himself which proved to be the one thing he had to do in order to effect recovery—take up his bed and walk.
“Then said Jesus to John: ‘Let us depart ere the chief priests and the scribes come upon us and take offense that we spoke words of life to these afflicted ones.’ And they returned to the temple to join their companions, and presently all of them departed to spend the night at Bethany. But John never told the other apostles of this visit of himself and Jesus to the pool of Bethesda on this Sabbath afternoon.”
- While Jesus did not work a wholesale miracle as John had desired, he did teach the group a valuable lesson on the nature of human affliction and also proclaimed the gospel of salvation.
- The one man—who was apparently cured—probably suffered from some sort of mental or emotional trouble. At last he was able to “take up his bed and walk” just as soon as he exercised faith and courage.
- We should not depend on others to do for us those things which can only be done by ourselves.
- Jesus was always doing his best to avoid trouble with the Jewish rulers, and on this occasion he sought to avoid trouble which might grow out of this man’s carrying his bed on the Sabbath.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: Capernaum
C. OCCASION: Following a sermon by Jesus in the synagogue, the spying Pharisees, from among a group of afflicted souls seeking healing, selected a man with a withered hand and asked him to approach Jesus and inquire if he thought it proper to be healed on the Sabbath day.
E. THE MIRACLE: “The leader of the spying Pharisees, as Jesus stood talking to the people, induced a man with a withered hand to approach him and ask if it would be lawful to be healed on the Sabbath day or should he seek help on another day. When Jesus saw the man, heard his words, and perceived that he had been sent by the Pharisees, he said: ‘Come forward while I ask you a question. If you had a sheep and it should fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, would you reach down, lay hold on it, and lift it out? Is it lawful to do such things on the Sabbath day?’ And the man answered: ‘Yes, Master, it would be lawful thus to do well on the Sabbath day.’ Then said Jesus, speaking to all of them: ‘I know wherefore you have sent this man into my presence. You would find cause for offense in me if you could tempt me to show mercy on the Sabbath day. In silence you all agreed that it was lawful to lift the unfortunate sheep out of the pit, even on the Sabbath, and I call you to witness that it is lawful to exhibit loving-kindness on the Sabbath day not only to animals but also to men. How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! I proclaim that it is lawful to do good to men on the Sabbath day.’ And as they all stood before him in silence, Jesus, addressing the man with the withered hand, said: ‘Stand up here by my side that all may see you. And now that you may know that it is my Father’s will that you do good on the Sabbath day, if you have the faith to be healed, I bid you stretch out your hand.’
“And as this man stretched forth his withered hand, it was made whole. The people were minded to turn upon the Pharisees, but Jesus bade them be calm, saying: ‘I have just told you that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, to save life, but I did not instruct you to do harm and give way to the desire to kill.’ The angered Pharisees went away, and notwithstanding it was the Sabbath day, they hastened forthwith to Tiberias and took counsel with Herod, doing everything in their power to arouse his prejudice in order to secure the Herodians as allies against Jesus. But Herod refused to take action against Jesus, advising that they carry their complaints to Jerusalem.
“This is the first case of a miracle to be wrought by Jesus in response to the challenge of his enemies. And the Master performed this so-called miracle, not as a demonstration of his healing power, but as an effective protest against making the Sabbath rest of religion a veritable bondage of meaningless restrictions upon all mankind. This man returned to his work as a stone mason, proving to be one of those whose healing was followed by a life of thanksgiving and righteousness.”
- Primarily this has to do with Sabbath-keeping. Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Jesus decides to accept the challenge.
- He predicates this miracle on the will of his Father and the man’s faith. He taught a lesson on Sabbath-keeping and the man with the withered hand was the beneficiary.
- This is the first miracle wrought by Jesus in response to the challenge of his enemies.
- This is the first real miracle since the healing of the leper at Iron. It is probably the second bona-fide miracle performed by the Master.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: The Zebedee home—Bethsaida
C. OCCASION: The house was surrounded by a throng of people; the six Pharisee spies from Jerusalem were sitting on the front row. While Jesus is speaking, they lower this man through the roof into his presence.
E. THE MIRACLE: “On Friday afternoon, October 1, when Jesus was holding his last meeting with the apostles, evangelists, and other leaders of the disbanding encampment, and with the six Pharisees from Jerusalem seated in the front row of this assembly in the spacious and enlarged front room of the Zebedee home, there occurred one of the strangest and most unique episodes of all Jesus’ earth life. The Master was, at this time, speaking as he stood in this large room, which had been built to accommodate these gatherings during the rainy season. The house was entirely surrounded by a vast concourse of people who were straining their ears to catch some part of Jesus’ discourse.
“While the house was thus thronged with people and entirely surrounded by eager listeners, a man long afflicted with paralysis was carried down from Capernaum on a small couch by his friends. This paralytic had heard that Jesus was about to leave Bethsaida, and having talked with Aaron the stone mason, who had been so recently made whole, he resolved to be carried into Jesus’ presence, where he could seek healing. His friends tried to gain entrance to Zebedee’s house by both the front and back doors, but too many people were crowded together. But the paralytic refused to accept defeat; he directed his friends to procure ladders by which they ascended to the roof of the room in which Jesus was speaking, and after loosening the tiles, they boldly lowered the sick man on his couch by ropes until the afflicted one rested on the floor immediately in front of the Master. When Jesus saw what they had done, he ceased speaking, while those who were with him in the room marveled at the perseverance of the sick man and his friends. Said the paralytic: ‘Master, I would not disturb your teaching, but I am determined to be made whole. I am not like those who received healing and immediately forgot your teaching. I would be made whole that I might serve in the kingdom of heaven.’ Now, notwithstanding that this man’s affliction had been brought upon him by his own misspent life, Jesus, seeing his faith, said to the paralytic: ‘Son, fear not; your sins are forgiven. Your faith shall save you.’
“When the Pharisees from Jerusalem, together with other scribes and lawyers who sat with them, heard this pronouncement by Jesus, they began to say to themselves: ‘How dare this man thus speak? Does he not understand that such words are blasphemy? Who can forgive sin but God?’ Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus reasoned within their own minds and among themselves, spoke to them, saying: ‘Why do you so reason in your hearts? Who are you that you sit in judgment over me? What is the difference whether I say to this paralytic, your sins are forgiven, or arise, take up your bed, and walk? But that you who witness all this may finally know that the Son of Man has authority and power on earth to forgive sins, I will say to this afflicted man, Arise, take up your bed, and go to your own house.’ And when Jesus had thus spoken, the paralytic arose, and as they made way for him, he walked out before them all. And those who saw these things were amazed. Peter dismissed the assemblage, while many prayed and glorified God, confessing that they had never before seen such strange happenings.”
- This is a genuine miracle—worked in response to sincere faith. The motive of the applicant was also good—he craved good health that he might serve in the kingdom.
- Jesus also wanted to honor his ingenuity in gaining his presence. He had faith joined with worthy works.
- Jesus first forgave this man the sins that had caused his troubles, and this brought forward the discussion of his authority to forgive sins.
- We again encounter a genuine miracle—probably the third such occurence.
A. TIME: A.D. 28
B. PLACE: In connection with the second preaching tour.
C. OCCASION: Inserted at this point to offer explanation for numerous unusual cases of healing which appeared now and then in connection with Jesus’ ministry.
E. THE MIRACLE: “There began to appear about the time of this mission—and continued throughout the remainder of Jesus’ life on earth—a peculiar and unexplained series of healing phenomena. In the course of this three months’ tour more than one hundred men, women, and children from Judea, Idumea, Galilee, Syria, Tyre, and Sidon, and from beyond the Jordan were beneficiaries of this unconscious healing by Jesus and, returning to their homes, added to the enlargement of Jesus’ fame. And they did this notwithstanding that Jesus would, every time he observed one of these cases of spontaneous healing, directly charge the beneficiary to ‘tell no man.’
“It was never revealed to us just what occurred in these cases of spontaneous or unconscious healing. The Master never explained to his apostles how these healings were effected, other than that on several occasions he merely said, ‘I perceive that power has gone forth from me.’ On one occasion he remarked when touched by an ailing child, ‘I perceive that life has gone forth from me.’
