Course: The Doctrine of Christ (Christology)
The Miracles of Christ
Lord, we praise and thank You for all those throughout history who wrote of Your praises and Your work, who glorified our Savior and brought praise to His name by encouraging Your people to praise in song as the Bible teaches. Teach us, Lord, to sing Your praises. You have told us and commanded us to sing unto You, and I pray that we will truly learn to praise You in song. You said, "Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord." As we come again to study the beauty and majesty of our Savior and His miraculous power, may we fall in love with Him again. We pray this in Jesus' wonderful name. Amen.
We are going to start in John 2. There is one statement in the Gospel of John that we want you to know, and that is found in John 21:25, which says, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."
Many people have said, "Well he is just using hyperbole. It probably wasn't really true." Yet, I wonder if he was underestimating it. Let me tell you what I mean by that. Remember in the Gospels that it says several times that there was a great multitude that came with diseases and infirmities and all kinds of things. It says that He healed every one of them. You see, if the story was written of every single person He healed, because we know that what is already recorded here and is just a sample. Imagine how many books we would have to have to tell the story and the details of everything that happened. John 21:25 is an interesting verse for sure.
We are going to look at seven things. It is hard to put all the miracles together. Now not all miracles are healing, but all healings are miracles. Does everybody get that? All healings are miracles that Jesus did. We could say, in general, that the kinds of healings people propose as being healings are not always miracles. Some might be a charlatan trying to seduce us or deceive us, but everything that Jesus did in the way of healing was a miracle. Yet not all His miracles were healings. There were other things that He did. If you are interested in healing, I have a little booklet called, Healing: What the Bible Says About It. In it, I took every example of healing and summarized it in a little booklet. At the end of the booklet it gives you a biblical doctrine of healing, expressing all that the Bible actually says about it. I think it is very helpful to read it, because, sometimes when I see people talking about healing they do not give me the facts. I do not want to get confused. In other words, they are already pretty set in their ways about what they think. If I asked you, "How many people are named in the Bible who actually healed somebody?" The answer is amazing. People think that there are just a score of them. Actually, there are only a few that performed healing, and it is important to understand what actually occurred.
Were there any people with the gift of healing who could not heal somebody? Yes. That was true also. Therefore it is very important to get an understanding of that, but we want to broaden our subject to the subject of miracles, which includes healing and a lot more. We tried to take all the miracles and put them into seven categories demonstrating the power of the Lord.
The signs, the miracles that Jesus did, were given to us, according to John 20:30-31, in order to prove that He is the Messiah and believing in that results in life through His name. Let me put it to you another way. The unpardonable sin is the sin of attributing the miracles that Jesus did to Satan rather than to God, and thus not believing that the miracles proved He was the Messiah. In one sense it would be difficult to commit the unpardonable sin, but the unpardonable sin will become unpardonable if you continue to reject Him as the Messiah and do not believe that the miracles prove it. If a person dies, having continued in their rejection, then obviously that state is unpardonable. Though this is not the unpardonable sin, because the unpardonable sin would have to be committed while watching Jesus do these miracles. It would be difficult to have that sin without that. But that is another subject for another time.
Under the miracles of Jesus, it would be easier to see how it relates to Christ being the Messiah by putting them in seven categories. First, He had power over creation. I am not simply talking about the fact of His involvement at Creation, which is stated in John 1:3—that "All things were made by Him. And without Him was not anything made that was made"—but I am also talking about how His power over creation was demonstrated while He was here on earth with miracles that He did. There is one prominent verse in John 2.
Here we learn about His power over creation. I would like you to follow along in your Bible as we read it. Since this is the beginning of miracles, you ought to know the answer if I ask you on a test, "What is the beginning of miracles that Jesus did?" Now when you are traveling in Israel there is a little town named Cana, but it is not the biblical town. When you are standing on the hills, especially at Sepphoris which is near Cana and Nazareth and you are looking off into the valley where Cana is, you can see a little tell. Ancient Cana is there, but it has never been excavated. There are a lot of hills like that all over Israel. They are tells, or mounds that need to be excavated. It just takes time—many, many years. Now this miracle happened at the little town of Cana of Galilee. To our knowledge, not much has happened in Cana. Looking at the tell, it was a very small town, but do not despise the day of small things. Some mighty things often happen in small towns. Here is one example:
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (John 2:1-4)
First of all, do not think that Jesus is attacking His mother here. It is a term of respect, but what He is saying is a Greek idiom for, "We are on different wave lengths right now." Jesus had something that He was going to do, and it was not simply to provide wine. The hour for Him to do what He was going to ultimately do in this world has not yet come—it was not time yet. As a matter of fact, this is going to be the first time that He is even going to do a miracle.
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. (John 1:5)
Let us give a word to Mary here and say, "Amen." Thank God for her example. The Bible says that when she saw things in the life of our Lord, she kept all these things in her heart. In fact, she treasured them. She thought about them a lot. She meditated on them. She is the one to whom the angels said, "That thing that is going to born of you is going to be caused by the power of the highest and He will be called the Son of God." Mary kept all these things, and rejoiced in God her savior. Here is an example, she quickly responds and says, "Whatever He says, do it." She was probably thinking, "He is going to do something. I know it. But what it is, that's up to Him."
