Some last moment slip ups find us on a different topic than planned. Not that anybody would notice, other than I just said so. We fall back on our ongoing Bible Survey. The actual next installment was #14, The Word Became Flesh. However, we already covered this in 97 An Unrecognized Christmas Gift, a solo episode where Nathan shared a sermon.
Before we move on to installment 15, we start with our usual segment…
Meet the Hosts
There’s not much new happening around Church House studios. Chris is in the building, but doesn’t join us due to getting ready for a followup doctor appointment. Just routine stuff. Dealing with dead computers means shuffling how things get done behind the scene in our recording process. Nothing major, and again, something the listener might never know if it wasn’t shared. It just means extra editing to get the show ready.
Nathan has been busy with his various audio productions. Casting calls are getting results, and some work is being done in turning scripts into audio. Stand by for developments as we draw closer to a launch date for our project, Dangerous Christian. Support us by being part of the launch, telling people about it, sharing on social media, and supporting it through Nathan’s Patreon page.
Main Topic: Bible Survey 15 Miracles and Signs of Jesus.
The gospels are full of them, but as a sample, the survey lands on two important situations. A paralyzed man who was healed when his sins were forgiven, and a woman who was healed on the Sabbath. Why are those things significant? Let’s have a look.
Matthew 9:1-8 (ESV)
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?
5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—”Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
7 And he rose and went home.
8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
First, the paralyzed man was brought to Jesus, probably by some of his friends. Jesus saw their faith in him. He encouraged them. Sin was often attributed to disabilities in ancient times, and Jesus made the simple statement that his sins were forgiven.
Scribes who were present claimed that it was blasphemy to forgive sin. They were correct. Forgiving sin is something only God can do. For a mere man to make such a claim is indeed a blasphemy. God never interacts with humans, unless a prophet comes to pave the way, and signs are involved. The scribes are about to get their proof.
Whether the scribes actually muttered words out loud or not, Jesus knew what evil attitudes were in their hearts. He made it plain where the power of his claim came from. He didn’t just give lip service by making an empty claim. He asked them what kind of evidence it would take to prove his authority. Is it easier to
Talk the talk, or to have the man be healed on the spot?
Without waiting for an answer, Jesus told the man to get up, walk, and go home. The man did it.
Did the scribes believe? It doesn’t say, but they had the evidence they required to believe. What kind of evidence do you need? How much evidence will it take to meet your own requirements?
We take a short break, and share a glimpse of our upcoming audio drama, Dangerous Christian.
Next, we look at Luke 13:10-17 (ESV).
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.
12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”
15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?
16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
The setting. Jesus was in the temple. A woman was in the temple. Neither were there especially to be healed, but Jesus saw her, and healed her.
- He told her she was healed.
- He layed hands on her, and her bent back straightened.
- She praised and glorified God.
Simple, right? A beautiful act of releasing a woman from her long years of suffering.
What’s the problem then? The head religious leader got himself bent out of shape because the healing was seen as work. The Sabbath was to be a day where no work was to be done. The day had become more holy to him than the act of doing good. Through Jesus, god worked a blessing of relief to this woman.
Jesus is always the most critical to those who claim to be his people. The Sabbath is an important day, a sacred day, but one that God makes certain allowances for. If the priest had thought before he spoke, he would realize that the Sabbath was not a day of rest for those serving in the temple. Care for animals was a necessity, which Jesus pointed out.
If work, or perceived work is to be done, at least make it work that blesses. Animals are blessed when they get fed, or untied, or otherwise tended to. Why is it any less a blessing if a person is healed, and released from their burden?
Bottom line. As believers, we get bogged down in the exercise of practicing religion, we can miss what God intends for us. Our meetings, or programs, or systems take priority, and can’t be interrupted, even at the chance that God wants to extend a blessing from a direction we hadn’t been looking.
Whether being an unbeliever, as with the scribe, or a priest whose intent was to defend the faith, but nearly missed out, we know that Jesus has authority to perform such signs and miracles. He has the authority, because he is the physical presence of God to interact with humans. There are two proofs to know that Jesus is who he claimed to be, believe his teaching. If you can’t believe the words he said about himself, then believe the signs he did.
Whether you’re the skeptical, naturalistic person who doesn’t believe in miracles and anything resembling the supernatural, or you’re the kind who is willing to take the reports in the gospel at face value, there is plenty of evidence to believe. The real question then is, how much evidence do you need? Life is full of unanswered questions, and times where we need to fill in the blanks on our own to make a decision. We make decisions every day, based on fragments of information. If we do this for the mundane things in life, why not make a decision about eternal matters?
To wrap up, we share a few closing thoughts of the week.