“In the absence of direct word from the Master regarding the nature of these cases of spontaneous healing, it would be presuming on our part to undertake to explain how they were accomplished, but it will be permissible to record our opinion of all such healing phenomena. We believe that many of these apparent miracles of healing, as they occurred in the course of Jesus’ earth ministry, were the result of the coexistence of the following three powerful, potent, and associated influences:
“1. The presence of strong, dominant, and living faith in the heart of the human being who persistently sought healing, together with the fact that such healing was desired for its spiritual benefits rather than for purely physical restoration.
“2. The existence, concomitant with such human faith, of the great sympathy and compassion of the incarnated and mercy-dominated Creator Son of God, who actually possessed in his person almost unlimited and timeless creative healing powers and prerogatives.
“3. Along with the faith of the creature and the life of the Creator it should also be noted that this God-man was the personified expression of the Father’s will. If, in the contact of the human need and the divine power to meet it, the Father did not will otherwise, the two became one, and the healing occurred unconsciously to the human Jesus but was immediately recognized by his divine nature. The explanation, then, of many of these cases of healing must be found in a great law which has long been known to us, namely, What the Creator Son desires and the eternal Father wills IS.
“It is, then, our opinion that, in the personal presence of Jesus, certain forms of profound human faith were literally and truly compelling in the manifestation of healing by certain creative forces and personalities of the universe who were at that time so intimately associated with the Son of Man. It therefore becomes a fact of record that Jesus did frequently suffer men to heal themselves in his presence by their powerful, personal faith.
“Many others sought healing for wholly selfish purposes. A rich widow of Tyre, with her retinue, came seeking to be healed of her infirmities, which were many; and as she followed Jesus about through Galilee, she continued to offer more and more money, as if the power of God were something to be purchased by the highest bidder. But never would she become interested in the gospel of the kingdom; it was only the cure of her physical ailments that she sought.”
NOTE: See also the case of Veronica—in connection with the case of Jairus’s daughter. Miracle No. 15.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: The Sea of Galilee
C. OCCASION: This was on a boat trip from Bethsaida to Kheresa. They were going across the lake for a rest. They encountered a sudden storm which afforded the occasion for this episode.
E. THE MIRACLE: “As Jesus came out in the rain, he looked first at Peter, and then peering into the darkness at the struggling oarsmen, he turned his glance back upon Simon Peter, who, in his agitation, had not yet returned to his oar, and said: ‘Why are all of you so filled with fear? Where is your faith? Peace, be quiet.’ Jesus had hardly uttered this rebuke to Peter and the other apostles, he had hardly bidden Peter seek peace wherewith to quiet his troubled soul, when the disturbed atmosphere, having established its equilibrium, settled down into a great calm. The angry waves almost immediately subsided, while the dark clouds, having spent themselves in a short shower, vanished, and the stars of heaven shone overhead. All this was purely coincidental as far as we can judge; but the apostles, particularly Simon Peter, never ceased to regard the episode as a nature miracle. It was especially easy for the men of that day to believe in nature miracles in as much as they firmly believed that all nature was a phenomenon directly under the control of spirit forces and supernatural beings.
“Jesus plainly explained to the twelve that he had spoken to their troubled spirits and had addressed himself to their fear-tossed minds, that he had not commanded the elements to obey his word, but it was of no avail. The Master’s followers always persisted in placing their own interpretation on all such coincidental occurrences. >From this day on they insisted on regarding the Master as having absolute power over the natural elements. Peter never grew weary of reciting how ‘even the winds and the waves waves obey him.’
“It was late in the evening when Jesus and his associates reached the shore, and since it was a calm and beautiful night, they all rested in the boats, not going ashore until shortly after sunrise the next morning. When they were gathered together, about forty in all, Jesus said: ‘Let us go up into yonder hills and tarry for a few days while we ponder over the problems of the Father’s kingdom.’”
- This seems to be a case of coincidence. Jesus addressed Peter, saying, “Peace, be quiet.” At that moment the angry waves suddenly subsided.
- Jesus’ associates persisted in their belief that the Master had commanded the waves to be stilled.
- Notwithstanding Jesus’ repeated explanation of this experience, they all continued to believe that he had quieted the winds and the waves.
- The human believes what it wants to believe. It is difficult to convince men against their wills.
- It was a fact that the waves were stilled. But it was not a truth that Jesus miraculously quieted them.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: Kheresa—east coast of lake of Galilee
C. OCCASION: Jesus and the apostles had crossed the lake to secure a much needed rest. Immediately, they met Amos, a half-hearted believer who recognized Jesus and sought his help to be delivered from his supposed demoniac possession.
E. THE MIRACLE: “This man, whose name was Amos, was afflicted with a periodic form of insanity. There were considerable spells when he would find some clothing and deport himself fairly well among his fellows. During one of these lucid intervals he had gone over to Bethsaida, where he heard the preaching of Jesus and the apostles, and at that time had become a half-hearted believer in the gospel of the kingdom. But soon a stormy phase of his trouble appeared, and he fled to the tombs, where he moaned, cried out aloud, and so conducted himself as to terrorize all who chanced to meet him.
“When Amos recognized Jesus, he fell down at his feet and exclaimed: ‘I know you, Jesus, but I am possessed of many devils, and I beseech that you will not torment me.’ This man truly believed that his periodic mental affliction was due to the fact that, at such times, evil or unclean spirits entered into him and dominated his mind and body. His troubles were mostly emotional—his brain was not grossly diseased.
“Jesus, looking down upon the man crouching like an animal at his feet, reached down and, taking him by the hand, stood him up and said to him: ‘Amos, you are not possessed of a devil; you have already heard the good news that you are a son of God. I command you to come out of this spell.’ And when Amos heard Jesus speak these words, there occurred such a transformation in his intellect that he was immediately restored to his right mind and the normal control of his emotions. By this time a considerable crowd had assembled from the near-by village, and these people, augmented by the swine herders from the highland above them, were astonished to see the lunatic sitting with Jesus and his followers, in possession of his right mind and freely conversing with them.
“As the swine herders rushed into the village to spread the news of the taming of the lunatic, the dogs charged upon a small and untended herd of about thirty swine and drove most of them over a precipice into the sea. And it was this incidental occurrence, in connection with the presence of Jesus and supposed miraculous curing of the lunatic, that gave origin to the legend that Jesus had cured Amos by casting a legion of devils out of him, and that these devils had entered into the herd of swine, causing them forthwith to rush headlong to their destruction in the sea below. Before the day was over, this episode was published abroad by the swine tenders, and the whole village believed it. Amos most certainly believed this story; he saw the swine tumbling over the brow of the hill shortly after his troubled mind had quieted down, and he always believed that they carried with them the very evil spirits which had so long tormented and afflicted him. And this had a good deal to do with the permanency of his cure. It is equally true that all of Jesus’ apostles (save Thomas) believed that the episode of the swine was directly connected with the cure of Amos.
“As they were about to depart, Amos besought Jesus to permit him to go back with them, but the Master would not consent. Said Jesus to Amos: ‘Forget not that you are a son of God. Return to your own people and show them what great things God has done for you.’ And Amos went about publishing that Jesus had cast a legion of devils out of his troubled soul, and that these evil spirits had entered into a herd of swine, driving them to quick destruction. And he did not stop until he had gone into all the cities of the Decapolis, declaring what great things Jesus had done for him.”
- Amos was a victim of an emotional disorder (manic-depressive) and Jesus’ words of assurance enabled him to rise above his affliction.
- All observers considered this a miracle—but it was not. The sick man responded to psychotherapy.
- Even though Jesus told Amos—within hearing of all—that he did not have a devil, nevertheless, they all continued to regard him as having been possessed, and that Jesus had miraculously healed him.
- In the matter of the swine rushing over the cliff to their destruction, a coincidental episode was interpreted as a second miracle.
- It is interesting to note that one of the apostles—Thomas—was not deceived by the swine episode.
- Of course, this double miracle episode was heralded abroad by Amos and others, so that the crowds began to gather—and Jesus had to move on.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: Capernaum
C. OCCASION: After the return to Capernaum from the experience at Kheresa with Amos and the swine, Jesus was accosted by Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, who implored him to heal his daughter. On the way to Jairus’s house, there occurred the episode of the woman in the crowd touching Jesus and securing the cure of her long-standing affliction of hemorrhage.
