Tag Archive | "miracles"

Little Miracles

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The Lord Jesus performed some amazing miracles during His time on earth.  Most Christians know that He raised Lazarus from the dead, healed the sick, and fed thousands of people with only a few loaves and fishes.  On some of these occasions, many people were present to see the miracles.  They knew what the Lord had done, and there could be no doubt they had witnessed a miracle – something that could not be explained by natural laws.  These miracles demonstrated to people in a very powerful way that God was working before their very eyes.  However, there are some other occasions when the Lord Jesus showed that He was God by what He revealed in only a few words.  He revealed that He knew something that no one except God could possibly know.  

 

 

A Woman At A Well

 

In John 4, we read about one of those times.  The Lord and His disciples had been going throughSamaria.  In one of the cities of that region, a city called Sychar, the Lord sat down on a well.  When a woman who lived in the area came to draw water from the well, the Lord asked her for a drink.  He told her about living water – the Gospel that brings eternal life.  Then He asked her to call her husband.  In John 4:17-18, we read what happened after that:

 

The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:  For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

 

Although the woman may not have understood what the Lord told her about living water, she definitely understood the importance of what she had just heard.  How could a stranger possibly know about her five husbands?  In John 4:19, we read her reply:

 

The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

 

She then asked the Lord a question about where God ought to be worshipped; but she didn’t forget what the Lord had demonstrated to her.  Notice in John 4:29 what she said after she left the Lord and went into the city:  

 

Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

 

 

Zacchaeus

 

When the Lord Jesus traveled toJerusalemfor the last time (see Luke 18:31-33), he went by the city ofJericho.  Many people were there that day to see the Lord.  In Luke 19:2, we read about one of them – a man named Zacchaeus:

 

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

 

Zacchaeus wanted to get close enough to see the Lord, but he couldn’t do it because there were too many people there and he was short.  He figured out a solution to his problem, as we read in Luke 19:3-4:

 

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.  And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

 

From the tree, Zacchaeus was able to see who the Lord was; but he also got a big surprise when the Lord came by.   Luke 19:5 tells us what happened:

 

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.

 

The Lord looked up, saw Zacchaeus in the tree and called him by his name!  This event might remind you of what we read in John 10:3:

 

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

 

Zacchaeus had a bad reputation among the city’s religious leaders because he was a tax collector.  Even more than that, he was rich; but there is no doubt that he was one of the Lord’s sheep.  The Lord made this clear when He spoke to Zacchaeus, as recorded in Luke 19:9-10:

 

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

How can we understand what the Lord said about seeking and saving that which was lost?  We know that even before the world began, God chose everyone who would ever be saved (Ephesians 1:4-5).   Because Adam was the first member of the human race, every other human being was in a sense “in Adam” when he and Eve sinned.  Therefore, when Adam sinned they were lost – even though they hadn’t even been born.  The Lord Jesus came to seek and to save Zacchaeus, just as He had come to seek and to save that woman at the well.

 

 

Nathanael

 

You won’t find Nathanael’s name in a list of the twelve apostles, but he is believed to be one of them.  He is thought to be the same man called Bartholomew.  The reasoning for this has to do with the apostle Philip.

 

Philip is mentioned in connection with Nathanael in the fourth Gospel (John 1), where we read about the first apostles being called.  Then, we find Philip mentioned with Bartholomew where the names of the twelve apostles are listed.  (It’s interesting that each of the three lists – Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16 – appears to have a different name for one of the apostles.  It appears that Judas the brother of James, Lebbaeus, and Thaddaeus were the same person, and the one who recorded the book of Jude.  See also Matthew 13:55 and Jude 1).

 

Nathanael was skeptical when Philip first told him about the Lord Jesus, as we read in John 1:46:

 

And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

 

Apparently, the town God chose for the Lord Jesus didn’t have a very good reputation!  Nathanael, however, soon knew that Philip was right.  The Lord spoke to him even before he could say a word.  In John 1:47-48, we read:

 

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

 

Nathanael was astonished at what the Lord said, as we see from John 1:49:

 

Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

 

Nathanael had been a distance away from the Lord, out of sight from the Lord’s location and under a fig tree.  No one in the area could have known that Nathanael had recently been under a fig tree; but the Lord knew.

 

 

 A Woman Bent for 18 years

 

During His ministry, the Lord Jesus performed many healing miracles.  One of them was to heal a woman who was bent over and could not straighten up herself.  We read about this woman in Luke 13, beginning in Luke 13:10-11:

 

And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.

 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

 

God is giving us a detail about the woman here – that she had this terrible affliction for 18 years; but that doesn’t mean it was commonly known among people there.  In Luke 13:12-13 we read what happened to the woman:

 

And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.  And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  

 

Besides the woman, there may have been others who also glorified God for this miracle; but the ruler of the synagogue wasn’t one of them.  In fact, he spoke to the congregation to tell them not to come to be healed on the Sabbath day because men ought not to work then (Luke 13:14).  In Luke 13:15-16, we read the Lord’s response:

 

The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?  And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

 

Between the mighty miracle and the Lord’s teaching about the Sabbath, it’s easy to overlook something the Lord said in this last verse: the words “lo, these eighteen years.” 