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. (John 1:6)
There is a lot of disagreement here, but we think that is basically about 20 gallons in each waterpot. That is what you call a rather large waterpot, and they were designed for purification, cleansing and washing.
Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare [it]. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: [but] thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (John 2:7-11)
The disciples believed, even though we are told later that they did not really believe in Him until after the resurrection—at least they believed this was a miracle. This was indeed a miracle, and there was no doubt about it. The disciples knew it. It was the reason why they would continue to follow Him. It was the beginning of His miracles and it was indeed spectacular.
Now most people have a problem with this miracle. Here is what they say, "Oh Jesus turned water into wine. I can have a little snort once in a while." That is all they see in this miracle. Now let me help you with this miracle. First of all, the Greek word translated "wine" can refer to the juice that is immediately squeezed out of a grape when the grapes are dropped in the wine vat. It can refer to a week's grape juice, in which foam that does appear on the grapes that are fermenting naturally. It can appear at 30 days. It can be used of that which is 3 months or less. It can refer to the wine of Passover which is mixed with three parts water so it is completely diluted from its alcoholism. It can refer to 6 months. It can refer to 3 years which you always throw out. In other words, the Greek word gives you no help as to whether it is connected with current alcoholic processing.
The second thing that is interesting here is that the ruler of the feast identified the kind of wine that it was. He said it is "best" or "good wine." Now at a marriage supper or any feast or occasion, what you serve first is pure grape juice. It is called best wine. To be literal, when the workers bring in the grapes from the fields and drop them on an ancient winepress, the shear pressure of those stacks of grapes causes some of them to break open and the juice drains into a pan that is under that grate. What you will still see today as you did 2000 years ago, the workers will rush in and fight over that pan. They will pull it out and they will literally drink it right on the spot—right out of that pan. That is what is known as "best wine."
Do you understand why this is a miracle? There was no way you could have gotten enough grapes to drop on a winepress to get that much wine (grape juice) into six waterpots of twenty gallons capacity each. There is no way that they would have time to do it. There is no way that they would have had the amount of grapes to do it. It was an absolute astounding miracle of His power over all creation. The best wine, pure unadulterated and unfermented grape juice, is what He changed this into. All this little bit about trickery with His hands, and He grabbed some bottles and poured them in there really quick. Sorry friends, that not only is misleading and deceptive, but it is insulting and it is an abomination to the glory and majesty of our Savior.
There was no doubt. The disciples knew it was a miracle. They believed in Him on the basis of what they saw: an absolute miracle.
He is not only the creator of all things—the one who created the grapes, the one who can cause this miracle to occur—but He is also the sustainer. The Bible teaches that He created all things, as Colossians 1:16 declares, but the next verse says, "By Him all things hold together (consist)."
I do not want to bore you, but speaking in thermonuclear terms for a moment, I want to make sure that you understand what this passage is saying about the power of Christ. In thermonuclear terms you have what is called "stokeon." It is a Greek word, referring to the structure of the physical or material universe. Technically, it is the molecular structure that holds it together. The protons, neutrons, and electrons make up the molecular structure of the physical and material universe. We all know that it is being held together. We do not really understand it. We have analyzed the physical laws related to it, but how it actually stays together we are not sure. This keeps the processes of orbiting going in our solar systems as well as our universe. Once in a while we see an exception. Something breaks out of its gravitational pull and we might see an asteroid hitting the earth that causes people to panic, but generally the whole solar system is operating on mathematical principles (e.g., physics and laws).
It is interesting that in 2 Peter 3:10, the Day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. The very word that is used in nuclear circles for the molecular structure that holds things together (that in a nuclear explosion) actually is released. In thermonuclear explosions the results are incredible because things can liquefy. Are you aware of that? In a nuclear explosion, perhaps the difference in other kinds of bombs and explosions is that things liquefy. Why do they liquefy? They liquefy because something happens to the molecular structure: it is loosed from each other. It is interesting that, in 2 Peter 3:10, the Bible says that the elements (stokeon) will melt. The Greek word is luô, meaning "to loose." Everything will be dissolved. In other words, one day we are going to see the collapse of the earth and its system and the heavens as we now know it. When thermonuclear science looks at that verse, they say, "Wow!" The Bible is a little more contemporary than we thought, because that is what actually occurs.
Until that happens things are held together, and according to the Bible, all things molecularly and structurally are held together by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is an incredible thought!
On the seventh day God finished His work of creation. He did not take a long nap or go to sleep. God never sleeps or slumbers, and the false doctrine of legalism that has the Sabbath Day representing ceasing all work is a wrong doctrine. There is work that is ceased, but in God's case it was only the work of creation. His work providentially controls the universe as well as His work of miracles. What one day of the week did Jesus do most of His miracles on? The Sabbath. It was no violation for Him, but they made it a violation of the Sabbath.