E. THE MIRACLE: “The story of the cure of Amos, the Kheresa lunatic, had already reached Bethsaida and Capernaum, so that a great crowd was waiting for Jesus when his boat landed that Tuesday forenoon. Among this throng were the new observers from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin who had come down to Capernaum to find cause for the Master’s apprehension and conviction. As Jesus spoke with those who had assembled to greet him, Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, made his way through the crowd and, falling down at his feet, took him by the hand and besought that he would hasten away with him, saying: ‘Master, my little daughter, an only child, lies in my home at the point of death. I pray that you will come and heal her.’ When Jesus heard the request of this father, he said: ‘I will go with you.’
“As Jesus went along with Jairus, the large crowd which had heard the father’s request followed on to see what would happen. Shortly before they reached the ruler’s house, as they hastened through a narrow street and as the throng jostled him, Jesus suddenly stopped, exclaiming, ‘Someone touched me.’ And when those who were near him denied that they had touched him, Peter spoke up: ‘Master, you can see that this crowd presses you, threatening to crush us, and yet you say “someone has touched me.” What do you mean?’ Then Jesus said: ‘I asked who touched me, for I perceived that living energy had gone forth from me.’ As Jesus looked about him, his eyes fell upon a nearby woman, who, coming forward, knelt at his feet and said: ‘For years I have been afflicted with a scourging hemorrhage. I have suffered many things from many physicians; I have spent all my substance, but none could cure me. Then I heard of you, and I thought if I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall certainly be made whole. And so I pressed forward with the crowd as it moved along until, standing near you, Master, I touched the border of your garment, and I was made whole; I know that I have been healed of my affliction.’
“When Jesus heard this, he took the woman by the hand and, lifting her up, said: ‘Daughter, your faith has made you whole; go in peace.’ It was her faith and not her touch that made her whole. And this case is a good illustration of many apparently miraculous cures which attended upon Jesus’ earth career, but which he in no sense consciously willed. The passing of time demonstrated that this woman was really cured of her malady. Her faith was of the sort that laid direct hold upon the creative power resident in the Master’s person. With the faith she had, it was only necessary to approach the Master’s person. It was not at all necessary to touch his garment; that was merely the superstitious part of her belief. Jesus called this woman, Veronica of Caesarea-Philippi, into his presence to correct two errors which might have lingered in her mind, or which might have persisted in the minds of those who witnessed this healing: He did not want Veronica to go away thinking that her fear in attempting to steal her cure had been honored, or that her superstition in associating the touch of his garment with her healing had been effective. He desired all to know that it was her pure and living faith that had wrought the cure.
“Jairus was, of course, terribly impatient of this delay in reaching his home; so they now hastened on at quickened pace. Even before they entered the ruler’s yard, one of his servants came out, saying: ‘Trouble not the Master; your daughter is dead.’ But Jesus seemed not to heed the servant’s, words, for, taking with him Peter, James, and John, he turned and said to the grief-stricken father: ‘Fear not; only believe.’ When he entered the house, he found the flute-players already there with the mourners, who were making an unseemly tumult; already were the relatives engaged in weeping and wailing. And when he had put all the mourners out of the room, he went in with the father and mother and his three apostles. He had told the mourners that the damsel was not dead, but they laughed him to scorn. Jesus now turned to the mother, saying: ‘Your daughter is not dead; she is only asleep.’ And when the house had quieted down, Jesus, going up to where the child lay, took her by the hand and said, ‘Daughter, I say to you, awake and arise!’ And when the girl heard these words, she immediately rose up and walked across the room. And presently, after she had recovered from her daze, Jesus directed that they should give her something to eat, for she had been a long time without food.
“Since there was much agitation in Capernaum against Jesus, he called the family together and explained that the maiden had been in a state of coma following a long fever, and that he had merely aroused her, that he had not raised her from the dead. He likewise explained all this to his apostles, but it was futile; they all believed he had raised the little girl from the dead. What Jesus said in explanation of many of these apparent miracles had little effect on his followers. They were miracle-minded and lost no opportunity to ascribe another wonder to Jesus. Jesus and the apostles returned to Bethsaida after he had specifically charged all of them that they should tell no man.”
- Here, again is the problem of dealing with a comatose patient aroused by Jesus and everybody proclaiming that a miracle had been wrought.
- Jesus frankly explained to the family and his apostles that the child had been aroused from a coma—but it did little good. Everybody insisted that another miracle had been performed.
- On the way to the home of Jairus, Veronica—a woman in the crowd—touched him and was healed. Another of those spontaneous healings which occurred every now and then.
- This woman’s perfect faith in the presence of the perfect source of lifw healed her. It was a true miracle.
- Again Jesus instructed all concerned to "tell no man."
- Leaving Jairus's home, two blind men sought healing, but nothing was done about their request.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: A park south of Bethsaida-Julias
C. OCCASION: Jesus, craving a season of rest, betook himself to a park up around the lake. But the people followed him. Presently they were confronted with five thousand hungry people. Jesus decided not to send them away hungry.
E THE MIRACLE: “This was the stage setting about five o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, when Jesus asked James Alpheus to summon Andrew and Philip. Said Jesus: ‘What shall we do with the multitude? They have been with us now three days, and many of them are hungry. They have no food.’ Philip and Andrew exchanged glances, and then Philip answered: ‘Master, you should send these people away so that they may go to the villages around about and buy themselves food.’ And Andrew, fearing the materialization of the king plot, quickly joined with Philip, saying: ‘Yes, Master, I think it best that you dismiss the multitude so that they may go their way and buy food while you secure rest for a season.’ By this time others of the twelve had joined the conference. Then said Jesus: ‘But I do not desire to send them away hungry; can you not feed them?’ This was too much for Philip, and he spoke right up: ‘Master, in this country place where can we buy bread for this multitude? Two hundred denarii worth would not be enough for lunch.’
“Before the apostles had an opportunity to express themselves, Jesus turned to Andrew and Philip, saying: ‘I do not want to send these people away. Here they are, like sheep without a shepherd. I would like to feed them. What food have we with us?’ While Philip was conversing with Matthew and Judas, Andrew sought out the Mark lad to ascertain how much was left of their store of provisions. He returned to Jesus, saying: ‘The lad has left only five barley loaves and two dried fishes’—and Peter promptly added, ‘We have yet to eat this evening.’
“For a moment Jesus stood in silence. There was a faraway look in his eyes. The apostles said nothing. Jesus turned suddenly to Andrew and said, ‘Bring me the loaves and fishes.’ And when Andrew had brought the basket to Jesus, the Master said: ‘Direct the people to sit down on the grass in companies of one hundred and appoint a leader over each group while you bring all of the evangelists here with us.’
“Jesus took up the loaves in his hands, and after he had given thanks, he broke the bread and gave to his apostles, who passed it on to their associates, who in turn carried it to the multitude. Jesus in like manner broke and distributed the fishes. And this multitude did eat and were filled. And when they had finished eating, Jesus said to the disciples: ‘Gather up the broken pieces that remain over so that nothing will be lost.’ And when they had finished gathering up the fragments, they had twelve basketfuls. They who ate of this extraordinary feast numbered about five thousand men, women, and children.
“And this is the first and only nature miracle which Jesus performed as a result of his conscious preplanning. It is true that his disciples were disposed to call many things miracles which were not, but this was a genuine supernatural ministration. In this case, so we were taught, Michael multiplied food elements as he always does except for the elimination of the time factor and the visible life channel.
“Of the five thousand who were miraculously fed, and who, when their stomachs were full and their hearts empty, would have made him king, only about five hundred persisted in following after him. But before these received word that he was back in Bethsaida, Jesus asked Andrew to assemble the twelve apostles and their associates, including the women, saying, ‘I desire to speak with them.’ And when all were ready, Jesus said:
“‘How long shall I bear with you? Are you all slow of spiritual comprehension and deficient in living faith? All these months have I taught you the truths of the kingdom, and yet are you dominated by material motives instead of spiritual considerations. Have you not even read in the Scriptures where Moses exhorted the unbelieving children of Israel, saying: “Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord”? Said the singer: “Put your trust in the Lord.” “Be patient, wait upon the Lord and be of good courage. He shall strengthen your heart.” “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain you. Trust him at all times and pour out your heart to him, for God is your refuge.” “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” “It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in human princes.”
