How We Taught the New Testament in the Past: Lesson 7: “[He] Took Our Infirmities, and Bare Our Sicknesses”
Lesson 7: “[He] Took Our Infirmities, and Bare Our Sicknesses”
The lesson briefly discusses a very few of the miracles performed by Jesus, with the goal to “help class members understand some of the reasons the Savior performed miracles.” The young ladies of the YLMIA went into greater depth in their study of the miracles in 1906, as shown by these lessons published in the Young Woman’s Journal that year.
THE TEACHINGS OF THE SAVIOR
How Jesus Taught by Miracles.
1. The Nature of Miracles.
Most of the popular fame which Jesus acquired was due to the wonderful miracles that he performed. The people were naturally attracted by the supernatural power that the Savior manifested in the miracles which, we are led to believe, he performed in great numbers during his short ministry.
In studying the miracles it is necessary to keep in mind that miraculous powers were exercised by the Savior only in fulfilling his mission of bringing salvation to the children of men. It must not for a minute be assumed that the savior was simply an exceptional kind of show man who entertained crowds by doing things beyond the powers of an ordinary mortal. Every miracle recorded in the Gospels, bears evidence of the fact that it was done, in a time, place, and manner, for the especial purposes connected with the Lord’s divine mission on earth. the careful study of Christ’s miracles reveals that the Savior used miracles most skillfully in impressing abiding spiritual lessons upon the minds of those to whom he preached.
Jesus did not perform miracles to satisfy idle curiosity or at the request of every seeker after signs. On the contrary, he declared emphatically that “a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after signs.” The person who seeks for signs seldom searches for truth. It may safely be believed that a person who first demands a sign has no serious intentions of examining the gospel deeply and carefully. The Gospels show that Jesus performed miracles only at the requests of faithful disciples or others whose faith was so great that they merited the sign that they demanded. For instance, the first miracle, the changing of water into wine, was performed at the request of his mother, who, we have the very best reason to believe, believed in her Son’s divine mission and did all in her power to support him (Jno. 2:1-11). thus, also, the healing of the Centurion’s servant came at the request of a man whom the Lord himself declared had an abundance of faith (Matt. 8:5-13).
If the miracles were not performed at the request of some faithful follower, they frequently came in times of emergency, when for instance, those who assisted the Savior in the work of the ministry, were in great physical danger. Thus, the stilling of the tempest (Mark 4:25-41), was done when the lives of some of the most useful followers of Christ were in utmost danger.
In other cases the miracles were performed especially to impress some important lessons upon the Savior’s immediate associates. Thus, the finding of the stater (Matt. 17:24-26) as will be seen hereafter, was apparently a miracle the purpose of which was to each the disciples a very important lesson. Many of the other miracles were performed as it would appear to us, because of the abounding love of Jesus for his fellow men. those who sorrowed or suffered were the especial objects of the Savior’s attention; and he used his divine power to any required degree to show his compassion with those who were in need of divine help. The raising of Lazarus (Jno. 11:1-44) seems to have been prompted primarily by the affection which he felt for the sisters of Lazarus, who were sorrowing greatly over the departure of their brother.
In every case of a miracle being performed by the Savior, however, there is undoubted evidence to every careful reader, that it teaches a lesson which may be received by all humanity.
Many scholars, of little faith, have attempted to throw doubt upon the genuineness of the miracles of the Savior as recorded in the New Testament. however, the Savior clearly promised his disciples that signs should follow those that believe, and that they should have the power to perform many wonderful things, such as healing the sick, making the blind to see, and even raising the dead. Certainly the Savior was willing and able to do himself what he commanded his followers to do. The gifts of the Spirit, by which mortal men are able to do things that transcend the ordinary powers of men, have always been in the Church of Christ. The church that denies such powers is not patterned after the Church organized by the Savior. besides, though many eminent scholars have examined the gospels very carefully with respect to the miracles, nothing has been found to throw the slightest doubt upon the genuineness of the miracles. They were actually performed by the Savior, and they have been testified to not only by the evangelists who wrote the gospels, but by numerous early writers of the Christian church.