Seeing the power of our Lord over Creation is not only creating it, but sustaining it. Hebrews 1:3 says, "By the word of His power He upholds or holds together all things." This speaks of the molecular structure. This is the reason why, when I hit something solid, I cannot get my hand to pass through it. Now if I knew the molecular structure and my hand could move fast enough, I could go straight through this and actually it would not even be affected. It is possible for our Lord to walk straight through walls or doors because He knows the molecular structure of all things. He could appear in a room and still have flesh and bones, which He did the night of the resurrection. Is everybody following? I find it a rather interesting insight that He who created all things and sustains them and hold it all together—and will one day release it and it will all blow up and liquefy—can go through it any time He wants. We do know scientifically that is a possibility if we all could move fast enough and we knew the molecular structure of things, because we are able to do that with, for instance, light. It is an interesting thing. Is not a science lecture, but it is important to see in terms of the miracles of Christ.
In John 2:23 there is an interesting remark that says, "When He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the Feast Day, many believed in His name when they saw the miracles which He did." Apparently even the first Passover which He went to right after doing the miracle at Cana of Galilee, people saw miracles and they believed in Him.
People say, "If I could just see the miracles I would believe." No they would not. There are a lot of people who believe that He did the miracles, but it does not mean that they believed and put their faith and trust in Him as their only Savior from sin. You say, "Well if someone would come back from the dead, then we would believe." No. Jesus said, "If they do not believe Moses and prophets, they will not believe even though one comes back from the dead." It is a very interesting application here right after the first miracle of Christ.
Turn over to John 6:2, "A great multitude followed Him because they saw His miracles which He did on them that were diseased." Apparently there are a lot of them that were not recorded.
In John 7:3, "Many of the people believed on Him and said, ‘When Messiah comes will He do more miracles than these which this man hath done.'" The Messiah has to do miracles as Isaiah says. He has to heal the deaf and the dumb and the blind. He has to do it, or He is not the Messiah.
In John 9:16, it says, "Therefore said some of the Pharisees, ‘This man is not of God because He keepeth not the Shabbat.' Others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such miracles.' And there was a division among them." They were fighting over it, because healing a blind man is certainly something the Messiah was to do according to Isaiah 35.
In John 11:47 it says, "Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a council and said, ‘What do we? For this man doeth many miracles.'" Even the religious leaders who did not believe in Him—who did not think that He was the Messiah and that He was blaspheming—also recognized that He did many miracles. How interesting this is.
In John 12:37 it says, "But though He had done so many miracles before them yet they believed not on Him." That is quite a statement, is it not?
In Acts 2:22, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter in his message said:
Search Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.
No one ever interrupted his sermon and said, "No, we did not know He did any miracles." Even Josephus records in a one paragraph statement in his Works: "Jesus, a man who doeth miracles." There was no doubt, even among those who did not believe in Him, that he was doing miracles. They have a choice. How does He do this? There was not any doubt that He did it! The unpardonable sin is believing that He did it under the power of Satan, rather than through divine power. That was their only answer. It is interesting.
He had power over creation. Secondly, as you well know, He had power over disease. Turn to Matthew 4:23-25. This is one of those statements that causes you to wonder how many miracles He did. He had power over disease. By the way, do you think He still has power over disease? Do you?
He certainly handled the physical problems of Evander Holyfield. I hope you know that story, because it is rather interesting. I am not thrilled about the techniques and methodology of Benny Hinn, but Evander Holyfield was touched mightily by God during one of those meetings. As a matter of fact, Holyfield gave Hinn a substantial amount of money for his ministry. His life appeared to be changed and I noticed it when he knocked down Mike Tyson in how he kept giving the glory to the Lord. He kept saying that it was a miracle from God. Maybe the next time we meet, we will know it was a miracle because Tyson will beat him up. I do not know, but it is interesting that Evander Holyfield kept giving credit to the Lord for what He had done in his own personal life.
Christ has power over disease. Last night on Larry King, Brett Butler was on the show. I hope you saw that. If you did not see it, you should know that it was remarkable. Butler had throat cancer, but you know that Larry King is trying to analyze this any way he possibly can, yet Brett is giving glory to God. "God did this, and if it comes back, the Lord's will be done." "But how were you able to do this? How were you able to come back? How were you able to finish the season?" "Well, it was the Lord. It was the Lord's power."
I am still speaking to you, and as some of you know, 23 years ago I also had cancer-of-the-throat surgery. They said I would never speak again, but they were wrong. Now you cannot shut me up. I am getting louder all the time.
Do you understand me? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know what the Bible teaches about healing. He does not promise that everybody who is sick is going to be healed. There are books that say, "God wants you well." Well, ultimately I believe that, and the resurrection is the greatest healing of all. That is what you call permanent healing. Until that time we do get sick and we do die, but sometimes God, in His graciousness and for His own purposes (which are listed in the Bible—though a lot of people do not want to read them) heals people. Sometimes the purpose of God is not to heal you. Has it ever occurred to you that healing is not for the sake healing? There is another purpose. God wants to be glorified, honored, praised and His mercy be shown to you. He is not just healing you so that you can be comfortable for the rest of your life.