“‘And now do you all see that the working of miracles and the performance of material wonders will not win souls for the spiritual kingdom? We fed the multitude, but it did not lead them to hunger for the bread of life neither to thirst for the waters of spiritual righteousness. When their hunger was satisfied, they sought not entrance into the kingdom of heaven but rather sought to proclaim the Son of Man king after the manner of the kings of this world, only that they might continue to eat bread without having to toil therefor. And all this, in which many of you did more or less participate, does nothing to reveal the heavenly Father or to advance his kingdom on earth. Have we not sufficient enemies among the religious leaders of the land without doing that which is likely to estrange also the civil rulers? I pray that the Father will anoint your eyes that you may see and open your ears that you may hear, to the end that you may have full faith in the gospel which I have taught you.’”
- This is the first nature miracle which the Master deliberately performed. Primarily, his heart was touched by the sight of this vast concourse of hungry mortals—like sheep without a shepherd.
- But there was another motive. Jesus knew the miracle-seeking phase of his work was coming to a head. He purposefully performed this wonder to make an end of this phase of his ministry.
- This nature wonder was immediately followed by the king-making episode.
- By this combined miracle and the king-making business, Jesus made a sudden and spectular wind-up of the miracle-craving phase of his ministry.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: The Capernaum synagogue
C. OCCASION: This was the ending of the Capernaum crisis. Jesus had preached an epochal sermon and during the discussions and questions of a lengthy after meeting, a Pharisee brought forward a demented youth as a sort of challenge. Jesus had compassion on the lad and cast out the evil spirit.
E. THE MIRACLE: “In the midst of the discussions of this after meeting, one of the Pharisees from Jerusalem brought to Jesus a distraught youth who was possessed of an unruly and rebellious spirit. Leading this demented lad up to Jesus, he said: ‘What can you do for such affliction as this? Can you cast out devils?’ And when the Master looked upon the youth, he was moved with compassion and, beckoning for the lad to come to him, took him by the hand and said: ‘You know who I am; come out of him; and I charge one of your loyal fellows to see that you do not return.’ And immediately the lad was normal and in his right mind. And this is the first case where Jesus really cast an ‘evil spirit’ out of a human being. All of the previous cases were only supposed possession of the devil; but this was a genuine case of demoniac possession, even such as sometimes occurred in those days and right up to the day of Pentecost, when the Master’s spirit was poured out upon all flesh, making it forever impossible for these few celestial rebels to take such advantage of certain unstable types of human beings.
“When the people marveled, one of the Pharisees stood up and charged that Jesus could do these things because he was in league with devils; that he admitted in the language which he employed in casting out this devil that they were known to each other; and he went on to state that the religious teachers and leaders at Jerusalem had decided that Jesus did all his socalled miracles by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. Said the Pharisee: ‘Have nothing to do with this man; he is in partnership with Satan.’
“Then said Jesus: ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand; if a house be divided against itself, it is soon brought to desolation. Can a city withstand a seige if it is not united? If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? But you should know that no one can enter into the house of a strong man and despoil his goods except he first overpower and bind that strong man. And so, if I by the power of Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges. But if I, by the spirit of God, cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God truly come upon you. If you were not blinded by prejudice and misled by fear and pride, you would easily perceive that one who is greater than devils stands in your midst. You compel me to declare that he who is not with me is against me, while he who gathers not with me scatters abroad. Let me utter a solemn warning to you who would presume, with your eyes open and with premeditated malice, knowingly to ascribe the works of God to the doings of devils: Verily, verily, I say to you, all your sins shall be forgiven, even all of your blasphemies, but whosoever shall blaspheme against God with deliberation and wicked intention shall never obtain forgiveness. Since such persistent workers of iniquity will never seek nor receive forgiveness, they are guilty of the sin of eternally rejecting divine forgiveness.
“‘Many of you have this day come to the parting of the ways; you have come to a beginning of the making of the inevitable choice between the will of the Father and the self-chosen ways of darkness. And as you now choose, so shall you eventually be. You must either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else will the tree become corrupt and its fruit corrupt. I declare that in my Father’s eternal kingdom the tree is known by its fruits. But some of you who are as vipers, how can you, having already chosen evil, bring forth good fruits? After all, out of the abundance of the evil in your hearts your mouths speak.’
“Then stood up another Pharisee, who said: ‘Teacher, we would have you give us a predetermined sign which we will agree upon as establishing your authority and right to teach. Will you agree to such an arrangement?’ And when Jesus heard this, he said: ‘This faithless and sign-seeking generation seeks a token, but no sign shall be given you other than that which you already have, and that which you shall see when the Son of Man departs from among you.’”
- This is the first case of the casting out of devils—a case of abnormal mind possessed by a disloyal midwayer.
- Remember: Jesus knew the differences between demoniac possession, epilepsy, and hysteria.
- This was a combined motivated miracle—a challenge by his enemies associated with compassion for the young man
- Again, Jesus desired to enter upon a full discussion of the oft repeated charge that he cast out devils by the power of the prince of devils. Many cases heretofore healed were believed to be persons possessed by demons.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: The environs of Sidon, at the house of a well-to-do believer
C. OCCASION: Norana was a Syrian believer who had an afflicted daughter. Learning of Jesus’ presence at this home, she came seeking help for her child. After the apostles failed to put her off, Jesus came forth and honored her faith.
E. THE MIRACLE: “There lived near the home of Karuska, where the Master lodged, a Syrian woman who had heard much of Jesus as a great healer and teacher, and on this Sabbath afternoon she came over, bringing her little daughter. The child, about twelve years old, was afflicted with a grievous nervous disorder characterized by convulsions and other distressing manifestations.
“Jesus had charged his associates to tell no one of this presence at the home of Karuska, explaining that he desired to have a rest. While they had obeyed their Master’s instructions, the servant of Karuska had gone over to the house of this Syrian woman, Norana, to inform her that Jesus lodged at the home of her mistress and had urged this anxious mother to bring her afflicted daughter for healing. This mother, of course, believed that her child was possessed by a demon, an unclean spirit.
“When Norana arrived with her daughter, the Alpheus twins explained through an interpreter that the Master was resting and could not be disturbed; whereupon Norana replied that she and the child would remain right there until the Master had finished his rest. Peter also endeavored to reason with her and to persuade her to go home. He explained that Jesus was weary with much teaching and healing, and that he had come to Phoenicia for a period of quiet and rest. But it was futile; Norana would not leave. To Peter’s entreaties she replied only: ‘I will not depart until I have seen your Master. I know he can cast the demon out of my child, and I will not go until the healer has looked upon my daughter.’
“Then Thomas sought to send the woman away but met only with failure. To him she said: ‘I have faith that your Master can cast out this demon which torments my child. I have heard of his mighty works in Galilee, and I believe in him. What has happened to you, his disciples, that you would send away those who come seeking your Master’s help?’ And when she had thus spoken, Thomas withdrew.
“Then came forward Simon Zelotes to remonstrate with Norana. Said Simon: ‘Woman, you are a Greek-speaking gentile. It is not right that you should expect the Master to take the bread intended for the children of the favored household and cast it to the dogs.’ But Norana refused to take offense at Simon’s thrust. She replied only: ‘Yes, teacher, I understand your words. I am only a dog in the eyes of the Jews, but as concerns your Master, I am a believing dog. I am determined that he shall see my daughter, for I am persuaded that, if he shall but look upon her, he will heal her. And even you, my good man, would not dare to deprive the dogs of the privilege of obtaining the crumbs which chance to fall from the children’s table.’
“At just this time the little girl was seized with a violent convulsion before them all, and the mother cried out: ‘There, you can see that my child is possessed by an evil spirit. If our need does not impress you, it would appeal to your Master, who I have been told loves all men and dares even to heal the gentiles when they believe. You are not worthy to be his disciples. I will not go until my child has been cured.’