Recently, since science began its marvelous growth, the claim has been made that if Jesus performed the miracles ascribed to him, he did it contrary to the laws of nature, which, it has been asserted is impossible. God does not violate the laws of nature; but he is the possessor of all knowledge, and he is able, because of his superior knowledge, to apply all the forces of nature in a manner which may appear impossible to men. If Jesus performed a miracle, such as turning water into wine, it was by the exercise of such knowledge of natural laws, as may be acquired in time by any intelligence which grows steadily in knowledge throughout long periods of time. We must believe that the miracles of Jesus were in perfect harmony with the laws of nature.
What is a miracle? Simply something which man with limited knowledge cannot understand. The telephone which enables men hundreds of miles apart to converse with each other, is a miracle to him who does not understand it, but it is as simple as almost any problem in arithmetic, to him who understands the laws according to which telephones operate. We are told that centuries ago certain Hindoo priests had a primitive knowledge of the telephone, and that the temples were secretly connected by telephones. this enabled the priests to communicate the information concerning important events from temple to temple; as soon as the event occurred. By their apparent fore-knowledge, thus obtained, they made their followers believe that they were possessed of supernatural powers. If the existence and nature of the telephone had been known, the miraculous clement would have disappeared.
Almost every discovery in science is a miracle to the unscientific. Chemistry, physics, and biology and other sciences when used by the skillful scientist may be made to produce results that appear wholly supernatural to those who are unfamiliar with these sciences. The miracles of Jesus were all natural, and every man may, in the process of time, be able to learn enough of the laws which Jesus used to duplicate every miracle, that he performed. We may have absolute faith that Jesus really did perform the miracles of which we have accounts. The most important matter connected with the miracles, however, is to learn to know the wonderful lessons that the savior taught by his miraculous manifestations.
Review and Questions.
1. What must be kept in mind in studying the miracles of the Savior?
2. Of what does every miracle bear evidence?
3. What signs did the Savior promise those who believe?
4. What is a miracle?
5. Under what conditions did Jesus perform miracles? Illustrate.
6. Relate Jesus’ first miracle.’
7. What was the purpose of the miracle of the coin in the mouth of the fish?
2. Nature Miracles
The recorded miracles of the Savior fall into three groups: 1. Nature miracles, which affected only inanimate nature or the lower forms of life. 2. Healing miracles, which touched the common physical ailments of mankind. 3. Spiritual miracles, which were concerned, especially, with the spirit of man whether in health or disease. The first class, or the nature miracles, wrought by our Savior, will be discussed in this lesson.
Of all the miracles performed by our Savior, those that dealt with external nature, such as the changing of water into wine, the stilling of the tempest, or the feeding of thousands with a few loaves of bread, are the most difficult to understand. The other miracles, those that deal with the healing of the sick, seem to be more easily understood, because a more or less complete system of healing has always been practiced by mankind. It may be said about the nature miracles, however, that modern science is gradually acquiring such wonderful control over nature that it does not seem impossible that at some future time they may be easily understood and repeated by man.
Though we may not understand the process by which Jesus performed his nature miracles, it does not require great penetration to draw lessons from these miracles and to understand their impressive teachings. The earliest nature miracle, and, in fact, the earliest recorded miracle, was the changing of water into wine at the marriage feast of Cana (Jno. 2:1-11). In this miracle, as stated in the Gospel, the Savior manifested his glory. As it was performed at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, its purpose may have been in part to awaken interest in his message. It was at the request of his mother that the water was changed into wine; and it may not be improper to draw from this miracle the lesson that the Savior while present on earth was willing to render obedience as a son, even though it required the exercise of his divine and supernatural powers. Jesus was ever a dutiful son.
Soon after the beginning of his active life, he performed the miracle known as the miraculous draught of fishes (Luke 5:1-11) (which read). It made a very strong impression upon the apostles who were present; especially upon Simon Peter. It was after this miracle had been performed, that Jesus declared that hereafter the apostles should be fishers of men. Certainly, the apostles may have learned from this miracle, that though they were expected to become workers with Christ in the cause of salvation, they need have no fear of their earthly maintenance, for their master by a spoken word, compelled the fish to enter the nets.