It occurred to me (and one day I got to laughing about this) that God wants me sick. I saw a title in a Christian bookstore which said, "God wants you well." I started laughing about it. What we should write is, "God wants you sick." He wants you so sick that you will die. He has planned this from the beginning of time, and He is going to give you a body that will never get sick. You see, God wants you to understand that the body you have is not worth much. He is going to make it fall apart, decay, and get crusty. He is going to give you so many hurts and pains that you cannot believe it, because He wants you to anticipate what is coming. He is preparing you for glory. He is not really thrilled with those of you who run out to the gym and are absolutely amazed at the great body which God has given you. That is an offense against our Lord. That is why He said, "Bodily exercise profits a little." I am not against exercise and looking good, but do not sit there in the mirror and think that you are God's gift to humanity, because the truth of the matter is that God wants you to fall apart. By the way, He will see to it. You will keep putting on makeup and getting lifts and all that, thinking that you can somehow survive and overcome, but you are not going to do it. Nobody has. Everybody still dies.
I believe that our Savior—if He at any time wants to—can absolutely heal you of any disease that you might for His own purposes and glory. Do not question what the power of God can do. He can heal!
I saw it on our trip. This may be simple to you, but it was not to the person who was healed. This gal, who so wanted to come to Israel, became seriously ill all of a sudden. The doctor told her that she better go home, and she was crying her blooming heart out. There was an infection all the way throughout her body. Her ears were ringing; she was sicker than a dog, and she does not know what to do. She was crying, and so I said, "Well, we could pray. That is one possibility. I mean, it is probably not a biggie on your list, but it is a possibility." I kidded her about it and she said, "You know, it's not funny." I said, "I don't mean it to be funny. I just think it's interesting that some of us think that's the last resort. I mean, when everything else fails maybe God could do something." But anyway, we had a word of prayer and I just simply put my hands on her and I asked God, saying, "God I don't know if You want to do this or not. Maybe she needs to go home. I don't know. But I do know that You can take this away from her right now." The moment I said that, her ears popped. Thank you for jumping and demonstrating. Her ears popped completely and she turned to me, she said, "It's gone." Now if you think I have Benny Hinn power, then you are crazy. I simply said to her, "You'd better check with the doctor," which shows you my great faith. I watched her the entire time and I thought that she was going to get sick and die, but she did not. She was absolutely healed that moment. Her fever went away. Her soreness went away. Everything, and not three days later, but immediately during that prayer. We all watched her the rest of the day. She was climbing all over the place and having a wonderful time—praising the Lord. I was thinking, "She's going to drop over any time now." You know, how your great faith is.
God can heal people, but He does it because He wants to. God wants to be glorified, and you see, it is so easy. The natural man (the carnality in all of us) could say, "Yeah just come up here and I'll touch you. It's amazing what flows out of these fingers."
Listen friends, God wants to be glorified. He wants to be honored. He wants to be praised. Sometimes He heals, and sometimes he does not. I begin with the fact that God teaches me more through sickness and suffering than He does through health. Once you begin with that you are more prepared to experience healing, because you know that God is just going to be glorified in some way. He is going to do something through this that you might not be aware of, but He does have power over disease. Let me read these verses and then we will take a break:
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. (Matthew 4:23-24)
Do you believe that God can heal somebody who is crazy and straighten out their mind? That is an interesting question as it relates to what people are doing. No wonder the following verse (25) says "There followed Him great multitudes of people"—everywhere He went—all the way down into Judea and beyond Jordan. Wherever Jesus went, they followed. His man has enormous power.
Look at John 4:46-54 real quick, it says:
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
We already know that He did other miracles down in Judea, but the second one was when He was come out of Judea back into Galilee again. The whole thing is that He has power over all disease, no matter what it is, because He is the Messiah.
[[This editorial break represents a fifteen-minute intermission.]]
Look at John chapter 5:
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep [market] a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. (John 5:1-2)
The feast that this refers to is probably not Passover. It might be Shavaot—the Pentecost. It is one of three, though, because He would go up to Jerusalem. There are three feasts that every male, who is twenty years old and above have to attend: Passover, Pentecost (or Shavaot), and Tabernacles (or Sacot).
Bethesda is an English pronunciation of a Greek translation of the Hebrew tongue. Is that not interesting? The Hebrew is beth, which means house, and chesed, which is one of the most beautiful words. Chesed is one of the most beautiful words in the Bible. It is used of mercy over and over again. Psalm 136, where every verse says "His mercy endures forever," it uses chesed. It is also translated "lovingkindness." "Thy lovingkindness is better than life." Remember that song, from Psalm 63. That is the word chesed in that passage. It is a beautiful word. And so Beth-chesed comes to be known as "house of mercy."
In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. (John 5:3-4)
John 5:4 has a manuscript problem. The part that says, "The angel went down" is suspect. The words "troubling of the water," are in the text. What are the others in the text? I do not know. People argue over it, but it is not necessary. What is known is that there are therapeutic waters there, and they have been there a long time. A man has been laying there for thirty-eight years. Now some people have said that it does not say that he was born that way—that it is not a birth defect—but the way it is organized in the text (verse 5) assumes it. The man was there and he had an infirmity. It did not come to him in time; he was born with it. We are not told what it is, but he is apparently thirty-eight years old and he still has it.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time [in that case], he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. (John 5:5-9)
We were just there to see that pool of Bethesda. It is right by the Sheep Gate, where they bring the sheep—the sacrificial lambs into the temple area to be sacrificed. I think it is interesting that the pool was called Beth-chesed, because in the Bible that word is said several times in the Psalms to be the possession of our Lord alone. The Lord Jehovah has chesed (e.g., lovingkindness, mercy etc.). How interesting it is that there at the "house of chesed" is one who can really show you lovingkindess.