“Jesus, who had heard all of this conversation through an open window, now came outside, much to their surprise, and said: ‘O woman, great is your faith, so great that I cannot withhold that which you desire; go your way in peace. Your daughter already has been made whole.’ And the little girl was well from that hour. As Norana and the child took leave, Jesus entreated them to tell no one of this occurrence; and while his associates did comply with this request, the mother and the child ceased not to proclaim the fact of the little girl’s healing throughout all the countryside and even in Sidon, so much so that Jesus found it advisable to change his lodgings within a few days.
“The next day, as Jesus taught his apostles, commenting on the cure of the daughter of the Syrian woman, he said: ‘And so it has been all the way along; you see for yourselves how the gentiles are able to exercise saving faith in the teachings of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Verily, verily, I tell you that the Father’s kingdom shall be taken by the gentiles if the children of Abraham are not minded to show faith enough to enter therein.’”
- First, Jesus wanted to honor a strong and living faith. Faith must be both pure and persistent.
- Jesus also wanted to teach his apostles a valuable lesson about the rights of the Gentiles to the privileges of the kingdom.
- The record does not diagnose this case. The mother regarded it as demoniacal possession. It was probably epilepsy.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: At the base of Mt. Hermon
C. OCCASION: The nine apostles were waiting for Jesus and the three to come down from the mount of transfiguration. The waiting apostles had rashly undertaken to cure an epileptic boy—and met with failure. Jesus arrives and effects the cure.
D. THE MIRACLE: “It was shortly before breakfast time on this Tuesday morning when Jesus and his companions arrived at the apostolic camp. As they drew near, they discerned a considerable crowd gathered around the apostles and soon began to hear the loud words of argument and disputation of this group of about fifty persons, embracing the nine apostles and a gathering equally divided between Jerusalem scribes and believing disciples who had tracked Jesus and his associates in their journey from Magadan.
“Although the crowd engaged in numerous arguments, the chief controversy was about a certain citizen of Tiberias who had arrived the preceding day in quest of Jesus. This man, James of Safed, had a son about fourteen years old, an only child, who was severely afflicted with epilepsy. In addition to this nervous malady this lad had become possessed by one of those wandering, mischievous, and rebellious midwayers who were then present on earth and uncontrolled, so that the youth was both epileptic and demon-possessed.
“For almost two weeks this anxious father, a minor official of Herod Antipas, had wandered about through the western borders of Philip’s domains, seeking Jesus that he might entreat him to cure this afflicted son. And he did not catch up with the apostolic party until about noon of this day when Jesus was up on the mountain with the three apostles.
“Andrew stepped up to greet this father and his son, saying, ‘Whom do you seek?’ Said James: ‘My good man, I search for your Master. I seek healing for my afflicted son. I would have Jesus cast out this devil that possesses my child.’ And then the father proceeded to relate to the apostles how his son was so afflicted that he had many times almost lost his life as a result of these malignant seizures.
“As the apostles listened, Simon Zelotes and Judas Iscariot stepped into the presence of the father, saying: ‘We can heal him; you need not wait for the Master’s return. We are ambassadors of the kingdom; no longer do we hold these things in secret. Jesus is the Deliverer, and the keys of the kingdom have been delivered to us.’ By this time Andrew and Thomas were in consultation at one side. Nathaniel and the others looked on in amazement; they were all aghast at the sudden boldness, if not presumption, of Simon and Judas. Then said the father: ‘If it has been given you to do these works, I pray that you will speak those words which will deliver my child from this bondage.’ Then Simon stepped forward and, placing his hand on the head of the child, looked directly into his eyes and commanded: ‘Come out of him you unclean spirit; in the name of Jesus obey me.’ But the lad had only a more violent fit, while the scribes mocked the apostles in derision, and the disappointed believers suffered the taunts of these unfriendly critics....
“When Jesus had listened to this recital, he touched the kneeling father and bade him rise while he gave the near-by apostles a searching survey. Then said Jesus to all those who stood before him: ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I bear with you? How long shall I be with you? How long ere you learn that the works of faith come not forth at the bidding of doubting unbelief?’ And then, pointing to the bewildered father, Jesus said, ‘Bring hither your son.’ And when James had brought the lad before Jesus, he asked, ‘How long has the boy been afflicted in this way?’ The father answered, ‘Since he was a very young child.’ And as they talked, the youth was seized with a violent attack and fell in their midst, gnashing his teeth and foaming at the mouth. After a succession of violent convulsions he lay there before them as one dead. Now did the father again kneel at Jesus’ feet while he implored the Master, saying: ‘If you can cure him, I beseech you to have compassion on us and deliver us from this affliction.’ And when Jesus heard these words, he looked down into the father’s anxious face, saying: ‘Question not my Father’s power of love, only the sincerity and reach of your faith. All things are possible to him who really believes.’ And then James of Safed spoke those long-to-be-remembered words of commingled faith and doubt, ‘Lord, I believe. I pray you help my unbelief.’
“When Jesus heard these words, he stepped forward and, taking the lad by the hand, said: ‘I will do this in accordance with my Father’s will and in honor of living faith. My son, arise! Come out of him, disobedient spirit, and go not back into him.’ And placing the hand of the lad in the hand of the father, Jesus said: ‘Go your way. The Father has granted the desire of your soul.’ And all who were present, even the enemies of Jesus, were astonished at what they saw.”
- Self-seeking—honor—craving—is fatal to spiritual attainment. The apostles would work miracles to demonstrate their superiority.
- This episode also serves to validate sincerity in association with faith. The father’s faith wavered but his sincerity was whole-hearted.
- Here is a case of double affliction. While the boy undoubtedly had epilepsy, he was also a victim of rebel midwayer possession. Jesus cured the one ailment and divested him of the other.
- It is a common experience to observe an epileptic attack brought on by discussing this trouble in the presence of the patient.
A. TIME: A.D. 29
B. PLACE: Jerusalem
C. OCCASION: Jesus was attending the feast of tabernacles. On this Sabbath morning Jesus cured this blind man near the temple for the purpose of bringing his mission to the attention of the Jewish rulers.
E. THE MIRACLE: “The next morning the three went over to Martha’s home at Bethany for breakfast and then went immediately into Jerusalem. This Sabbath morning, as Jesus and his two apostles drew near the temple, they encountered a well-known beggar, a man who had been born blind, sitting at his usual place. Although these mendicants did not solicit or receive alms on the Sabbath day, they were permitted thus to sit in their usual places. Jesus paused and looked upon the beggar. As he gazed upon this man who had been born blind, the idea came into his mind as to how he would once more bring his mission on earth to the notice of the Sanhedrin and the other Jewish leaders and religious teachers.
“As the Master stood there before the blind man, engrossed in deep thought, Nathaniel, pondering the possible cause of this man’s blindness, asked: ‘Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?’
“The rabbis taught that all such cases of blindness from birth were caused by sin. Not only were children conceived and born in sin, but a child could be born blind as a punishment for some specific sin committed by its father. They even taught that a child itself might sin before it was born into the world. They also taught that such defects could be caused by some sin or other indulgence of the mother while carrying the child.
“There was, throughout all these regions, a lingering belief in reincarnation. The older Jewish teachers, together with Plato, Philo, and many of the Essenes, tolerated the theory that men may reap in one incarnation what they have sown in a previous existence; thus in one life they were believed to be expiating the sins committed in preceding lives. The Master found it difficult to make men believe that their souls had not had previous existence.
“However, inconsistent as it seems, while such blindness was supposed to be the result of sin, the Jews held that it was meritorious in a high degree to give alms to these blind beggars. It was the custom of these blind men constantly to chant to the passers-by, ‘O tenderhearted, gain merit by assisting the blind.’
“Jesus entered into the discussion of this case with Nathaniel and Thomas, not only because he had already decided to use this blind man as the means of that day bringing his mission once more prominently to the notice of the Jewish leaders, but also because he always encouraged his apostles to seek for the true causes of all phenomena, natural or spiritual. He had often warned them to avoid the common tendency to assign spiritual causes to commonplace physical events.
