Study of the Kingdom – Miracles

Preach the Kingdom and Do Miracles

Jesus’ Kingdom is one of miracles!  Jesus did miracles, He sent His disciples out and they did miracles and people who came from their ministry did miracles.  Ananias who laid hands on Saul was a second-generation Christian, so that makes Saul/Paul a third-generation Christian and he did miracles.  It never really stopped, and the Azusa Street Revival was just one of several revivals that were used to reawaken the concept that God is a miracle-working God!

Matthew 4:23 says Jesus preached the “good news” and healed diseases and sickness.  Matthew 9: 35 restates that thought in almost the exact words and then Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach, heal diseases and sickness, and cast out evil spirits.  In between those two statements was a practical lesson from the Master Healer and Master Teacher.

  1. The Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes – preached the kingdom
  2. Healing a leper as a witness to the priest.  Mark 1: 40 tells the same story, only the man was disobedient. (The devil is a liar.)
  3. Heals the centurion’s (a Gentile) servant
  4. Calms a storm
  5. Heals the Man of the Gadarenes
  6. Heals the paralytic that dropped in through the roof
  7. Heals a sick woman and a dead girl
  8. Heals the blind and the mute

Preach the Good News of the Kingdom and Heal!  Hopefully, the point was made! 

Logos and the Rhema

The Logos (Jesus) spoke the rhema of the Kingdom and the crowds were amazed because of the authority of the teachings (Matthew 7:29).  The Logos also spoke the rhema of God and healed every illness and calmed storms.  As believers we needed the logos to preach and the rhema from Holy Spirit to heal!

Who Did You Ask and Who Gets the Glory?

Emotionalism!  Seeking some parts of the Holy Spirit’s ministry and rejecting others!  The Spirit accepts you, do you accept Him?  Knowledge and understanding of the moving and power of the Spirit are necessary, but head-knowledge does not replace the relationship.  

If you are asking the Father for the Holy Spirit why should you expect something harmful or hurtful?  Is Matthew 7:11 wrong?  The Father knows how to give good gifts, He gave us the Holy Spirit!  

Holy Spirit’s mission is to give glory to Jesus.  He will use willing people to channel His power to humanity and the glory goes to the Father and the Son!  Willingness leads to relationships!  “With your whole heart seek God and He will reward you.”  (Hebrews 11: 6) The Spirit will use you and do great things if you are willing.  How great? How willing!  Oh, you do not get to define great, the Spirit of God does that and it is on a person to person basis.  I can attest, unfortunately, it is very easy to replace a Holy Spirit relationship with works, rules, and many other things.  And then wonder why you are empty (the wrong way), shallow, and unproductive.

Peter and John worked at building a relationship with and knowing the Spirit.  At the Beautiful Gate when they healed the beggar they continually gave glory to God/Jesus for the healing.  (I wonder what happened to the beggar after their court appearance?).  Paul and Barnabas, in Acts 14 gave the glory to the Lord for the healing of the lame man.  Who gets the glory will tell you a lot about the miracle worker. 

Wait A Week

For Jesus, it was Sunday to Friday and they were hanging Him on the cross.

For the Church in Jerusalem, it was not long before favor went to headhunting.

Paul and Barnabas had a short time before the mob stoned Paul to death and Jesus healed him.

The devil hates it when Jesus gets praised!  The devil hates miracles because they undo his evil plans and works.  Unfortunately, it seems that the religious, who want the rules, are the ones who do the killing.  In the Welsh Revival, the leaders of the established church actually paid people to harm the revivalist and those who attended.

Miracles are an important part of the Church of Jesus Christ!  Just remember, the logos is spoken first and then comes the rhema with signs and wonders to confirm the miracle of Jesus on the cross.

See – Seven Miracles of Jesus +1, +1, +++++

http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/lame-beggar-healed/   

 

Study of the Kingdom – Juxtaposition of Tell/Don’t Tell

When you do an intense study you often notice things that prompt further study!  In my study of the kingdom this topic has resurfaced – tell what Jesus has done/don’t tell of His miracles.  In the study of the Second Block of teaching (Matthew 9:30 NIV) Jesus “warned sternly” the blind who had their sight restored to not talk about the healing.  He did this several times and in different circumstances to different people.  I have heard good explanations on some of these events and they made sense.  But when you start to do your own study those sermons get added too.  For me putting these events into the context of the Kingdom, has added to the topic of Jesus forbidding some to talk about His works and others to keep silent.  

In a loose count of the times Jesus told someone in the Gospels not to talk about Him or His miracles, I found eleven examples (there may be more).  Some of these are the same story in the Synoptic Gospels.  A good example of this at the Transfiguration when Jesus told the three disciples not to talk about this experience until after He rose from the dead.  Many of these warnings came after healings.  Mark 3: 11+12 shows Jesus frequently rebuking demons not to tell who He was!  I will examine these groups later.

In contrast to “don’t tell” is Jesus directing the Man of the Gadarenes to go tell his family – Mark 5:19, Luke 8:39.  We could also add the Great Commission in Matthew 28.  To compound these events is the fact that the news of Jesus’ healing spread by word of mouth throughout the country.  So, why the contrast and what was the problem? 