I simply add this one because you know that there is a difference between getting a disease (a virus or bacteria) and getting sick and being healed from it.
The place was Yakima, Washington, and I remember it well. We had a radio rally there several years ago. A lady in a wheelchair, all deformed, came up to me and asked me after the meeting to pray for her that she would be healed. She said that she was born this way. I immediately explained to her that it is the will of God sometimes that these things happen and et cetera. She said, "I don't want to hear this. I've heard that many times before." She said, "Can the Lord heal somebody like me? Everybody says that He can heal their diseases if they get sick, but what if you are born this way? Does He not know the genetic problems that I have that created this?" You sit there and hope that nobody is watching because you feel that nothing is going to happen here. I said, "Look, if I pray for you will you go away?" No, I did not say that, but I felt like it. So I said, "Okay, I'll pray for you." So I prayed for her, and said, "Lord, I have to admit that I don't believe that this is going to happen, but I know You can do it. You did it in the Bible. You can do it again. You can heal this lady." She was thirty-five by the way—almost thirty-eight years old. "You could heal this lady if You want to. Now I don't know what Your will is because we eventually all die anyway." It was a prayer like that, and I said, "Amen," and went on my way.
Two years later, I came back to the same place and right before the meeting this lady walks up to me, and says, "Do you remember me?" I said, "No, I don't remember you at all." She said, "I was the lady in the wheelchair." It has not happened to me before or since, but I broke down and cried. I was not crying because she was healed, but that I immediately saw my own stupidity. She said, "What's the matter?" I said, "I just... I'm sorry."
You know when you are confronted with the miraculous, there are different things that happen to you. I want you to know that I never even mentioned it to the audience that night. I was really convicted of my lack of faith, and I had a hard time believing it was that woman. The deformity was gone. She was quite attractive—looked just normal, and I could not believe it.
Let me tell you something, folks. There is a lot of junk out there about healing and all that stuff, and I get so sick of it. You know if you have ever seen real healing, it makes you sick to see this stuff. There are plenty of people you pray for and nothing happens. God apparently did not want it to happen. The issue is God—it is not man. How do we get that into people's hearts? I do not know. God wanted to do a miracle in this lady's life, and maybe teach me a big lesson. I had no faith or confidence at all, and so it was not my prayer that did it. It was God who healed her. I just think that sometimes we have the problem. We want the glory. The number one problem in us is unbelief. Not really believing that God could do it. God can do anything He wants to do. Miraculous things happen, and it is not ever time, but it happens.
I was called to the hospital of a girl who was eighteen years old and dying of spinal meningitis. The family members, who were Argentineans, had been called in. There was over thirty people in her room, and I took another pastor on our staff to do what James 5 says. They had asked for the anointing of oil. The doctors had said there was no hope—that she was dying. There were people crying all over the room. She was laying in the bed—totally lifeless. When we came into that room, the father asked me right off the bat, "Do you believe James 5 is true?" What are you going to say? Of course, it is in the Bible. I believe it is true. I mean, what are you going to do? I said, "Well I've got a little olive oil here. I'm just going to put it on her forehead and I'm going to lay hands on her and pray. That's what I'm going to do. It's the prayer of faith and it will save the sick and the Lord will raise her up. If it's the Lord's will." He said, "Do you really believe that?" She's dying. I said, "Well I don't know. Last week I prayed for somebody and they died while I was praying." He said, "Maybe we ought not to have you pray." That is another interesting story, by the way. So anyway, I said, "Let's just pray." So I laid my hands on her, and prayed and asked God if it was His will if He would not only heal her, but completely remove the spinal meningitis instantaneously. I finished the prayer and the little girl sat up and she said, "I am healed." She is eighteen, you know, and she has lost it. I said, "Please lay back down." She said, "I don't need to lay back down." The doctor who was standing there said, "Please lay back down." Then he said to me, "See what you do—You kind of people." He started really ragging on me, and said, "This is a serious problem." I said, "Well, if she's going to die what difference does it make if she's sitting up or laying down? Use your head, doctor." But anyway, he was so mad. She said, "I demand that you take me down and run the tests on me. I think it's gone." The doctor said, "That's totally impossible. I'm not going to succumb to this circus here." I said, "Well doctor, if I were you I'd probably do it. This girl is going to drive you crazy until you do." So he took her down and ran all the tests. We all waited in the room and he took her in a wheelchair. He was not trusting that she was healed, but about an hour later we were still waiting there, talking to the family and counseling them. "Maybe she died down there, I don't know." I was standing outside the room, and down the hall here came the doctor with this girl walking right beside him, witnessing to him. She was on fire, talking to him. She saw me. "Oh, Pastor David, Hi. I'm healed." The doctor turned around and ran the other way. I saw him several times after that, but he would always turn around. He just said, "I give up." He had no explanation, but there was not one trace of spinal meningitis in her body.