“Jesus decided to use this beggar in his plans for that day’s work, but before doing anything for the blind man, Josiah by name, he proceeded to answer Nathaniel’s question. Said the Master: ‘Neither did this man sin nor his parents that the works of God might be manifest in him. This blindness has come upon him in the natural course of events, but we mustnow do the works of Him who sent me, while it is still day, for the night will certainly come when it will be impossible to do the work we are about to perform. When I am in the world, I am the light of the world, but in only a little while I will not be with you.’
“When Jesus had spoken, he said to Nathaniel and Thomas: ‘Let us create the sight of this blind man on this Sabbath day that the scribes and Pharisees may have the full occasion which they seek for accusing the Son of Man.’ Then, stooping over, he spat on the ground and mixed the clay with the spittle, and speaking of all this so that the blind man could hear, he went up to Josiah and put the clay over his sightless eyes, saying: ‘Go, my son, wash away this clay in the pool of Siloam, and immediately you shall receive your sight.’ And when Josiah had so washed in the pool of Siloam, he returned to his friends and family, seeing.
“Having always been a beggar, he knew nothing else; so, when the first excitement of the creation of his sight had passed, he returned to his usual place of alms-seeking. His friends, neighbors, and all who had known him aforetime, when they observed that he could see, all said, ‘Is this not Josiah the blind beggar?’ Some said it was he, while others said, ‘No, it is one like him, but this man can see.’ But when they asked the man himself, he answered, ‘I am he.’
“When they began to inquire of him how he was able to see, he answered them: ‘A man called Jesus came by this way, and when talking about me with his friends, he made clay with spittle, anointed my eyes, and directed that I should go and wash in the pool of Siloam. I did what this man told me, and immediately I received my sight. And that is only a few hours ago. I do not yet know the meaning of much that I see.’ And when the people who began to gather about him asked where they could find the strange man who had healed him, Josiah could answer only that he did not know.
“This is one of the strangest of all the Master’s miracles. This man did not ask for healing. He did not know that the Jesus who had directed him to wash at Siloam, and who had promised him vision, was the prophet of Galilee who had preached in Jerusalem during the feast of tabernacles. This man had little faith that he would receive his sight, but the people of that day had great faith in the efficacy of the spittle of a great or holy man; and from Jesus’ conversation with Nathaniel and Thomas, Josiah had concluded that his would-be benefactor was a great man, a learned teacher or a holy prophet; accordingly he did as Jesus directed him.
“Jesus made use of the clay and the spittle and directed him to wash in the symbolic pool of Siloam for three reasons:
“1. This was not a miracle response to the individual’s faith. This was a wonder which Jesus chose to perform for a purpose of his own, but which he so arranged that this man might derive lasting benefit therefrom.
“2. As the blind man had not asked for healing, and since the faith he had was slight, these material acts were suggested for the purpose of encouraging him. He did believe in the superstition of the efficacy of spittle, and he knew the pool of Siloam was a semisacred place. But he would hardly have gone there had it not been necessary to wash away the clay of his anointing. There was just enough ceremony about the transaction to induce him to act.
“3. But Jesus had a third reason for resorting to these material means in connection with this unique transaction: This was a miracle wrought purely in obedience to his own choosing, and thereby he desired to teach his followers of that day and all subsequent ages to refrain from despising or neglecting material means in the healing of the sick. He wanted to teach them that they must cease to regard miracles as the only method of curing human diseases.“
Jesus gave this man his sight by miraculous working, on this Sabbath morning and in Jerusalem near the temple, for the prime purpose of making this act an open challenge to the Sanhedrin and all the Jewish teachers and religious leaders. This was his way of proclaiming an open break with the Pharisees. He was always positive in everything he did. And it was for the purpose of bringing these matters before the Sanhedrin that Jesus brought his two apostles to this man early in the afternoon of this Sabbath day and deliberately provoked those discussions which compelled the Pharisees to take notice of the miracle.”
- The Jews clamored for miracles—Jesus decided to make this concession to their wonder-craving.
- He decided to do this cure on the Sabbath in order to bring the matter to the immediate attention of the rulers.
- It was a challenge to the rulers to accept him on their own terms—miracles, wonders, etc.
- He wanted to give this blind man his sight—and he wanted to correct the wrong ideas of his apostles and others respecting the cause of congenital blindness.
- Jesus also knew that, in this case, healing would lead to good results—in that Josiah became a useful worker for the upbuilding of the kingdom.
A. TIME: A.D. 30
B. PLACE: Near Amathus
C. OCCASION: Nine of the lepers were Jews, one a Samaritan. Simon Zelotes, seeing the Samaritan, wanted Jesus to pass them by, but the Master decided to bestow health upon these ten men and at the same time teach his apostles a lesson.
E. THE MIRACLE: “The next day Jesus went with the twelve over to Amathus, near the border of Samaria, and as they approached the city, they encountered a group of ten lepers who sojourned near this place. Nine of this group were Jews, one a Samaritan. Ordinarily these Jews would have refrained from all association or contact with this Samaritan, but their common affliction was more than enough to overcome all religious prejudice. They had heard much of Jesus and his earlier miracles of healing, and since the seventy made a practice of announcing the time of Jesus’ expected arrival when the Master was out with the twelve on these tours, the ten lepers had been made aware that he was expected to appear in this vicinity about this time; and they were, accordingly, posted here on the outskirts of the city where they hoped to attract his attention and ask for healing. When the lepers saw Jesus drawing near them, not daring to approach him, they stood afar off and cried to him: ‘Master, have mercy on us; cleanse us from our affliction. Heal us as you have healed others.’
“Jesus had just been explaining to the twelve why the gentiles of Perea, together with the less orthodox Jews, were more willing to believe the gospel preached by the seventy than were the more orthodox and traditionbound Jews of Judea. He had called their attention to the fact that their message had likewise been more readily received by the Galileans, and even by the Samaritans. But the twelve apostles were hardly yet willing to entertain kind feelings for the long-despised Samaritans.
“Accordingly, when Simon Zelotes observed the Samaritan among the lepers, he sought to induce the Master to pass on into the city without even hesitating to exchange greetings with them. Said Jesus to Simon: ‘But what if the Samaritan loves God as well as the Jews? Should we sit in judgment on our fellow men? Who can tell? if we make these ten men whole, perhaps the Samaritan will prove more grateful even than the Jews. Do you feel certain about your opinions, Simon?’ And Simon quickly replied, ‘If you cleanse them, you will soon find out.’ And Jesus replied: ‘So shall it be, Simon, and you will soon know the truth regarding the gratitude of men and the loving mercy of God.’
“Jesus, going near the lepers, said: ‘If you would be made whole, go forthwith and show yourselves to the priests as required by the law of Moses.’ And as they went, they were made whole. But when the Samaritan saw that he was being healed, he turned back and, going in quest of Jesus, began to glorify God with a loud voice. And when he had found the Master, he fell on his knees at his feet and gave thanks for his cleansing. The nine others, the Jews, had also discovered their healing, and while they also were grateful for their cleansing, they continued on their way to show themselves to the priests.
“As the Samaritan remained kneeling at Jesus’ feet, the Master, looking about at the twelve, especially at Simon Zelotes, said: ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where, then, are the other nine, the Jews? Only one, this alien, has returned to give glory to God.’ And then he said to the Samaritan, ‘Arise and go your way; your faith has made you whole.’
“Jesus looked again at his apostles as the stranger departed. And the apostles all looked at Jesus, save Simon Zelotes, whose eyes were downcast. The twelve said not a word. Neither did Jesus speak; it was not necessary that he should.
“Though all ten of these men really believed they had leprosy, only four were thus afflicted. The other six were cured of a skin disease which had been mistaken for leprosy. But the Samaritan really had leprosy.
“Jesus enjoined the twelve to say nothing about the cleansing of the lepers, and as they went on into Amathus, he remarked: ‘You see how it is that the children of the house, even when they are insubordinate to their Father’s will, take their blessings for granted. They think it a small matter if they neglect to give thanks when the Father bestows healing upon them, but the strangers, when they receive gifts from the head of the house, are filled with wonder and are constrained to give thanks in recognition of the good things bestowed upon them.’ And still the apostles said nothing in reply to the Master’s words.”
- Primarily it was to help his apostles to overcome their prejudice against Samaritans and other non-Jews.
- Again, he did take pleasure in relieving human suffering and affliction.
