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Man of Integrity

  We break this series on Jesus as the Son of God to bring you an important announcement.
   On Saturday I got a robocall from Jerry Falwell Jr asking me to vote for a certain candidate because he was a "man of integrity."  The man that Jerry Falwell asked me to vote for was married, had a public affair with a Georgia beauty queen, divorces first wife, marries Georgia beauty queen, divorces her, marries third wife. 
    "If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller."
     Is this a man of integrity?  NO.
     Integrity includes being faithful to your wife - day in, day out.  Never cheating on her.
     Jesus had integrity.  He never went back on His promises.  He is always faithful, even when we mess up (code word for sin).

Jesus: I am the Son of God - 15

Many miracles - 2

     In John 12:37-50 we see again the Jewish unbelief.  "Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him. . . Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent me. . . .when he looks at Me, he sees the One who sent Me. . . . For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it . . . so Whatever I say is just what the Father had told Me to say."
    Jesus is constantly linking Himself to His Father.  Jesus speaks with authority because He is speaking the will of His Father.

     Lord, we thank Thee that Thou has sent Thy Son.

Jesus Christ's Apostles Performed Miracles - IV

Is it true?

    As an historian, I want to weigh the evidence.  Did this really happen?  If it did happen, then the people would be turning from the established Jewish religion to Christianity.  Luke writes that many believed - they were miraculous signs - to show the people that Jesus is the only way.
    But Luke continues "The high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.  they arrested the apostles and put them in prison."  If the miracles were not occurring the Sadducees would not be filled with jealousy.  They would not have arrested the apostles.  But the miracles had to occur.  Their reaction is proof that the miraculous signs did occur.

Jesus Christ's Apostles Performed Miracles - III

All healed

     Luke continues with this story:  "As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on them as he passed by.  Crowds gather also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed."  (Acts 5:15-16)
     What struck me is the power of God - a shadow was enough to heal them.  The people believed and therefore they brought the physically sick and the spiritually sick - those tormented by demons  - and "ALL WERE HEALED." 

    Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

Jesus Christ's Apostles Performed Miracles - II

Purpose of Miraculous Signs

   After Peter and John healed the lame man, the book of Acts records that "the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people . .  No one else dared to join them, even though they were highly regarded among the people.  Nevertheless, more and more men and women believe in the Lord and were added to their number."  (Acts 5:12-14)
    Two things to note here.  First, the number of miraculous signs that were performed.  It was not just Peter and John but the apostles.  All twelve apostles were performing many miraculous signs.  Secondly, note the purpose:  they believed.  Why?  Even though there was a lot of peer pressure not to believe, they did believe in the signs - and therefore, they believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

    God, may we believe without miraculous signs.  Amen.

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar IV

     By what authority did Peter heal the lame man?  He does NOT claim that it was with his power.  Rather, he states specifically that it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  He is (note the present tense - not He was, but He is because Peter served a resurrected Jesus) - the Son of God.  He says later on "Judge for yourselves whether is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.  For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."  (Acts 4:19-20)
     Their power came from Jesus the Son of God.

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar III

Acts of Kindness

     Peter's response is "If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed."  This is very similar to Jesus's response in John 10:32:  "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?" 
     Instead of celebrating the healing of the sick, instead of celebrating people being freed from demonic spirits, instead of having joy, the Jewish response is to try to stone Jesus and to question and threaten Peter and John.
       Once again, they could not deny that the miracle happened.  Luke writes "But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say."  (Acts 4:14)

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar II

The Jews - Part 8

    In the last blog, Peter healed a lame man from birth.  As an historian, I want to examine the evidence from both sides.  What did the Jewish leadership, who did not believe in Jesus think? 
    "The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.  Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and other men of the high priest's family."  (Acts 4:5-6)  Thus, all the Jewish hierarchy was there.  Both high priests (there should have only been one), Four of the high priestly family are named.  The rulers are there.  Their question is:  "By what power or what name did you do this?"  They did not deny that the miracle was done.  It had been witnessed by too many people.  The lame man was still available.  People had recognized him.  Their question is by whose authority.  This proves that the miracle had indeed happened.