Sometimes these stories have bad conclusions. Sometimes something went wrong and then she died of spinal meningitis two years later, but I am happy to tell you that she was eighteen, but now she is thirty-seven with three children. They also said that she could never bear children of course, but she is married, has three children and is still a dynamite witness for the Lord. She goes out once a week to share Christ with people. She is on fire. Do not run into her because you cannot control her. She is on fire. She knew that something happened.
The other day we were down at Red Robin and she and her husband and children came in there. She comes running up, "Boy aren't you glad you prayed for me that day?" I was thinking, "Man I didn't believe it at all. I had no confidence."
Do you understand that God does do miracles? Then when I see all this junk—these healing meetings and they are parading and running across the platform and throwing wheelchairs around—I just think, "What in the world?" They have to check their brains off at the door. There is something wrong here. But see, while we criticize that kind of sensationalism and all of that, on the other hand, do not ever think that God cannot heal. My Lord has the power to do it.
He also has the power over the food supplies. I love this. Look at John 6. Do you need some food? No problem. Here comes the Son of God. Now this story is very hard. I love to hear the rabbis teach about this. It is very hard to explain. This is the only miracle outside the resurrection that is in all four Gospels. Apparently, it is pretty important. The kid has five barley loaves. You do not give barley loaves to people, but to animals. It shows he is really a poor kid with a little lunch. He also has two small fish. Any fish is small in the Sea of Galilee with the exception of the catfish. They are gigantic there—the world's largest catfish. They all are in the area where we baptize people in the Jordan River. They just float in there and scare people like crazy. Why are they so confident? Because they are an unclean fish. The Jews do not eat it, so they just keep getting bigger and bigger. The catfish in both the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River are huge. They are big, old, and ugly things. Why does somebody not get them? No one is going to get them because they are unclean. The normal little fish is called St. Peter's fish. They put it on your plate (head and all) to eat. This kid in our text had two little ones. That is all he has along with five barly loaves. Can you imagine there being 5,000 men, not counting women and children (all organized into groups). Jesus just kind of breaks it, and keeps breaking it. Can you imagine that? It is unbelievable when you think about it.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. (John 6:14)
They were ready to take Him by force and make Him a king, as it says in John 6:15. It was not His time and so He went off to the mountain alone.
Where this occurred is a pretty strong traditional spot. That is, out of all the spots where they would have been, the fisherman, there is a little cove-like thing, where the ancient stone piers are and the fisherman worked off of with their nets and all. There is pretty strong evidence that that is where they were, which means that the little hill is probably where He fed the 5,000. It says that He went up into the mountain to pray. Now to go up that mountain, you have got to go across the road. Not many people do this, but there is a huge cave there. Remember He saw them rowing in the middle of the night and toiling and fighting the storm and all that. It is the only place that you could see that. We climbed up there and went up to that little cave. You just sit down there and realize, what a neat place this is: nice and quiet. Nobody comes up here. To think that the Lord was right there, and you could see right down to the water. You could easily see somebody struggling, and it was just kind of neat to sit there and realize that this could have been—I am not saying it is—the spot.
Christ demonstrated that He had power over food supplies. He could multiply the loaves. Now this is not the first time that He supplied food supernaturally.
When the children of Israel wanted food in the wilderness, and wished that they were back in Egypt, He dropped a little wafer down. There were thousands of them coming down from the sky and landing all over the ground. They said, "What is it?" which is exactly what it means in Hebrew. Manna, in Hebrew, means "What is it?" So God said, "You are going to call it that for the rest of your life now." For forty years, every time you say, "What are you having for breakfast?" "What is it." "What are you having for lunch?" "What is it." "What are you having for dinner?" "What is it." Every day, "What is it." We threw in a little quail every once in a while, but it was basically "What is it." Today there are people trying to tell you what it is. It is amazing to me. They call it angels' food. They call it coriander seed. We do not know what it was, and that is why they say, "What is it?" It meant something more than just something to eat as we know the New Testament teaches. He had power over food.
He also had power over nature. We see this in His rebuking of the wind:
Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled [with water], and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. (Luke 8:22-25)
He also had power over blindness:
And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, [thou] Son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, [thou] Son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion [on them], and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34)
What struck me is that no matter what your physical problem is, the Lord has compassion. God does not ever ignore your pain. He is with you always, and has compassion on you. He knows that we are nothing but dust. He knows the limitations of our physical body. He knows how we can be sick and how we can hurt. He has compassion on us.
Power without compassion is a terrible thing. Compassion without power is very dissatisfying. It is weak, insufficient, and cannot do the job. It is wonderful to know that you have someone who cares, and is also able to do something about it. I love people who care, but sometimes they cannot do anything about it.
We had a doctor on our trip, who is an old friend of mine that moved to Maine. I noticed his compassion. In fact that is why I was attracted to him a long time ago. He helped me in some of my sicknesses. He is a doctor who has been touched by the heart of the Lord. He has such compassion, and I was kidding a little bit about it, because we were standing there and somebody said, "Boy, my head hurts." He immediately exerted compassion. "Where does it hurt? How long have you had it." I love watching him so I decided to test him a bit. At the dinner table I was sitting beside him and I said, "Boy I hurt my finger." "You hurt your finger?" "Yeah, I hurt my finger. Want to kiss it?" Anyway, he realized I was putting him on a bit, and I said, "I don't know whether I'm sick or not. I just like to hear you." It is nice to have a doctor who is compassionate? You probably run into the other type.