After the resurrection of the Savior, he manifested himself to his apostles at the sea of Tiberias (Jno. 21:1-25). There, again, he caused a miraculous draught of fish. When the disciples, after having brought the fish ashore, came to be instructed of the Lord, he bade them, “Feed My Sheep.” the lesson of this miracle is evident. The disciples had been fishing and, as they told Jesus, had caught nothing. By the power of god their boats were filled with fish. thus, the Savior meant to imply that as he in his love fed them, so he desired them to feed their fellow men. Both miracles, dealing with the draughts of fishes, also show the great love of Jesus for his disciples. Under no conditions, if it were possible to avoid it, would he let them suffer.
Among the many nature miracles of Jesus, the most thrilling is that of stilling the tempest (Mark 4:35-41). The apostles evidently did not yet have perfect testimonies of the divinity of the person and message of Jesus. Jesus understood their attitude of mind, and performed the wonderful miracle of stilling the tempest, to impress again upon them that the power which he possessed was above the forces of nature; and that nothing could hinder the fulfilment of his mission. They must have faith. As a lesson in sublime and unquestioning faith the miracle of the stilling of the tempest stands foremost.
Another interesting miracle was performed upon the Sea of Galilee. The apostles were this time alone in a boat on the lake. A storm arose, and they were in great danger (Matt. 14:24-36). The Lord, to give them comfort, walked on the water and went near them and cheered them. this again appears to be a lesson in faith; that they who have been called to so great a mission should not be fearful. The fury of the elements could not prevent them from carrying out the purposes of the Lord. The incident of Peter’s failure to walk on the water is an abiding lesson that the faith of the strongest man is small compared with the faith of God. These miracles on the Sea of Galilee, teach the splendid lesson that the Lord is absolute Master of the elements.
Still another miracle deals with the Sea of Galilee and its finny inhabitants (Matt. 17:24-27.) Jesus, because of his lineage and profession, was relieved from some of the taxes which were required from other people. At one time his persecutors came and demanded an unjust tax from him. Instead of refusing to pay, he sent Peter to the lake and promised him that in the first fish he caught should be found the necessary money. This in fact occurred. The lesson from this miracle appears to be two-fold. first, that though men may tax each other, they cannot tax their God, for he requires tribute of all creation. In this case he went to one of his servants of nature, a fish, to obtain the money required. Secondly, he taught Peter that peace is better than war; to yield is better than to resist where little matters are involved.
To the human understanding the most marvelous of the nature miracles of Jesus are the feeding of the five-thousand and the four-thousand people (Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-9.) In both these cases great multitudes who had been impressed by Jesus’ teachings were following him from place to place. These crowds were looking for an earthly king and expected that Jesus would rule upon the earth. Soon after feeding the five-thousand, Jesus made it absolutely plain that his kingdom was not of this world, and that he would never be a great earthly leader. this led to a great falling away among his disciples. It lies near at hand to believe that Jesus performed these wonderful miracles to show that beyond a question he had the power that could make of him an earthly king superior to any known to history, but that the spiritual kingdom of which he was preaching, was infinitely greater than the greatest earthly kingdom that he might establish by his divine power. From this point of view the feeding of the five-thousand and of the four-thousand is one of the most impressing lessons ever taught by the Savior. There is yet a lesson that may be drawn from the miracles of feeding. The Lord in each case blessed the loaves and fishes before they were distributed. By the blessing of God little material wealth may be made more than a much larger amount which is not blessed by him.
The nature miracles of the Lord may be closed with reference to cursing of the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-22. Mark 11:13, 20-26.) This miracle at first sight seems to be out of harmony with the Savior’s humility and abundance of love. Two distinct lessons, however, can be drawn from the cursing of the fig tree. First, as explained in the above reference, that to him who has faith, nothing is impossible. There is, perhaps, however, a greater lesson in this miracle. It occurred just preceding the great test of his trial and death. He had preached the gospel, but it had been rejected by his generation. The men to whom he had preached had borne no fruit. The Savior knew that he was approaching death and that calamity would overtake those who had rejected him and were about to crucify him. As the fig tree was withered so will every man who fails to bring forth spiritual fruit wither at the last great day. Throughout all the nature miracles, it may be noted that the spirit which prompted them is God’s great love for humanity. not one of them was done in vain. They all taught some gospel principle.
