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St. John Records the 3rd Miracle

     In this 3rd miracle, (John 5:1-15) Jesus heals a paralytic man who had been an invalid for 38 years.  The problem was that Jesus, after having healed him on the Sabbath, told him to pick up his bed and walk.  The Jews were upset because the man was working (carrying his bed) on the Sabbath.
     Some take aways:
1.)  The Jews do not dispute the miracle.  In fact, because the invalid was walking with his bed on the Sabbath, that proves that the miracle occurred.
2.)  The man had been an invalid for 38 years.  So his testimony was true under Jewish law.
3.)  The man told the people that it had been Jesus who had healed him.
4.)   Despite 38 years of being an invalid, when Jesus healed him it was a complete healing.  His muscles would have atrophied, but when Jesus healed him after 38 years, he was completely healed.

Praise God that He sent His Son Christ Jesus to completely heal the invalid.

St. John Records the 2nd Miracle

     In the Fourth Gospel there are seven main miracles (not including the resurrection of Christ).  I say seven main ones because in the first chapter Jesus, when He saw Nathanael approaching He first says that "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."  So that is the  first miracle.  The second is that Jesus had seen him sitting underneath a fig tree.  That is a second miracle.  But these are "minor" miracles, not included in the 35. 
    We already discussed the first miracle, turning water into high quality wine.  Jesus performed the second miracle in Cana of Galilee, healing the royal official's son.  In this one, Jesus healed the boy because the father appealed to Jesus even though Jesus was not in Cana.  The result of the healing is that "he and all his household believed."  If the boy had not believed, there is no reason for the household to believe.  But this household knew that the boy was "close to death."  The purpose of the miracle was to convert from unbelief to belief.  As Jesus had said earlier, "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believed."  He healed the boy close to death, and then the family believed.

Christians and the Sword (III)

How do you handle these verses?  Luke 22:35-37:  "Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”  “Nothing,” they answered.  36He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
    Some commentators say it must not be taken literally.  Others says it means that we must be like a Boy Scout, always prepared including a short sword to defend yourself against the robbers or bandits (see story about the Good Samaritan). 
   Food for thought.  It is in the Bible and therefore we should study it.

Christians and the Sword (II)

     Having said that Christians should not use the sword to convert someone, does not mean that they cannot use the sword (or the rifle) to defend themselves against their persecutor.  Here the West often condemns those who defend their lives and their homes with the sword.  They say that they should sit back and turn the other cheek.
     The problem is that the sword may be necessary to defend oneself.  For example, when the Muslims burned down and looted 30 homes and 70 churches plus numerous Christian Schools in Niger, I would contend that you have the right to defend yourself.  There is a huge difference between forcing a conversion with a sword (like Charlemagne did with the Saxons) and defending your home.

Christians and the Sword

     There is much confusion on when it is permissible to use the sword (or in today's language, the rifle).  It is generally believed that is is not right to spread the Gospel with the sword although Jesus does say that we need to compel them to come in (Luke 14:16-24).  After the master of the banquet brought in the poor, maimed, the blind, and there was still room at the banquet, the master tells his servants to go out into the highways and byways and to "compel them to come in." 
     But most Christians today believe that we should not force converts by the sword.  Because if we convert someone by the sword, are they really converted?  

Proof of Divinity - 35 Miracles (cont)

   Those of us who have grown up in the church often fail to realize the number of miracles that Jesus did.  Think about this.  If Jesus performed 35 miracles, that would be one a month for the three years that He did His ministry.  No wonder His townspeople were surprised.  For 30 years no miracles are performed, and then suddenly Jesus performed 35 miracles - one a month for three years.
     But if Jesus Christ was divine, would you not expect God to perform miracles?  The number of miracles confused the people then because they had not seen such an out pouring of God's power.  The miracles confuse today because the scientific mind denies that there is God because God is above nature, and therefore science cannot test it.

"The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven"

   Over one million gullible people have bought The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, purportedly a story of a six-year old boy who went to heaven while he was in a coma.  Now he says that he made it up to get attention.  (How much it was he at six and how how much it was his father has not yet been determined.)
     He writes "I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. . . . When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth.  Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”
      But before we throw out the baby with the bathwater, you need to make sure that if you die you will go to heaven.  Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior?  When you die, you will not be able to tell us how it went, but please be sure.

Proof of Divinity - 35 Miracles

   Jesus Christ claimed to be God.  Since so many doubted Him and His claim, He performed miracles to prove that the was God.  How many miracles did Jesus perform when He was here on earth?  Thirty five miracles are recorded and that does not count such statements as "Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons" (Mark 1:34).  John also wrote "Jesus did many other miraculous signs which are not recorded in this book" (John 20:30). 
     If someone claimed to be God, then performing miracles is proof positive that He is God.  Since Jesus Christ is super (above) natural, miracles should not be a surprise.  But many Jews who saw the miracles, questioned not that Jesus had performed the miracles, but they questioned the source of the power.  Today, many, who were not there, question if they happened, ignoring the clear evidence of eye-witness accounts.