I was talking to a doctor once for about a half an hour about my problem and so forth. He said at the end of that, "What did you say your name was?" You ever have that feeling? You know, he had my whole report sitting in front of you. We had been talking for thirty minutes and he said, "What did you say your name was?" I mean, the guy is a little short on compassion.
Jesus knows your name. He has your hairs all counted, and He can subtract. He knows everything about you, and He cares. "The compassion of the Lord."—Every time He is demonstrating His power. When He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion (Matthew 9:36). That is a beautiful thing.
We have to look at the story in John 9. This demonstrates His power over blindness:
And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:1-2).
The first thing that I learn from this is that some sickness does result from sinning, but some sickness is not the result of specific sinning (though all sickness is a result of original sin and depravity). Did you catch that? When a person has a cold, you do not say, "Ahh. Something wrong in your life, huh?" "Yeah, there is something wrong. I was out in the cold when I should have had a jacket on." You know, somebody gets the flu: "Brother, you need to repent." I mean, it is obvious.
The Bible does teach that some sickness results from sin. There is sin that leads to physical death (1 John 5:16). There are some who actually get sick and die because they treat improperly, in a frivolous manner, the bread and the cup as described in 1 Corinthians 11. Do not think that God will not bring sickness as a consequence of sinning, because He does.
It makes we wonder about the question, "Do you think AIDS is a result of sin? Is it not possible that somebody could get AIDS who did not sin specifically? Yes. Children. Blood transfusion, etc. A plague is a terrible thing. There are all kinds of plagues hitting our planet now. They have mentioned that one about fish. That was not exciting to read! "What's for dinner tonight?" "Probably fish." No. They have now confirmed that there are some very terrible problems in our ocean water and fish, but now they are saying it can affect humans. The fish industry is saying now that they know it can. No matter how much they cook it, it is still there. This is going to cause a little problem in the fish industry for a while.
Now, the Lord told us that these things were going to happen. In the Tribulation they will accelerate. But let us say that this case of AIDS was not from a transfusion. It was not a child that was a victim of this. What is the normal way that one gets AIDS? Originally it was homosexuality. Now, we know that it is caused by multiple sex partners, because even heterosexuals get it. In a study of 5,000 married couples who had never had sex outside of there own marriage, there was not one single example of sexual disease. The New England Journal of Medicine wrote an interesting article in which they could not solve the problem. They did not understand. Let me explain why they do not get it. The reason that they do not understand is very simple if you think about it. If you leave God and sin out of the equation, it does not make sense.
Let us suppose that a couple has sex over a twenty-year period of time. Their argument is, "Since the anatomy procedure of this is the same, what difference would it make if the total amount of times between the one couple—let us say a thousand just for figuring here—and suppose that you had sex only once with a thousand different people." You have actually engaged in the physical act from an anatomy point of view the exact same amount of time as the couple who was married that had sex only with each other. So you see the reason why they are confused is that when they match this, it never explains the problem. From a pure physical anatomy point of view, there is no answer to this. Not one. How can a person in marriage commit the physical act of intercourse the same amount of times as someone who does it with several other people the same amount of times. Sometimes it is even less. Why is it that they acquire a sexual disease, but the married couple, who has not had sex with anybody else, never contracts these diseases? Their basic argument at the end was, "We have no explanation." They do not know.
Some of us are dumb enough to think that we know, because God said in 1 Corinthians 6:18 that every sin that a man does is outside the body except one. "He who commits fornication [sexual sin] is sinning against his own body." There is only one sin that affects the physical body according to what God said—the rest of them are all emotional. Anger, wrath, pride, etc., all affect your emotions, which does have some health implications, but there is only one sin that will affect the physical process of the body. That sin is fornication: having sex with somebody besides your husband or wife. Is that not interesting?
A lot of people are troubled because they carry it to extremes. There are a lot of modern day evangelists and healers who say, "If you are sick, then there is something wrong. You need to repent and then it will go away." No, that is not true at all. Jesus made it clear here, "This man didn't sin." It was not because his parents sinned. "Oh by the way, you are not a drunk ‘cause your parents were." That is also going around the recovery movement. Here is another one. "God said He'd bring judgment to the third and fourth generations. So your grandkids and great grandkids have to suffer." Wrong! That is an idiom. If you continue to sin, it does not matter how long the generations go, it will continue to bring judgment. Your kids will not suffer because of your sins. Nor will you suffer because of your kids. The Bible says every man shall bear his own iniquities. Ezekiel 18 is very clear on it.