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar I

Lame Man from Birth Walks and Jumps

   Peter and John went to the temple to pray, and on their way, the met a lame beggar.  Peter healed him.  Let me rephrase that.  Peter, with the power of the Holy Spirit, healed the lame man.  Note that this is another confirmed miracle:  "When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.  While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade." (Acts 3:9-11)
   Note the following:
1.  The miraculous healing occurred.  This man had never walked as he had been lame from birth, and now he, who had never walked was now walking and jumping.  It really was a miracle - "they were filled with amazement and wonder."  There was no accusation of fraud or trickery.  The recognized the man had been lame from birth was now walking and jumping.  No practice - but instantaneous and complete healing.
2.  The miracle was witnessed by "all the people."  No one denied that it happened. 

The Purpose of Miracles

Miraculous Signs

    Why the emphasis on miracles?  Miracles are not just good things that happen, but they are, as the New International Version correctly translates it, miraculous signs.  They point the way.  They are a sign that confirmed the divinity of Jesus.  Mohammad never claimed to be God's Son.  Mohammad never claimed to have performed a single miracle.  Jesus Christ proclaimed to be the Son of God and He performed hundreds of miracles to prove that He was God's Son.  Then, He gave that same power to His apostles so they could prove that Jesus was God.  The apostle closest to Jesus, St. John, 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 may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name."

Jesus Christ's Apostle Walks on Water

  In Matthew 14:25-32 we read of Jesus walking several miles on the water.  And then He invited Peter to walk on the water.  We have a tendency to see Peter's little faith and beginning to sink.  But I would like to concentrate on Peter walking on the water.  Peter walked on water.  I have never walked on water in a storm, or on a flat, calm lake.  That is faith to walk on water.  That is a miracle.

Jesus Christ's Disciples Performed Miracles - II

   Not only did Jesus the Son of God empower the 12 apostles to perform miracles, but He also enabled 72 (or 70) disciples to perform miracles.  In Luke 10:9 we read:  "Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' "  Notice that Jesus is proving His divinity.  They can heal because He is sending them and He is claiming that the kingdom of God is near. 
     Once again we see the power of Jesus the Son of God:  "The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.' " (Luke 10:17)
     Yet the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign from heaven.  (Mark 8:11) 
     Thank you Jesus for proving Your divinity with all these miraculous signs that showed the way.

Jesus Christ's Apostles Performed Miracles - I

    Not only did Jesus perform 48 miracles, but He empowered His 12 apostles to perform miracles as well.  “Jesus gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to cure every kind of disease and sickness” (Matthew 10:1; Mark 3:15 & 6:17 states that Jesus gave them power to drive out demons; Luke 9:1 has evil spirits and healing.)  The proof is in the pudding.  Did they drive out demons and heal the sick?  Yes!  In Mark 6:13 we read “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” And the same is said in Luke 9:6 which states that they “went from village to village, preaching the Gospel and healing people everywhere.”
    Jesus, as the Son of God, not only performed miracles, but He enabled His disciples to perform miracles.

Jesus Christ Performed Many Miracles - Part IV

   The first three blogs were about Jesus performing specific miracles.  But the Gospel writers do not say that they recorded every action of Jesus or all His words.  He spoke and taught His disciples for three years and we have one long sermon - the Sermon on the Mount - three chapters in Matthew.  But He spoke a lot more.  The Gospel writers talk about the mass of people who were healed, or what I call general miracles:
1.  “Jesus went through Galilee . . . healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, the epileptics and the paralytics, and He healed them. (Matthew 4:23-24)
2.  Jesus drove out the evil spirits (Matthew 8:16 and Mark 1:34) (after Peter’s mother-in-law was healed)
3.  Jesus healed all the sick (Matthew 8:16) (after Peter’s mother-in-law was healed), Mark states this: “The people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed . . . and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons.” (Mark 1:32-34); Luke 4:40 “People brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on each one, He healed them.”
4.  “Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4)
5.  "Where did this man get . . . these miraculous powers?”  (Matthew 13:54)
6.  “They begged him to let them touch even the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.” (Matthew 14:36 & Mark 6:56)
7.  “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the dumb and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.  The people were amazed when they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing and they praised the God of Israel.” (Matthew 15:30-31)
8.  Jesus drove out demons in Galilee.  (Mark 1:39)
9.  “For He had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.” (Mark 3:10)
10. “Jesus did many other miraculous signs which are not recorded in this book.  (John 20:30) John records seven miracles.
   Jesus performed 48 specific miracles and then these 10 additional miracles.  Basically he performed two miracles a month for every month of His ministry here on earth.

    Jesus proved He was God's Son by His miracles.