- Only four of these men had real leprosy. The Samaritan was a real leper.
- Remember: These men, on hearing that Jesus was due in this village, betook themselves out on the road he was expected to traverse. They made every effort to contact the source of healing. They did not wait to be sought out.
- Again, note that Jesus still goes out of his way to comply with the law of Moses. He instructed the lepers to visit the priest.
A. TIME: A.D. 30
B. PLACE: Philadelphia
C. OCCASION: During the visit at Philadelphia, a wealthy Pharisee invited Jesus to his house for Sabbath breakfast. About forty were present. This man with dropsy entered the room, much to the dislike of the host.
E. THE MIRACLE: “Near the end of the meal there came in from the street a man long afflicted with a chronic disease and now in a dropsical condition.This man was a believer, having recently been baptised by Abner’s associates. He made no request of Jesus for healing, but the Master knew full well that this afflicted man came to this breakfast hoping thereby to escape the crowds which thronged him and thus be more likely to engage his attention. This man knew that few miracles were then being performed; however, he had reasoned in his heart that his sorry plight might possibly appeal to the Master’s compassion. And he was not mistaken, for when he entered the room, both Jesus and the self-righteous Pharisee from Jerusalem took notice of him. The Pharisee was not slow to voice his resentment that such a one should be permitted to enter the room. But Jesus looked upon the sick man and smiled so benignly that he drew near and sat down upon the floor. As the meal was ending, the Master looked over his fellow guests and then, after glancing significantly at the man with dropsy, said: ‘My friends, teachers in Israel and learned lawyers, I would like to ask you a question: Is it lawful to heal the sick and afflicted on the Sabbath day, or not?’ But those who were there present knew Jesus too well; they held their peace; they answered not his question.
“Then went Jesus over to where the sick man sat and, taking him by the hand, said: ‘Arise and go your way. You have not asked to be healed, but I know the desire of your heart and the faith of your soul.’ Before the man left the room, Jesus returned to his seat and, addressing those at the table, said: ‘Such works my Father does, not to tempt you into the kingdom, but to reveal himself to those who are already in the kingdom. You can perceive that it would be like the Father to do just such things because which one of you, having a favorite animal that fell in the well on the Sabbath day, would not go right out and draw him up?’ And since no one would answer him, and inasmuch as his host evidently approved of what was going on, Jesus stood up and spoke to all present: ‘My brethren, when you are bidden to a marriage feast, sit not down in the chief seat, lest, perchance, a more honored man than you has been invited, and the host will have to come to you and request that you give your place to this other and honored guest. In this event, with shame you will be required to take a lower place at the table. When you are bidden to a feast, it would be the part of wisdom, on arriving at the festive table, to seek for the lowest place and take your seat therein, so that, when the host looks over the guests, he may say to you: “My friend, why sit in the seat of the least? come up higher”; and thus will such a one have glory in the presence of his fellow guests. Forget not, every one who exalts himself shall be humbled, while he who truly humbles himself shall be exalted. Therefore, when you entertain at dinner or give a supper, invite not always your friends, your brethren, your kinsmen, or your rich neighbors that they in return may bid you to their feasts, and thus will you be recompensed. When you give a banquet, sometimes bid the poor, the maimed, and the blind. In this way you shall be blessed in your heart, for you well know that the lame and the halt cannot repay you for your loving ministry.’”
- Jesus wanted to show that he was just as much interested in this unfortunate man as he was in his wealthy host and his influential fellow guests.
- He wanted to relieve human suffering.
- Jesus also wanted to liberalize Sabbath-keeping. Having a social breakfast on the Sabbath was something of a departure from traditional Sabbath-keeping, but Jesus wanted to go further.
- He used this occasion to impart valuable instructions about vanity, self-seeking, and honor-craving.
A. TIME: A.D. 30
B. PLACE: The Philadelphia synagogue
C. OCCASION: At the end of his Sabbath sermon, stepping down from the pulpit, he accosted this woman and told her she could be delivered from her fears and depression.
E. THE MIRACLE: “Abner had arranged for the Master to teach in the synagogue on this Sabbath day, the first time Jesus had appeared in a synagogue since they had all been closed to his teachings by order of the Sanhedrin. At the conclusion of the service Jesus looked down before him upon an elderly woman who wore a downcast expression, and who was much bent in form. This woman had long been fear-ridden, and all joy had passed out of her life. As Jesus stepped down from the pulpit, he went over to her and, touching her bowed-over form on the shoulder, said: ‘Woman, if you would only believe, you could be wholly loosed from your spirit of infirmity.’ And this woman, who had been bowed down and bound up by the depressions of fear for more than eighteen years, believed the words of the Master and by faith straightened up immediately. When this woman saw that she had been made straight, she lifted up her voice and glorified God.
“Notwithstanding that this woman’s affliction was wholly mental, her bowedover form being the result of her depressed mind, the people thought that Jesus had healed a real physical disorder. Although the congregation of the synagogue at Philadelphia was friendly toward the teachings of Jesus, the chief ruler of the synagogue was an unfriendly Pharisee. And as he shared the opinion of the congregation that Jesus had healed a physical disorder, and being indignant because Jesus had presumed to do such a thing on the Sabbath, he stood up before the congregation and said: ‘Are there not six days in which men should do all their work? In these working days come, therefore, and he healed, but not on the Sabbath day.’
“When the unfriendly ruler had thus spoken, Jesus returned to the speaker’s platform and said: ‘Why play the part of hypocrites? Does not every one of you, on the Sabbath, loose his ox from the stall and lead him forth for watering? If such a service is permissible on the Sabbath day, should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham who has been bound down by evil these eighteen years, be loosed from this bondage and led forth to partake of the waters of liberty and life, even on this Sabbath day?’ And as the woman continued to glorify God, his critic was put to shame, and the congregation rejoiced with her that she had been healed.
“As a result of his public criticism of Jesus on this Sabbath the chief ruler of the synagogue was deposed, and a follower of Jesus was put in his place.
“Jesus frequently delivered such victims of fear from their spirit of infirmity, from their depression of mind, and from their bondage of fear. But the people thought that all such afflictions were either physical disorders or possession of evil spirits.”
- The sight of misery and unhappiness always appealed to Jesus.
- He wanted to deliver this woman from the bondage of fear—the slavery of depression.
- He wanted to show that religion could help—even cure—thousands of the victims of functional nervous disorders.
- And, again, he wanted to register a protest against the burdensome nature of orthodox Jewish Sabbath-keeping.
- And he wanted to expose and protest against hypocrisy.
A. TIME: A.D. 30
B. PLACE: Bethany
C. OCCASION: Jesus receives word that Lazarus is very sick. He immediately conceives the plan of making one last and mighty attempt to save the Jewish rulers—he would let Lazarus die—and resurrect him from the dead.
E. THE MIRACLE: “When Martha met Jesus, she fell at his feet, exclaiming, ‘Master, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!’ Many fears were passing through Martha’s mind, but she gave expression to no doubt, nor did she venture to criticize or question the Master’s conduct as related to Lazarus’s death. When she had spoken, Jesus reached down and, lifting her upon her feet, said, ‘Only have faith, Martha, and your brother shall rise again.’ Then answered Martha: ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection of the last day; and even now I believe that whatever you shall ask of God, our Father will give you.’
“Then said Jesus, looking straight into the eyes of Martha: ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live. In truth, whosoever lives and believes in me shall never really die. Martha, do you believe this?’ And Martha answered the Master: ‘Yes, I have long believed that you are the Deliverer, the Son of the living God, even he who should come to this world.’
“After Jesus had spent a few moments in comforting Martha and Mary, apart from the mourners, he asked them, ‘Where have you laid him?’ Then Martha said, ‘Come and see.’ And as the Master followed on in silence with the two sorrowing sisters, he wept. When the friendly Jews who followed after them saw his tears, one of them said: ‘Behold how he loved him. Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind have kept this man from dying?’ By this time they were standing before the family tomb, a small natural cave, or declivity, in the ledge of rock which rose up some thirty feet at the far end of the garden plot.