WHY

 It is great when Matthew tells you the prophecy in 12:17. He quotes Isaiah 42: 1-4 – He will not quarrel, cry out, break a bent reed, or put out a smoldering wick (my paraphrase).  Jesus’ humility and His mission to see the Father’s “kingdom come” is the center of the “don’t tell”.  Connected to this is John 6: 15, Jesus knew if these works were spread about they would “take Him by force and make Him king”.

My Explanation

The fact that people talked and spread the word about Jesus did not seem to be a problem!  The warnings that came with the Transfiguration and certain healings, I think, were more wrapped up in the thinking of His brothers in John 7 – if you want to be famous show more miracles.  Jesus had a mission, to bring in the Father’s kingdom!  This meant the righteousness that could only be ours through His death for us.  Jesus’ kingdom was going to be given to Him and He did not need the assistance of a human army, He had a Heaven one if He wanted one!

Jesus’ habit of silencing demons had two facets. 1. I will credit Jentezen Franklin with this statement, even though others may have said it before him.  Jesus did not need the praises of demons (false praise).  They will bow before Him soon enough, as will everyone else. It would seem their mocking praise was given to get Him off the path to the cross.  It echoes Satan’s attempt at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry after Jesus fasted forty days.  2. Get the people thinking about a military messiah and freedom from Rome.  John the Apostle wrote about Seven Signs Jesus did in his gospel.  They would have been enough for non-kingdom minded factions to try and make Him a military figurehead, while they started a war.

So, why would Jesus tell the Man of the Gadarenes to go tell his family?  Again, in my opinion, he was not Jewish (Matthew 10:5) and he was going to tell non-Jews about Jesus; they would not try to make Jesus an earthly king.  Jesus sent out the first gentile missionary!  

The Great Commission was after the Cross (and forty more days of Kingdom teaching) and Jesus was sending His disciples out to preach righteousness and show signs and wonders to prove the Holy Spirit was with them (be careful who is given the glory for the miracle). 

Thoughts 

  • In Mark 1:43 and Matthew 16:20 Jesus told lepers, who were healed, to show themselves to the priest in accordance with the Law.  This would have been a sign from heaven that they were always asking for.  Instead, they went and talked about the miracle.  We never see that their healing was lost, but you have to wonder if they were in the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost?!

When the Three on the Mount of Transfiguration was told not to talk about what they saw, they followed instructions (Luke 9:36).  That is why they were given the explanations to the parables and were sent out to preach Jesus and His work on the cross.

pic http://www.freebibleimages.org

Wonders, Miracles, and Sign

Charles Swindoll used this statement in his book The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart – If miracles happened every day they would be called REGULARS. I think it is fair to say that Abraham had miracles, signs, and wonders working in his life. Look at his narrative from Genesis 12 to 25 and realize that it covers 100 years of life you start to understand they were not “regulars.”

The other side of this topic is John 14: 12 where doing “greater miracles” is promised. The “greater” carries the idea of more not better. I have always thought that the person doing these “more” miracles are doing them for other people and not for themselves. In Acts, the Apostles did a lot of miracles “among the people.”

Acts 2:22 says Jesus was accredited by doing miracles, signs, and wonders and Paul says that these also marked his apostolic ministry. So miracles being done for God’s people are part of our heritage. Of all the times wonders and signs are mentioned in the New Testament most are in a positive light. Three times they refer to counterfeits or false prophets doing them: Mark 13:22, Matthew 24: 24, and 2 Thessalonians 2: 9. The Spirit of God will show you the difference and keep you from being deceived.  The key is who is being given the glory!

It does seem possible that you can see miracles, signs, and wonders done by God for His glory and still not understand. The children of Israel did this as they left Egypt and treated those signs and wonders lightly.

Other posts on the miraculous: The Seven Miracles in John, Miracles, and Storms, The Problem With the Miraculous.

The Problem with the Miraculous

The problem with the miraculous is people will only accept/believe for what their minds can grasp.  R. W. Schambach told a story of a man who gave the money he was saving for a new truck in a meeting one night.  Later that week he came back with a testimony of how he was working on his old truck when he noticed something he had missed for years.  It was a can that was stuck to the side of the engine and when he opened it there was a wad of 100 dollars bills in the can, more than enough to buy the truck he had been saving for.  On hearing this several people got up an ran out to check their cars.  They were sure that God would bless them in the exact same way.  They could only conceive a miracle for them because it had already happened to someone else that way.  Now testimonies are to build up your faith and your belief that God can and will do miraculous things but we get stuck on how God will do these things.  How many people are always willing to give God instructions on how their miracle is supposed to look and happen?  You wonder how many miracles have been missed because the person could not perceive that it could possibly happen that way.

