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Did Jesus Do Miracles?

November 29th, 2010

Did the miracles happen?

  • Jesus is well-known for his miracles  or the “mighty works” – not just as a good teacher.
  • We have to come to terms with the miracles. As Western, 21st century people, we try to ignore them – we find ways to escape them or suggest a sense of exaggeration. Like they are legends with inflated stories – well-meaning people wanting to make Jesus look great.
  • People try to pass off the stories as Chinese whispers – legends passed on and added to over time, like Robin Hood. But this won’t do to explain it away – we’ve looked already in previous sessions at how the gospels are well-documented, trustworthy historical documents, which kept to the original facts. Luke is one of the finest historical documents we have.
  • John the Baptist – incredibly well-known and respected in that day – and yet the historical books show not one trace of a miracle. This discounts the idea that popular teachers got inflated with miraculous stories.
  • Jesus’ enemies accused him of doing miracles by the power of the devil – they were trying to explain them away because they were actually happening. They didn’t deny that Jesus was really doing miracles.
  • If these stories were fabricated, the disciples would have come off better in the accounts – but they are not very favourable towards them. They often got it wrong – awkward and embarrassing stories. It’s easy to trust these accounts.
  • Someone (unknown to us, not one of the 12 disciples) was trying to do miracles in the name of Jesus – shows that all across the region Jesus was associated with spiritual powers.
  • It’s bad history to suggest these things were made up. Why then would people believe it was made up? Anti-supernaturalism – ruling out supernatural things – saying they don’t happen at all, like fairy tales. So we fit the evidence around that. But is this reasonable?
  • You can’t scientifically prove these miracles Jesus did – they’re part of ancient history. But does it mean they’re not true? The problem is that not everything can be proven using scientific methods, for example – the very notion that something isn’t true if it isn’t proved scientifically – this statement can’t be proven scientifically! It’s another leap of faith, an assumption.
  • There is an awareness that there is power, a miraculous power. We can take the miracles as history.

Why did Jesus do the miracles he did?

  • Motivated out of tremendous compassion.
  • Feeding 5,000 people from one person’s lunch – wanting to feed them and look after them.
  • So many examples of the mercy and pity and compassion of Jesus – he was always showing it.
  • Look at the way Jesus treated outcasts and those rejected by society, e.g. healing lepers, physically healing a socially outcast woman – those who people couldn’t go near because they were “unclean”.
  • We don’t fully understand how set apart from us God is – how we can’t just waltz on up to him. Bodily diseases like leprosy are symbolic of how unclean we are and how untouchable God is. And yet Jesus showed himself as willing and wanting to help.
  • Example of woman whose back was bent over for 18 years – a terrible infirmity, which would have also been humiliating. The religious leaders cared more about looking after animals on the Sabbath than people, like this woman – saying she shouldn’t be healed. Jesus sees that this is not right – it’s so wrong, not how his Father intended things
  • The man who asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life – Jesus looked on him with love. The same with us – we don’t fully know how much he looks on us with kindness, love, mercy and compassion – he is full of it!
  • Jesus also did miracles for other reasons:

1.     To teach as a parable, e.g. the fig tree that Jesus curses – seems harsh, but he’s really trying to show something symbolically – that God’s people, the people of Israel, are unfruitful and God will judge them.

2.     To show that we can do miracles with faith in him.

3.     To show his authority – his power to forgive sin.

4.     To show the glory of God, to show how glorious he is. We were designed by God to know the glory of God, to be satisfied by his glory. Any other glory we pursue will ultimately disappoint us.

5.     As signs of his kingdom. The world is under darkness and under the power of the evil one, the devil, who is real (not some mythical cartoon-figure), who hates God and hates people. We can see there is evil in the world – and that’s why Jesus came – to destroy the works of the devil and bring in a new, right kingdom – of peace, goodness and wholeness. Jesus won the greatest victory – one day he will completely eradicate sin and sickness and death, bringing in the fullness of his kingdom. We get a taste of it on earth with miracles that happen now. We are all invited into this eternal kingdom, and get to witness signs of it.

Romans 14:1-17

September 7th, 2010

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Paul was concerned about the church in Rome and that there was a split over certain issues. The church in Rome was a very key and important one in that day, and it was crucial that they got it right. In working out their Christianity, there became a divide between Jews and Gentiles on matters of  food, drink, holy days, etc.  However, there should be harmony in the church – God wants unity and oneness in Christ.

They were trying to reduce Christianity to rules and regulations. Colossians 2, however, says self-made religion and rules is of no value in becoming Christlike. We need to seek the things of Christ and set our minds on things above. For the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking and rules, but of love and peace and God’s power.

Paul defines the Kingdom of God:

1. Righteousness
• All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s righteousness, but in the gospel He gives us the gift of His righteousness.
• It is completely free – not our own but a gift from God.
• On the cross there was the great substitution – our sin was exchanged for Christ’s righteousness.
• Romans 4:5 – ‘the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness’. A righteousness not from the law.
• Religion and our own “righteousness” is like dung to God.
• We fall from grace when when we follow laws to try and be righteous, or try to add to Jesus’ righteousness. We have been perfected for all time!

2. Peace
• We have an untroubled conscience as we now have peace with God through Jesus. We are accepted forever.
• No condemnation! Satan cannot accuse us of anything because we have been cleansed of all our sin.
• We also have peace to deal with the troubles and issues of life.
• Peace to live well and to die well – there is no longer fear of death.
• It surpasses all understanding.

3. Joy in the Holy Spirit
• The church is often seen as a killjoy, but the New Testament church began with an explosion of joy!
• As Christians, we have more than enough reason to rejoice! We have conquered death through Jesus and will live forever!
• It is of the Spirit – not a joy associated with our circumstances but from God – otherworldly.
• Be happy in Jesus! It prevents against misery, complaining, grumbling, etc.
• It is better than being drunk, enabling you to a carefree life.
• We should have to use the gospel to explain why we are so happy!
• God is exceedingly happy beyond imagination – He laughs and sings and dances with joy!

All the 3 aspects are in/of the Holy Spirit – the New Covenant is under the Spirit. We live a life full of God, not by rules. Christians are those who live a supernatural life from meeting with a supernatural God.

A promise from the Bible – you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh if you walk by the Spirit, filled with God. It is a command to the whole church to be filled with the Spirit – not just a personal thing.

Don’t reduce the gospel to a list of silly rules! Live in the power of God.