Another early miracle, the healing of the paralyzed man at Capernaum (KJV, “one sick of the palsy”), who was lowered through the roof by his friends, appears in all three Synoptic gospels (Mark 2:1–12; Matthew 9:1–8; Luke 5:17–26). The scene is set with Jesus teaching inside a private home, which overflowed with people who came to hear him. The only way that the paralyzed man’s friends could bring him close to Jesus was to tear up the roof of the house and lower him down through the hole. Jesus acknowledged their efforts as a sign of their faith, but before healing the man, he makes a pronouncement that causes contention with some of the Jewish scribes present: “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5). Continue reading
One of the earliest miracles recorded in the Synoptics is the cleansing of a leper (Mark 1:40–45; Matthew 8:1–4; Luke 5:12–15). Leprosy in the biblical world was not necessarily the better known Hansen’s Disease. Instead, it was a catch-all condition for a spectrum of conditions that affected the skin or even clothing and dwellings (see Leviticus 13:1–59). While some cases may have indeed involved considerable deformity and sickness, every instance of biblical leprosy had significant ritual, and hence social, implications as the sufferer was excluded from religious life and often even the company of others. Hence, the leper who first approached Jesus needed help and attention beyond simply being healed of his disease. Continue reading
By Eric D. Huntsman. From Miracles of Jesus, 25–29, and cross-posted at http://huntsmannewtestament.blogspot.com/
The nature miracles in the gospels not only emphasize that Jesus was in fact the Creator, they also underscore that he was the one who sustained and nurtured his creation. In the Hebrew Bible, God is described as providing for both man and beast, giving them plants and fruit for food (Genesis 1:29–30). Similarly, in his own Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reaffirmed that Heavenly Father fed fowls of the air (Matthew 6:25–26). Psalm 104 taught that YHWH provides for the needs of all creation, poetically proclaiming that “He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. . . . He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. . . .These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good” (Psalm 104:10–11, 14–15, 27–28, emphases added). These references to Jehovah’s being the source of wine and bread thus serve as models for Jesus’ miracles of providing wine and bread during his ministry. Such miracles of provision are often called “gift miracles,” and two factors distinguish them from most of Jesus’ other miracles. First, while there is an apparent need in each instance, there is no direct request for aid or help, reflecting that the Lord knows that our “heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:32). Second, the way in which the miracle is actually accomplished is not clearly described, perhaps symbolizing that God’s efforts in providing for us often go unrecognized. Continue reading
By Eric D. Huntsman. This post is also posted at http://huntsmannewtestament.blogspot.com/.
This week’s assigned lesson is Luke 4:14–32; 5; 6:12–16; and Matthew 10. With the exception of Matthew 10, the Mission Sermon, the decision to use passages from Luke makes sense inasmuch as Luke uses the term “apostle” six times as often as the other Gospels and perhaps with Acts, his next volume on the history of the apostolic church in mind, he is in many ways more sensitive to the calling and position of apostolos. Continue reading
S. Kent Brown
All the New Testament Gospels preserve one memory or another of Jesus’ call of his first disciples. The most extensive account appears in Luke 5:1–11. Matthew and Mark report Jesus’ purposeful stroll along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and his call of Peter with Andrew and James with John; Mark adds the note that James and John leave their father Zebedee in the boat when they follow after Jesus (Matthew 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20). John’s Gospel records the initial curiosity of two of the Baptist’s disciples—one is Andrew and the other likely is John himself—which turns into commitment and leads to other disciples joining Jesus (John 1:35–51). Luke, on the other hand, narrates the miracle of the fish and how it affects the two pairs of brothers. Continue reading