Review and Questions.
1 – How may the miracles of Jesus be classified?
2 – Which class of Jesus’ miracles is the most difficult to understand?
3 – What was the purpose of Christ’s first miracle?
4 – What lessons may be learned from the miracle of the first draught of fishes? Second draught of fishes?
5 – Which of the nature miracles is the most thrilling? Why?
6 – What did the multitudes expect from Jesus?
7 – For what was Jesus working?
8 – what lesson do the miracles of feeding the multitude teach?
9 – What lesson may be drawn from the cursing of the fig tree?
3. Healing Miracles.
All of the thirty-five recorded miracles of Jesus teach great truths. The wonder of the miracles to a thinking mind is largely in the deep lessons that they impress. Of the miracles recorded in the Gospels seventeen deal with the healing of the physical ailments of the human body. the marvelous power of the Savior was constantly exercised in behalf of suffering humanity, and he found pleasure in healing those whose bodies were infirm.
One of the most loathsome diseases known to man is leprosy. It is living death. In the Holy Land, this disease was of somewhat frequent occurrence. On at least two occasions, the Savior healed persons afflicted with this terrible scourge. The first case is recorded in Mark 1:40-45 (which read). The Savior did not desire to build his Gospel upon the testimony of miracles, which appeal so strongly to the human mind, and often therefore, attempted to avoid performing them. In this instance, he evidently did not desire to heal the afflicted one, but his compassion for suffering humanity overcame him, and the miracle was performed. By this act Jesus taught the great truth that God is love and that all may rest secure in the magnitude of this love. The second case of healing lepers, recorded in Luke 17:12-19 (which read), teaches quite another lesson. Of ten lepers who were cleansed by the Savior’s power, only one came back to worship and to follow him. The lesson is distinct: Men may, gladly, receive the benefits of miracles but may not necessarily be converted by miracles – something deeper and holier is required to establish a testimony of God’s truth in the hearts of men. Many are called but few are chosen.
Five of the healing miracles made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. Two of the most interesting events of this class are found in Mark 10:46-52 (which read) and Matt. 9:27-31 (which read). In both of these cases, Jesus healed first because he was requested so to do, and secondly because of the great faith shown by the afflicted ones. Great faith is always irresistible. the Savior never refused it. One of the most interesting and instructive of these miracles is that of the healing of the man born blind as related in John 9:1-41 (which read). The Savior here declared that the man had been born blind so that the power of god might be made manifest in him. This miracle therefore was performed, evidently, to show the power of the Savior. It also led to a discussion with the enemies of Jesus, in which they were taught mighty lessons.
Then Jesus performed many miscellaneous healing miracles, by each of which he taught an important lesson. By the healing of the paralytic (read Mark 2;1-12); the withered hand (read Mark 3:1-6); the man with dropsy (read Luke 14:1-6); and the impotent man (read John 5:1-16), the Savior found occasion to teach his persecutors that it is always right to do good even on the Sabbath day. the wonderful recompense for vigorous faith is splendidly illustrated in the healing of the woman with an issue of blood (read Mark 5:25-34). In the healing of the servant’s ear, cut off by the zealous Peter, the Savior gave an example of the Christ-like love of our enemies that all men would do well to imitate (read Luke 22:49-59).
It is most instructive to note how the discussions that usually followed the miracles enabled the Savior to expound many of the most precious truths of the Gospel to those who otherwise would not listen. From this point of view the miracles possessed very high value in interesting persons in the more important phases of the Gospel.
All of the healing miracles referred to in this lesson were performed on persons who were in the immediate presence of the Savior. In some cases he laid his hands upon the sick and bade the disease depart; in other cases he placed clay and other materials upon the eyes of the blind in order to restore the sight. Several other miracles however were performed on persons who were far distant from the Savior at the time they were healed by his divine power. Thus, the Syro-Phoenician woman who implored Jesus to heal her daughter, on her return to her house found the child healed. As far as we know the Savior had not seen the afflicted child (read Mark 7:24-30).