Proof of Miracles - Water into Wine

     The first miracle that Jesus performed was changing the water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana.  After Jesus had changed 120 to 180 gallons (500-750 liters), the following people saw it:  the servants, the master of the banquet, the bridegroom, the bride and all the wedding guests.  For that much wine there must have been many guests who stayed there a long time.  The master of the ceremonies tasted the wine.  He just did not look at, but he taste tested it.  And he complimented the bride groom for such great wine.  (John 2:1-11)
      It is hard to fool so many people who have drunk wine for years.  This was no trickery but a real miracle.

God, Science, and Miracles

    If we truly believe in God, a God Who made the heavens and the earth in six days, a God who is infinite, i.e., Who had no beginning and Who will have no end, a God Who knows all things and can do anything He desires, than for such a God to perform a miracle, a supernatural sign, is easy. 
     But many do not believe that miracles happened in Biblical times because they approach the miracles from a "scientific" viewpoint.  A true scientist should examine the evidence and from the evidence draw his conclusions.  This often does not happen when scientist examine the Bible.  They start with their preconceived notions, there is no God, and then try to explain away the supernatural since the supernatural can not be tested.

Boko Haram's Massacre in Baga, Nigeria

       While the world roundly condemns the killers of Charlie Hebdo, let us not forget the killing going on by the Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, in Baga, Nigeria.  In the last several days, the Boko Haram has massacred over 2,000 civilians and then they have torched the town.  Reports are that the victims are primarily the children, women and elderly people.  Those who were not able to run as quickly. have been massacred.  Over 1 1/2 million people have fled. 

Lord God, we pray for peace in Nigeria.

Are Miracles for Real? Part II

    In John 9 we read about a man born blind from birth.  On a holy day (the Sabbath when you were not allowed to work), Jesus had mixed up some mud and put the mud on the man's eyes.  Then he went to the pool of Siloam and had washed.  Some Pharisees were upset that Jesus had worked because He had mixed up mud on the Sabbath.  Once again, they did not dispute that the man had been healed.  The question was if Jesus had worked on the Sabbath.  Some Pharisees said that Jesus must be God.  The believing ones stated "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?"  (John 9:16)  They did not deny that Jesus had performed miracles.  Note that miracles was plural, not singular so there must have been other miracles.  They questioned the timing. 

Lord, help us to believe.

Are Miracles for Real? Part I

      Are miracles for real? 
      Having grown up in the Christian faith, I was taught that Jesus performed miracles.  The feeding of the 5,000 men and then the feeding of the 4,000 men.  The healing of the blind man.  The raising of Lazarus after he had died.  The healing of the paralytic man.  They have been taught on so often, that they have lost some of the wonderment. 
      But rereading the miracles again, there is one point that I now see that I never saw before.  No Jew ever denied that Christ did the miracles.  They disputed what the miracles meant, but they never disputed that Jesus performed the miracle.  After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, "the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well."  (John 12:10).  This is a pretty convincing proof that Jesus had raised Lazarus!  Get rid of the evidence.

Lord, help our lack of wonderment because we don't always truly understand how great You are.

Who performed miracles?

     It is fascinating to study other religions, because the more you study them, the more convinced  you will become that Christianity is the only way.  There is no claim by Buddha that he performed any miracles.  Mohammed never claimed to have performed miracles.  Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikhs, never claimed that he performed miracles.  Neither Marx nor Engels claimed that they performed miracles.  Mao never claimed to have performed miracles.  Abraham never claimed to have performed a miracle.  Only Jesus Christ claimed to have performed miracles.  Why?  One of Jesus' disciples, John who was the closest to Jesus wrote, "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you have believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  (John 20:30-31)

Thank you Jesus for performing so many miracles that we might believe.

Purpose of Miracles

    What was the purpose of miracles that Jesus did?  In Anne Rice's book Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt, Anne Rice has Jesus doing miracles prior to changing water into wine at the wedding of Cana.  She has Jesus, at seven years old, making clay doves and then they become life, raising a young boy to life in Egypt, and stopping the rain so Jesus's family can get to Nazareth without them becoming wet.
     In John 2:11 we read "This [changing of water into wine], the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee.  He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him."  So the purpose was not just to do miracles, but that the disciples would believe.  In Anne Rice's view, the miracles are interesting, but in never was their belief in Jesus because of the miracles.

Lord, by  Your miracles, You have given ample proofs of Your divinity.  May we believe.