 

The Greek word translated “lo” is Strong’s number G2400: “idou.”   Grammatically, that word is called a particle.  It’s a demonstrative particle used to call attention to something.  Most of the time, it’s translated as “behold;” but it’s also translated as “lo” or “see.”  The English word “lo” is an archaic word that probably comes from the word “look.”  In other words, when you see the word “lo,” make sure you look at what follows! 

 

In this case, what follows is the Lord telling everyone how long the woman had been suffering from that condition: eighteen years.  How could anyone know that fact about her?  By giving us that little word “lo,” it’s almost as if God is showing us He can check His records about someone to know anything there is to know about a person.  This indeed was a little miracle!

 

 

God Knows

 

The Bible reveals that God began preparing for His children even before the world began, when He paid for their sins.  This work continues throughout their lives; and it will continue until the last day or the end of their lives – whichever comes first.

 

The Lord Jesus said something very memorable to His disciples in Matthew 10:30:

 

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

 

Yes, the Bible reveals that God knows everything there is to know about His children down to the smallest details.  He knows all their sins, He knows where they have been, and He knows their names.  He also knows what they have suffered and how long they have been suffering.  However, through all their sufferings they have a wonderful promise.  We find it at the end of the first Gospel account, in Matthew 28:

 

lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

Expect a Miracle

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Witness a Miracle

To Cicero, the Roman orator and statesman of the first century B.C., has been attributed the saying “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”  The expression is, like many of its ilk, self-evident.  Without life, there can be no hope.

 

Sometimes, however, it is difficult to perceive hope within life.  The absence of hope within life is despair, an emotion that has driven many into insanity, senseless acts of violence, and suicide.  It is easy for an individual to write off a bad day; we all have them.  But, how easily can one dispense with a bad week, a bad month, a bad year, or a bad decade?

 

When one is in a state of despair, it seems as if the forces of nature, the stars, albeit the entire universe is aligned against him.  All roads are jammed, all news is negative, and all attempts to communicate one’s plight fall on deaf ears.  The people with whom this unfortunate individual is closest not only do not hear his message, they continue to place demands upon his already spent resources.

 

To paraphrase Horatio Nelson, British admiral and naval hero, “Desperate times require desperate measures.”  But, acting out of desperation rarely produces a desired result.  Desperation clouds one’s abilities to think rationally.  Acting irrationally is usually unproductive, like building a house on a foundation of sand.

 

What then is the remedy for one in the throes of despair?  Faith and hope in a beneficent, just, and merciful Diving Being controlling a seemingly chaotic universe.  Alexander Pope, the English poet, expressed the sentiment “Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.”

 

In short, if you find yourself despairing your place in this world, expect a miracle.  Its very expectation exponentially increases the possibility of its occurrence.  And, faith born of expectation engenders the hope that will sustain you in even the “darkest of hours.” 

Angels on Our Shoulders

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Angels on Our Shoulders

It seems that the age of miracles never ends.  Every day we hear the word “miracle” used to explain otherwise unexplainable circumstances.  Recently, we had a “Miracle on the Hudson River.”  Was it a miracle or was it skilled flying techniques that saved the lives of the passengers and flight crew aboard U S Airways Flight 1549?  While many of the passengers were convinced that the hand of God had touched them, some others believed that things worked out in the passengers’ favor as they were “just lucky.”  Was it luck or was it something else?  Even the Catholic Church investigates every facet of an event before declaring it a miracle.

 

Along with miracles come guardian angels who help perform these wonders.  According to tradition, every human being has a guardian angel protecting him from harm.  Many people have had life-threatening experiences and came away unscathed.  Was it luck, or do angels really exist?

 

I, for one, believe in miracles.  In 1945, while I was training to be an infantry replacement, the Battle of the Bulge was raging in Europe.  My mother prayed fervently for my safety, and before I shipped off to Europe, the war in Germany ended.  In August of 1945, I was in the Pacific Ocean on a troop ship heading for the Invasion of Japan when the Captain of the ship announced the surrender of the Japanese to the Allied Forces.  Did my mother’s prayers to Divine beings save me twice, or was it luck?

 

As a result of things uttered by officers and troops during World War II battles, many sayings were incorporated into the American vernacular, including “Loose lips sink ships,” “Was this trip necessary?” and, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  However, many other things were said during this bloody, four-year conflict, including countless Hail Mary’s and other prayers to Jesus, God, and saints.

 

So, do I believe in “Angels on our shoulders?”  You bet I do.  They kept me from becoming a casualty of war, permitting me – at the age of 82 – to write this article today. 

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