On another occasion a Centurion who had a sick servant expressed to the Savior the belief that by his word, the absent person could be healed. In fact, when the Centurion returned to his home he found that the servant was well (read Matt. 8:5-13). As a lesson in sublime faith, this miracle is excellent. On another occasion, a nobleman whose son was lying sick, and was near the point of death, desired Jesus to go to his house to heal the boy. Instead of doing this, the Savior bade the man return, and he would find his son healed. Before the nobleman had reached his house, messengers meet him with the glad tidings that the boy was well (read John 4:46-54).
In each of these cases Jesus showed that his powers are not limited to the necessity of contact with the object to be acted upon. God uses all natural forces as his servants, and he is able to transmit his will from world to world if it be necessary. These miracles, which acted at a distance, taught much of the nature and attributes of God.
Thus, then, the healing miracles of the Savior were means whereby he was able3 to teach many important lessons. In many cases he forbade the recipients of the blessings to say anything about them, for the Gospel is not built on miracles; at other times, however, he used the miracles, publicly, to teach with emphasis the lessons that the world needed.
Review and Questions
1. How many miracles are recorded in the Gospels?
2. How many of the miracles were the healing of physical ailments of the human body?
3. Relate the miracles of healing the lepers. What lesson does each teach?
4. Why is not a strong faith built on miracles?
5. Relate some of the miracles by which the Savior made the blind to see.
6. What lesson on the power of faith may be drawn from many of the miracles?
7. Relate the miracle of the withered hand and the healing of the paralytic. What lesson is taught by these miracles?
8. What is the great lesson to be drawn from the miracle of healing the woman with an issue of blood?
9. What was the usual result of the performance of miracles by the savior?
10. Show by an example that the Lord could and did heal persons who were far removed from him.
11. How do you explain the fact that the Savior usually instructed those who were healed to say nothing about it?
4. Mind Miracles and Raising the Dead.
Man is composed of body and spirit. There are diseases of the spirit as of the body. the condition of the body influences the spirit; and any disorder of the spirit affects the body. since, however, the spirit is subtler than common matter, it is more difficult to understand and cure diseases of the spirit that the common ailments of the body. The power of the Savior penetrated body and spirit. Many of the most marvelous miracles are those that affected the spiritual part of man.
There are in existence numerous spirits. Many are good, and some are evil. At the great council in heaven, when the plan of salvation was formulated, the devil turned away one-third of the hosts of heaven, who became the angels of the devil. these spirits are not permitted to come on earth in mortal bodies. this is their great punishment. No spirit can attain full happiness unless it is clothed upon with a body obtained in a probationary earth existence. the angels of the devil know this, and attempt to circumvent the will of God in various ways. They will enter the bodies of the lower animals. Moreover, since the mission of these unclean spirits is to do evil, by their influence and suggestion they may torment the minds and bodies of men. the miracles of the Savior therefore, which dealt with the diseases of the mind frequently concerned themselves with the spirits that as emissaries of the evil one seek power over the children of men.
Very soon after the beginning of Christ’s ministry he was recognized by an evil spirit (read mark 1:23-26). The man who was possessed declared that Jesus was the “Holy One of God.” When in obedience to Christ’s command, the spirit left the man, the people marveled, for such a thing had never been seen before. This miracle must have taught to those present that Christ was indeed a divine teacher for even the spirits of evil admitted it.
This power over spirits that afflicted humanity the Savior manifested on many occasions. One of the most remarkable spirit miracles is recorded in Mark 5:1-020 (which read). Across the lake of Galilee was a man who was terribly possessed of spirits. When Jesus appeared these spirits were afraid, and pleaded with Jesus, that if cast out, they might be allowed to enter the bodies of some swine that were feeding near by. this petition was granted with the result that the frightened swine were drowned in the lake. In this case, also, the unclean spirits acknowledged the place of the Savior as the Son of God. the most striking lesson taught by this miracle is perhaps the almost uncontrollable desire of the spirits for bodies, which harmonizes with the doctrine regarding the purpose of man’s coming upon earth.