While studying Jesus walking on the water the side story of Peter getting out of the boat is added in Matthew’s telling of the story.  I have heard many sermons on this over the years and most of the teachers have no problem with the fact that Jesus was actually walking on water.  But when it comes to Peter “seeing the wind” they will dismiss this as a natural occurrence of water blowing off the waves, etc. (NOTE to READER: This is a strange idea and I would not make it a doctrine but I will present this in the context of how far are you willing to believe God can do anything!)storm on Galilee

The reason this idea hit me was a preacher did just that the last time I heard a message on this topic.  He was building the faith of the people to be willing to see Jesus differently in our times of need.  But when it came to the wind that was impossible for Peter to have actually seen.  Duh! It is impossible to walk on liquid water but Jesus was doing that.  (People walk on water all the time and even drive trucks on it, it just happens to be frozen.)  Ok, since I am being weird let me throw out some other strange ideas: 1. Was Jesus wet from walking on the water?  2.  Did He walk up and down the waves or did they divide in front of Him?  Please do add these to “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”

To say that something different was happening is an understatement.  The disciples saw Jesus as a “ghost”, Peter actually walked on water, Peter saw wind, and the boat was transported to shore “immediately” (John 6:21).  If you were looking for a physical reason for Jesus to walk on water the only logical one would be He changed how the molecules were acting toward each other.  So why could that have not extended to what was making the waves.  Maybe Peter had a good reason for sinking, he truly saw something he never expected, air molecules whirling around him.  I will still agree he should have kept his eyes on Jesus but was he distracted by the miraculous.  To add to this strange possibility, why did they use the term “ghost?”  That word phantasma (Strong’s 5326) is only used twice in the Bible and that is in connection with this story.  Jesus may have actually looked different because once again had He done something beyond what our minds can grasp!

Taking this back to Jesus and the whole story of feeding 5000 men and walking on the water.  The people in Gennesaret (where they landed) knew if they just touched His garment they could be healed (it had been done before) and the crowd from the miraculous feeding that finally found Him teaching in Capernaum just wanted a free meal ticket.  The crowd even though they had seen 5000 people fed needed more proof that He was the Messiah because in their mind Moses had done the same miracle before (Jesus tried to correct their thinking in John).  Many people will not believe in Christianity because of the miraculous things that are done by God in the Bible.  Painfully some Christians can only believe that God did those things in the Bible and not in modern times and so they must condemn the “crazies” that hold to the fact that God does not change.  “After all science knows more now than they did back then.”  As Christians I believe we need to understand that our faith demands a belief in miracles – past, present, and future.

How about you, how far will you let God be God.  Who knows maybe you will see wind and still keep walking on water?

Both “Feeding the 5000” and “Walking on Water” are part of the Seven Miracles of Jesus in the Book of John.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee.jpg 

My Start to Out of Egypt

Moses_Pleading_with_Israel

I guess I am marking this as the beginning of writing Out of Egypt. I have been tagging things for a while “Out of Egypt” especially the Tribes of Israel study. My thought there was if you are getting out of Egypt, a look at how you got in may not hurt.

As I have been collecting thoughts on this I realized that there are a lot of movies and TV shows on Moses and the Exodus. To go with all of the shows there is no end of opinions and arguments about how it happened or could not have happened. Even TV shows that seems like they are documentaries supporting the Exodus always have at least one area where they can’t go with the Biblical account. This is still possibly one of the more supportive; The Exodus Decoded by Simcha Jacobovici but even this one tries to relegate some of the miracles to natural events. These websites take the show to task on various subjects.

1. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2006/09/debunking-the-exodus-decoded.aspx 2.  http://www.catholic.org/ae/tv/review.php?id=20866  I like what this site says,” In trying to find a “plausible scientific explanation” for Biblical events, the film misses a very important point: The Bible is a testament of faith, not a history or science book, written by authors who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were trying to discern and understand God’s hand in the drama of salvation.”

Lately the focus has shifted to Moses; one recently talks about him as a military leader. I did not get the name, but I hope to see it replayed again. Its focus was on Moses as leader and offered what he did as natural, and took the miraculous out of the Exodus story. It tried to paint the picture that Israel were not just slaves before the Exodus. These websites do deal with some of these possibilities: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0009_0_09361.html and http://www.northforest.org/BiblicalArchaeology/moses.html . It should be clear that if Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s house he would have had military training and the Camp Order is supposedly an Egyptian battle formation. My thoughts about Israel in Egypt were changed when I read about Ephraim’s sons being killed in a raid in 1 Chronicles 7:21; maybe they were not just quite shepherds.

One website that is Christian based and deals with the Red Sea crossing site is http://www.wyattmuseum.com/red-sea-crossing-02.htm but it definitely does not go along with many current avenues of thought.

I am going to agree with the Catholic website; I am not looking for a “plausible scientific explanation.” He is a miraculous God and we, as His children need to celebrate that fact. I feel we have made many of His miracles into “common kid stories” and not taught them as fact like they really are. I am glad when there is an explanation for how God has used His creation to bless His children, but God is still God and if He wants to do an extraordinary act outside of His laws of nature that is fine with me.

Moses picture: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Moses_Pleading_with_Israel_(crop).