What do we learn from this? Some physical problems, even from birth (e.g., genetic disorders) are not the result of specific sinning. All sickness results from the original fall and curse, yet it is not the result of specific sinning. Do not say that it is. You see somebody with a deformity, do not say, "Somebody sinned. Maybe his dad did." No, that is not true. Now many of us can sit here and easy deal with this if it is not our problem, but I will tell you something that I have observed over and over again. You show me a couple that loves the Lord, loves the Bible, and has followed God, but if they have a deformed child, something snaps in their emotions. They call the pastor and say, "What have we done to deserve this?" It happens over and over again. The answer is "Nothing." First of all, I like to tell people we are all physically handicapped. Why do we even say somebody is handicapped? If somebody has only one arm, are they something less than you with two arms? No, with two you can get into more trouble. We are all physically handicapped. Do you not understand that? Time will prove this to be true.
This has hurt the church for years. We need to be straight. Jesus cleared it up. Then why is this guy in this problem? He has been blind from his birth. Jesus said, "That the works of God might be manifest in him." God allows many of these things to happen so that He can demonstrate His mighty power in their life.
He never healed the physical blindness of Fanny Crosby, but boy did He give her spiritual insight that no one else had, as she wrote thousands of hymns like, "Face to Face with Christ My Savior." She never saw once in her entire life, and people who knew her said that she saw a lot more than most folks did. You had better be careful what you say.
Now Christ also had power over death. This is the crowning issue. Let us go to John 5:21. "For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, or makes them alive, even so the Son quickeneth, makes alive whom He will." Then a few verses later it says:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:25-29)
All the evil, wicked dead will be resurrected to stand before God at the great White Throne Judgment according to Revelation 20. Everybody will be resurrected, but the difference in time is a thousand years. Jesus proves this in John 11:1-4:
Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was [that] Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Would you think that it would be a problem in your mind if you were one of the disciples? You heard that and then you heard that Lazarus died. "Hey, wait a minute. You said it wasn't unto death." "Oh I mean, the purpose of that illness was not to bring his death." The purpose of that illness which caused his death was to bring glory to God. Make sure you read that right.
Then Jesus said to Martha:
I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
Then Jesus comes to the grave, which is a cave. There is a stone over it, and so he says, "Take away the stone." Martha, the same one who said she believed that He could raise the dead, said, "Lord he has been there four days. He stinks to high heaven" (My translation). That's what she said, "He stinks." Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone, and Jesus lifted up His eye. I bet they are all thankful that He did not ask them to climb down in the grave and pull him out. "Father, I thank Thee that You have heard Me. I know that You hear Me always but because of the people which stand by I said it that they will believe that You sent Me." So He said, "Lazarus come forth!" Do you ever think what would happen if He had not mentioned "Lazarus"? In John 5, He said, "All would hear His voice and come forth." Imagine if He had just said, "Come forth!" Everybody would have come out of the grave. But He said, "Lazarus come forth," and he came forth. He was all bound up with the grave clothes. Can you hear him standing there? Jesus says, "loose him and let him go." I love that story.
Then many of the Jews which came to Mary and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. (John 11:45)
They even went to the Pharisees and told them what He had done. Boy I will tell you that the resurrection of Lazarus caused a little excitement.
The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. (John 12:17-19)
Now in one of the Gospels it says, concerning this triumphal entry, that the chief priests, the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, "Rebuke these people." The people were shouting out, "Hosanna! (Save us now). Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." Now that was supposed to be done at Passover. It is a part of the Hallel, but they were throwing palm branches which you do only at Tabernacles, which is the sign that the kingdom has come. They were declaring Him to be king and going to set up His kingdom. They have confused the feasts here, and the religious leaders wanted to stop these people. "Rebuke them! They are saying wrong things." What did Jesus say? "If I did that then the stones would cry out."
You are now ready for your Hebrew lesson of the day. This last trip when we were on the Mount of Olives, we tried to walk down that old ancient road that Jesus would have walked down (from Bethany and Bethphage down across the Kidron Valley over to Jerusalem). As you are walking down that road, it is very obvious what is on the left side—a Jewish cemetery that has been there since the days of Christ. The Jews always bury on a mountain, and Arabs will always bury in a valley. When the Jews bury they put them under the ground, but they put what looks like a little casket, which are really made out of stone, on top of it. All Jewish burial sites have this sticking up. A lot of people make the mistake and think the body is in there, but it is not because the bodies are actually in the ground. They just make this thing in honor, functioning as a little grave marker, but it looks like a little casket. Now they are all over the Mount of Olives, and go back all the way to the time of Christ.
If you looked closely at all those grave sites, you will notice that on top of those stone caskets are piles of rocks. When Orthodox Jews honor their dead they do not put flowers on the grave because they decay and, therefore, represent the lack of life and the beauty of man which fades away. Instead, they put rocks on the grave. That is what they do on top of the grave site to honor the dead.
Remember what Jesus said, as they were walking past that grave site. The religious leaders first said, "Rebuke these people!" Jesus' response, "If I rebuke these people, the stones would cry out." What is He talking about? He is talking about resurrection—all who hear. What was the immediate issue that brought them all together? The resurrection of Lazarus. If I stop them, why all the stones would cry out? Because there is a real fascinating play on the whole Jewish burial system. Amen? This is a just a little touch—just a little—to get you messed up for the day.
Let us pray.
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that we can study about our blessed Lord. Thank You that He had miraculous power, not only over creation and disease, but over death itself. Teach us, Lord, to put our confidence in the One who can do anything—the One who will always do right. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.