A fine lesson in the power of faith and prayer was taught in the healing of the lunatic boy (read mark 9;14-29). The apostles had been unable to heal a boy whose mind was afflicted. When the Savior had accomplished the miracle he explained that such work can be done only by fasting and prayer. It was at this time that he told his followers that if they had faith ‘as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20.)
Several of these spirit miracles show how utterly useless it is to convert men by miracles alone. The Pharisees and other persecutors of Jesus saw many of the miracles that he performed, but paid no heed to them, except to charge that they were done by the power of the devil. However, the miracles frequently resulted in discussions that confounded the Pharisees. for instance, on an occasion when the Savior had cast out an evil spirit from a boy who was dumb and blind, the Pharisees declared that it was done by the power of Beelzebub. This led Jesus to ask them if they thought that the devil would cast out his own, and if a kingdom divided against itself could stand. this silenced the enemies of God for the time being (Matt. 12:22-28).
To the human mind the greatest miracle that can be performed is the raising of the dead. No merely human agency has been able to return to life, even for a moment, a person who has passed the portal of death. Still as the history of the savior is read it becomes evident that he, the Master, has the same power over death, that he has over living things. Death is only the separation of the eternal spirit from the mortal body; and, given the power to compel the spirit to return, the fact of the raising from the dead may be understood.
The Savior did not perform this miracle of miracles very often; but whenever it was effected it caused a feeling, akin to consternation and fear, to pass over the people. over many things, many may have power, but God only is the master of death.
At the time that the savior taught, many believed that there is no life hereafter, but that death is the final end of life. It seems that Jesus raised the dead to show that this doctrine was untrue. There is no more glorious doctrine in the gospel of Christ than the knowledge that there is life hereafter, and that we shall inherit eternal life.
In the miracle of raising the dead daughter of Jairus (read Mark 5:22-24, 35-43), the Savior expressly declared that the girl slept, meaning no doubt, that the change that had come over her was not permanent, but would lead to an awakening. This he proved by recalling her immediately to a continuation of moral life. The lesson in this miracle needs no reinforcement.
However, the few miracles of this nature seem mostly to have been caused by the overflowing love of the Savior for all mankind. The raising of the widow’s son at Nain shows this. The widow was probably in poor circumstances. Her only son had died. The woman had no one but god to look to for earthly help. To human eyes it was an extremely sad case. To the clear vision of the Savior the pathos of the conditions was bared; and, filled with compassion, he returned the boy to his mother.
The raising of Lazarus was somewhat of the same nature (John 11:1-44). The Savior loved Lazarus and his two sisters. The family had frequently cared for the Savior in the day of his trial. To the home of Martha and Mary the master had often gone for earthly comfort. Now the brother was dead; and the beloved sisters were anguished in their sorrow. Christ’s love for all who suffered welled up and Lazarus was restored to life, to live until he was an old man. though this was no doubt in part the motive of this miracle, yet there was another motive of great importance to the cause of Christ. The raising of Lazarus was done as a great testimony to the might of Jesus. Lazarus had been four days dead when Jesus called him forth from the grave. No other miracle performed by the savior appears so mighty. the event occurred just before the crucifixion when great testimonies needed to be given to a wicked people. In fact, it did make a most remarkable impression upon the people who heard of it, and the news was rapidly spread over the Holy Land. It was an unheard-of marvel, even among the miracles of the Man from Nazareth.
In this manner, the miracles may be taken one by one and studied, and in all lessons of great truth may be discovered. Nothing that the savior said or did is devoid of meaning to those who seek salvation. to the Master of the Universe, the miracles were simple expressions of his infinite power and knowledge; to us, they surpass understanding.
Review and Questions.
1. What constitutes man?
2. How many spirits followed Lucifer at the rebellion in Heaven?
3. What is the great punishment of the angels of the devil?
4. Why do evil spirits enter the bodies of men and animals?
5. What did the evil spirits usually say when the Savior came near them?
6. Relate the miracle of permitting the spirits to enter the swine. What lesson can you draw from this miracle?
7. Relate the miracle of the healing of the lunatic boy. What is the great lesson of the miracle?
8. how do the miracles of Jesus show that men are not necessarily converted by miracles alone?
