In his book, "A Shorter Life of Christ" (1970), Donald Guthrie speaks about the miracles of Jesus, from their being done, to how they are viewed, what makes a miracle, and what gives us the rational reason why we can believe in the miracles Jesus performed in His time on earth.
The historical approaches to Jesus' miracles include: rationalize and retain; discounted
and ignored; and scientific skepticism. The miracles were rationalized and retained because they were thought to be true, or they were discounted as being false and ignored completely as falsehood. These days science tried to prove or disprove the miracles based on non-spiritual belief, but on the belief that, if man can't make it happen, it cannot be done and must be discarded as bunk (p. 162).
There are two categories of miracles: healing miracles (bodies being healed in one way or another, or brought back from the dead; and nature miracles (multiplying food, cursing a fig tree to not bear fruit). Some of the miracles could be explained medically and some could not, such as a dead body brought back to life, or a crippled body being restored back to its normal function. Where Jesus was more concerned with spiritual healing, man, today, is more concerned with healing the mind first, then the body (p. 163-64).
Then there is the characteristic pattern of the miracles that Jesus performed. First there was a description of what type of healing needed to be performed. Jesus always looked for a desire to be healed on the part of the recipient. If they showed faith that Jesus could in fact heal them, it showed that they trusted Him, which always brought Jesus great joy and satisfaction that the person's faith in God was strong. The Bible then shows the healing being done, and then gives us the result of the healing. Jesus usually made it a point to tell the healed person, if they were not part of a crowd, not to tell anyone except for the priest if a sacrifice needed to be made for the healing (p. 164-65).
What determines how we view the verification of Christ's miracles comes through those who eye-witnessed the healings. Verification, as Donald Guthrie says in his book, is based on the number of people who actually witnessed the healing. In the Gospels we have some of the same instances of healing, but with a different amount of people being healed or eye-witnessed (the man of Generas). Usually for us, the more people that eye-witness an event, the more believable that event becomes when all involved give the same, accurate account of the event viewed. Also, as Mr. Guthrie says, one eye-witness is enough, but that most would look to see if the miracle had a good probability of having happened based on one's dependence "on the concept of the power of Jesus" (p. 166).
But what truly provides the most significant foundation for the reality of Christ's miracles is not only the firm belief on the part of Jesus' followers, of those who were healed, or those who witnessed the healing, and those who know Christ today, but is based on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. If we can believe that a man actually rose from the dead, then we can believe that that same man can heal people and miraculously manipulate nature (p. 165).
The purpose of Christ's miracles was not for His own self promotion, or just to prove that He was the long awaited Messiah. Jesus performed miracles because He was following His Father's Will, as the Son of God, to bring salvation to the world and to show the world that God cares about His creation and the humans He created to enjoy it (p. 169).
Guthrie, D. (1970). A shorter life of christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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