“It is difficult to explain to human minds just why Jesus wept. While we have access to the registration of the combined human emotions and divine thoughts, as of record in the mind of the Personalized Adjuster, we are not altogether certain about the real cause of these emotional manifestations. We are inclined to believe that Jesus wept because of a number of thoughts and feelings which were going through his mind at this time, such as:
“1. He felt a genuine and sorrowful sympathy for Martha and Mary; he had a real and deep human affection for these sisters who had lost their brother.
“2. He was perturbed in his mind by the presence of the crowd of mourners, some sincere and some merely pretenders. He always resented these outward exhibitions of mourning. He knew the sisters loved their brother and had faith in the survival of believers. These conflicting emotions may possibly explain why he groaned as they came near the tomb.
“3. He truly hesitated about bringing Lazarus back to the mortal life. His sisters really needed him, but Jesus regretted having to summon his friend back to experience the bitter persecution which he well knew Lazarus would have to endure as a result of being the subject of the greatest of all demonstrations of the divine power of the Son of Man.
“The small group assembled before Lazarus’s tomb little realized the presence near at hand of a vast concourse of all orders of celestial beings assembled under the leadership of Gabriel and now in waiting, by direction of the Personalized Adjuster of Jesus, vibrating with expectancy and ready to execute the bidding of their beloved Sovereign.
“When Jesus spoke those words of command, ‘Take away the stone,’ the assembled celestial hosts made ready to enact the drama of the resurrection of Lazarus in the likeness of his mortal flesh. Such a form of resurrection involves difficulties of execution which far transcend the usual technique of the resurrection of mortal creatures in morontia form and requires far more celestial personalities and a far greater organization of universe facilities.
“When Martha and Mary heard this command of Jesus directing that the stone in front of the tomb be rolled away, they were filled with conflicting emotions. Mary hoped that Lazarus was to be raised from the dead, but Martha, while to some extent sharing her sister’s faith, was more exercised by the fear that Lazarus would not be presentable, in his appearance, to Jesus, the apostles, and their friends. Said Martha: ‘Must we roll away the stone? My brother has now been dead four days, so that by this time decay of the body has begun.’ Martha also said this because she was not certain as to why the Master had requested that the stone be removed; she thought maybe Jesus wanted only to take one last look at Lazarus. She was not settled and constant in her attitude. As they hesitated to roll away the stone, Jesus said: ‘Did I not tell you at the first that this sickness was not to the death? Have I not come to fulfill my promise? And after I came to you, did I not say that, if you would only believe, you should see the glory of God? Wherefore do you doubt? How long before you will believe and obey?’
“As this company of some forty-five mortals stood before the tomb, they could dimly see the form of Lazarus, wrapped in linen bandages, resting on the right lower niche of the burial cave. While these earth creatures stood there in almost breathless silence, a vast host of celestial beings had swung into their places preparatory to answering the signal for action when it should be given by Gabriel, their commander.
“Jesus lifted up his eyes and said: ‘Father, I am thankful that you heard and granted my request. I know that you always hear me, but because of those who stand here with me, I thus speak with you, that they may believe that you have sent me into the world, and that they may know that you are working with me in that which we are about to do.’ And when he had prayed, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’
“Though these human observers remained motionless, the vast celestial host was all astir in unified action in obedience to the Creator’s word. In just twelve seconds of earth time the hitherto lifeless form of Lazarus began to move and presently sat up on the edge of the stone shelf whereon it had rested. His body was bound about with grave cloths, and his face was covered with a napkin. And as he stood up before them—alive—Jesus said, ‘Loose him and let him go.’
“All, save the apostles, with Martha and Mary, fled to the house. They were pale with fright and overcome with astonishment. While some tarried, many hastened to their, homes.
“Lazarus greeted Jesus and the apostles and asked the meaning of the grave cloths and why he had awakened in the garden. Jesus and the apostles drew to one side while Martha told Lazarus of his death, burial, and resurrection. She had to explain to him that he had died on Sunday and was now brought back to life on Thursday, inasmuch as he had had no consciousness of time since falling asleep in death.
“As Lazarus came out of the tomb, the Personalized Adjuster of Jesus, now chief of his kind in this local universe, gave command to the former Adjuster of Lazarus, now in waiting, to resume abode in the mind and soul of the resurrected man.
“Then went Lazarus over to Jesus and, with his sisters, knelt at the Master’s feet to give thanks and offer praise to God. Jesus, taking Lazarus by the hand, lifted him up, saying: ‘My son, what has happened to you will also be experienced by all who believe this gospel except that they shall be resurrected in a more glorious form. You shall be a living witness of the truth which I spoke—I am the resurrection and the life. But let us all now go into the house and partake of nourishment for these physical bodies.’”
- This was the final and supreme undertaking—his last effort to win the Jewish rulers—on their own terms of the miraculous—the wonder of wonders—even the resurrection of the dead.
- It was a gesture of personal friendship. Jesus probably enjoyed this Bethany family—along with his own family and the Zebedees—more than any other on earth.
- He had been teaching the gift of eternal life—and now he would demonstrate that he was indeed the resurrection and the life.
- He would also help his apostles to believe more fully in the promise of his own resurrection.
- But even this mighty work did not win those who had so long rejected light and truth. They soon set about to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus.
- It is interesting to note that Lazarus later died the second time and of the same disease.
A. TIME: A.D. 30
B. PLACE: Jericho
C. OCCASION: Blind Bartimeus had resolved not to miss Jesus again so he took up his position outside the walls of Jericho—and waited.
E. THE MIRACLE: “Late on the afternoon of Thursday, March 30, Jesus and his apostles, at the head of a band of about two hundred followers, approached the walls of Jericho. As they came near the gate of the city, they encountered a throng of beggars, among them one Bartimeus, an elderly man who had been blind from his youth. This blind beggar had heard much about Jesus and knew all about his healing of the blind Josiah at Jerusalem. He had not known of Jesus’ last visit to Jericho until he had gone on to Bethany. Bartimeus had resolved that he would never again allow Jesus to visit Jericho without appealing to him for the restoration of his sight.
“News of Jesus’ approach had been heralded throughout Jericho, and hundreds of the inhabitants flocked forth to meet him. When this great crowd came back escorting the Master into the city, Bartimeus, hearing the heavy tramping of the multitude, knew that something unusual was happening, and so he asked those standing near him what was going on. And one of the beggars replied, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ When Bartimeus heard that Jesus was near, he lifted up his voice and began to cry aloud, ‘Jesus, Jesus, have mercy upon me!’ And as he continued to cry louder and louder, some of those near to Jesus went over and rebuked him, requesting him to hold his peace; but it was of no avail; he cried only the more and the louder.
“When Jesus heard the blind man crying out, he stood still. And when he saw him, he said to his friends, ‘Bring the man to me.’ And then they went over to Bartimeus, saying: ‘Be of good cheer; come with us, for the Master calls for you.’ When Bartimeus heard these words, he threw aside his cloak, springing forward toward the center of the road, while those near by guided him to Jesus. Addressing Bartimeus, Jesus said: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Then answered the blind man, ‘I would have my sight restored.’ And when Jesus heard this request and saw his faith, he said: ‘You shall receive your sight; go your way; your faith has made you whole.’ Immediately he received his sight, and he remained near Jesus, glorifying God, until the Master started on the next day for Jerusalem, and then he went before the multitude declaring to all how his sight had been restored in Jericho.”
- Another illustration of the reward of persistent faith—determination to achieve results.
- This, Jesus’ last miracle, was for the cure of a blind beggar. Truly, God is no respecter of persons.
CLASSIFICATION OF MIRACLES
|CLASS||NUMBER MIRACLE||PERFORMED NUMBER|
|2.||Functional Disorders||2||9, 23|
|3.||Comatose Patients||2||7, 15|
|5.||Demoniacal Possession||2||17, 19|
|6.||Unintended Miracles||2||1, 4|
|7.||Cases of Preknowledge||4||2, 3, 6, 7|
|8.||Spontaneous Miracles||2||12, 15|
|9.||Contents Coincidental Events||2||13, 14|
|11.||Resurrection of Dead||1||24|
Of these twenty-five so-called miraculous events, only thirteen were genuine miracles. One remains undetermined. 683 were healed at the sundown healing occasion.
* Three of the miracles fall into two possible classifications.