9. what is the greatest kind of miracle?
10. What did the miracles of raising the dead teach?
11. what is the most glorious doctrine contained in the Gospel of Christ?
12. Relate the story of the raising of the daughter of Jairus. What is its lesson?
13. Relate the story of the raising of the widow’s son at Nain. What is its lesson?
14. Why do you think Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?
Review of Lessons
One half of the miracles performed by the Savior deal with the healing of the physical ailments of the human body. On at least two occasions the Savior healed persons afflicted with the terrible scourge of leprosy. It is interesting to note that the Savior, who did not desire his followers to build their testimonies upon miracles, often avoided performing them; but when His suffering brethren came to Him with petitions, His sympathy overcame Him and the miracles were performed. In the healing of the lepers, it is also interesting to note that of ten lepers who were healed, only one came back to follow Christ. Something more than miracles is required to establish in the hearts of men a testimony of the gospel.
Five of the healing miracles made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak. In these miracles great faith was shown by those who were healed, and it would appear that great faith is always irresistible. The Savior n ever refused it.
Each of the healing miracles taught a lesson in itself, though in the great majority of cases the value of great faith was the most important lesson taught. the discussions that usually followed the performance of a miracle enabled the Savior to expound many important principles pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
Most of the healing miracles were performed upon persons who were in the vicinity of the Savior. In some cases, however, people who were far away from the Savior were touched by His healing influence. In this way Jesus showed that His powers were not limited to the necessity of contact with the object to be acted upon. God uses the natural forces as His servants, and He is able to transmit His will from world to world, if it be necessary.
Not only did the Savior perform miracles of healing the body, but diseases of the mind were frequently overcome by His divine power. The devil and his angels are bodiless, which is a part of their punishment for their rebellion in Heaven. In their great desire to possess mortal bodies, they frequently enter into the bodies of men and women to the serious injury of the person. At times they will enter even the bodies of lower animals. Many cases of individuals possessed by evil spirits, came under the notice of the Savior, and He frequently had occasion to cast out evil spirits. As a remarkable testimony of the truth of the claim of Jesus that He was the son of God, is the oft repeated statement of the Gospels that the evil spirits recognized Jesus, and openly confessed that they knew Him to be the Son of God. The casting out of devils led to many fine testimonies of the truth of the work that Jesus was establishing. However, the Pharisees, and other persecutors of Jesus, who saw many of the miracles performed, paid no heed to them, except to charge that they were done by the power of the devil. The discussions that resulted from the performance of the miracles, however, frequently confounded the enemies of Jesus.
To the human mind, the greatest miracle that can be performed is the raising of the dead. No human agency has been able to return to life, even for a moment, a person who has passed the portal of death. The Savior, however, had the power to perform this miracle of miracles. Not often did He raise the dead; but on a few occasions He compelled the spirit to return to the mortal body from which it had departed. These most wonderful miracles resulted, generally, from the overflowing love of Jesus for His fellow men. In the presence of sorrow and suffering His compassion rose uppermost, and He was impelled to give His divine aid to those who were tried. The raising of the dead man Lazarus, was one of the last miracles performed by the Savior; and as it was performed just before the week of Hist rial and execution, it had much to do with awakening in the hearts of His old enemies their fear and hatred of Him.
One by one, the miracles of the Savior may be studied; and in each one, lessons of great truth may be discovered. To the Master of the universe, the miracles were simply expressions of His infinite power and knowledge – to us, they surpass understanding.
REVIEW AND QUESTIONS.
1. How many of the miracles deal with the healing of physical ailments?
2. In many cases, what was the reason why the Savior performed miracles?
3. Why are not miracles sufficient to establish a testimony of the truth of the gospel?
4. In what way are the miracles lessons in faith?
5. What was nearly always an incidental but important result of the miracles?
6. Why do evil spirits enter the bodies of men and animals?
7. What did the evil spirits testify concerning Jesus?
8. How did the Pharisees receive the miracles?
9. What were the greatest miracles of the Savior?
10. What appears to have been the leading motive of the Savior in raising the dead?