Monday, May 11, 2009
by Bonnie Calhoun
This evening let's take a look at some of the miracles of the New Testament.
The virgin birth. No doubt the first miraculous event recorded in the New Testament is the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary, a virgin, was "found to be with child through the Holy Spirit," according to Matthew 1:18. Several other miracles surrounded that birth, including the striking dumb of Zechariah in Luke 1, the angels' appearance to the shepherds in Luke 2, and the star which led the magi to visit in Matthew 2.
Water into wine. The first recorded miracle of Jesus occurs in John 2, when Christ was attending a wedding in the city of Cana and the hosts ran out of wine. Jesus requested six large jars to be filled with water, and they then miraculously turned into fine wine. As John records, "He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Healing. One of the things Christ was most known for was his ability to heal the sick. Matthew 4:23-24 records that "Jesus went throughout 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, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them." The sick included lepers, paralytics, and those with internal bleeding.
A man born blind. Certainly one of the most amazing miracles of Jesus was the healing of man born blind in John 9. Christ made some mud with his saliva, rubbed it on the man's eyes, and instructed him to wash in a nearby pool. Upon doing so the man received his sight. Jewish leaders denounced him as a fraud, but when questioned, the man responded, "One thing I do know. I was blind and now I see!
The centurion's servant. Since Roman conquerors were hated by most Jewish citizens, it was generally forbidden for a Jew to enter a Roman's house. Thus when a God-fearing Roman centurion told Jesus that his servant was ill, he informed the Lord that Jesus didn't have to enter his home to perform the healing. Instead Christ could do it from a distance. Marveling at the man's faith, Jesus replied, "I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith" (Matthew 8:10). Before the centurion could get home, the servant was healed.
Jesus calms the storm. Matthew 8 relates the story of Jesus asleep in a boat when a violent storm arose. When the disciples, fearing they would drown, awakened the Lord, he simply rebuked the winds and the waves, making them calm.
Raising the dead. In Matthew 9, Jesus tells a crowd of mourners that a ruler's young daughter is not dead but asleep. Though the mourners laughed at him, Jesus proceeds to raise her from the dead. Like 7 also tells of Jesus raising the dead, this time a widow's son. And John 11 records the raising of Lazarus, which was witnesses by a crowd of people.
Feeding the multitudes. After preaching to a large crowd, the disciples encouraged Christ to send the people away so that they could find something to eat. Instead the Lord had them gather their food─five loaves of bread and two fishes─and proceeded to feed five thousand people.
Walking on water. After his disciples has sailed off in a boat to the other side of a lake, the disciples watched Jesus walk out to them on the waves. Peter asked to join him, and also walked on water for a short time. But Matthew notes that as soon as Peter took his eyes off the Lord and began to look at the waves, he began to sink. Christ helped Peter back into the boat─prompting the disciples to say, "Truly you are the Son of God."
The transfiguration. A few days before his death, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain. There he was "transfigured" before them. His face "shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light." Moses and Elijah, two of the handful of miracle workers in Scripture, then appeared with Jesus, and the voice of God announced, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matt. 17:5).
The tearing of the veil. Matthew 27:51 records an important miracle that took place during Christ's death on the cross: "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." The tearing of that curtain, which created a barrier between the worship area and the holy of holies where God dwelt, meant that man was no longer to be separated from God.
The resurrection. The greatest of all miracles in the Christian faith is the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death and sin. The evidence fro the resurrection as a historical fact (the empty tomb, the Roman guard, the eyewitness reports of those who were there, the lack of any other explanation) is overwhelming.
Apostles heal a cripple. In the apostolic age some of the followers of Christ had the power to do miracles. Acts 3 records Peter and John healing a beggar who had been crippled since birth, and Acts 5:12 notes that "the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people."
Peter's escape from prison. When Peter was arrested fro preaching the gospel, he was held in prison, bound to a soldier on either side. But Acts 12 related that late one night Peter was awakened by an angel, his chains simply fell off, and the gates before him miraculously opened by themselves. He walked to freedom...while the guards who were supposed to be keeping watch over him were later executed.