Last Crusade: Our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected, exalted

FCF: Because we are fallen, we need a divine savior

Sermon Introduction

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal son of God. The Scriptures declare 1) His virgin birth; 2) His sinless life; 3) His miracles; 4) His substitutionary work on the cross; 5) His bodily resurrection from the dead; and 6) His exaltation to the right hand of God.

This week, we will focus on the last three: 1) His death work on the cross, 2) His resurrection, and 3) His exaltation to the right hand of God.

Only two words can describe the situation in the heavens that day: grudge match. 1,500 years before, the sun god Ra faced defeat at the hands of the one God of the Hebrews. Ra, king of the gods of the mightiest empire in the Middle East, lost to an unknown God of slaves. Ra, now going by the name of Sol among the Roman empire, the mightiest empire of its day, was still the sun god.

Against him this time, for the rematch, was the Son of that God. Sol had been demoted since Egypt. Instead of the king of the gods, he had a much smaller following. On the other hand, this upstart only had a handful of followers, and most had deserted him.

The sun god versus the Son of God. And the sun god thought he had it all in hand. This was the battle of eternity, and the winner would take all.

This battle, part of the central event in history and the central tenet of Christianity, is recorded in all four Gospels. Only eleven events in the life of Jesus are in all four gospels, and seven of them are the last week of his life or later. From the triumphal entry to the resurrection, this is the focus of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.

The four Gospels spend more pages on the trial and crucifixion of Jesus than any other event in His life. Only Matthew and Luke tell of the Virgin Birth and spend only a handful of space on it. On the other hand, John spends half of his Gospel on the last week of Jesus’ life and the resurrection. All over the epistles, Paul and the others talk about the crucifixion and the resurrection more than all other events in Jesus’ life combined. The purpose of His life was His death. The purpose of His death was the resurrection to make the way of salvation for us. And finally, He was exalted to the right hand of God.

Scripture Introduction: There are several passages this week, two for each point.

1 Corinthians 15:3 ¶ For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.

Luke 24:39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Acts 1:9, 11 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight…. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

Philippians 2:9-11 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hebrews 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Point 1. His substitutionary work on the cross (1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21)

From Adam on, people have died for their own sins. On occasion, someone would sacrifice himself for a greater cause. Sometimes even to die for a good man. However, no one died for a bad man. And we are all bad. Every one of us has sinned at some point. When you do wrong, knowing to do right, that is sin. Whenever you put your interests above those of another, that is sin. When you take instead of giving, that is sin.

In this day, we like to wrangle about what makes a sin. Pages and pages have been written. Some of the definitions very good. Some short definitions have been written, likewise good, but others will argue about extreme cases. But the best definition I’ve ever come across was by the mother of John Wesley. Suzanna Wesley taught all her children as they didn’t go to a town school. Reading, writing, numbers, and theology were on the list every day.

When John Wesley asked his mother to define sin, she thought for a moment and then gave the best answer. “John, anything you do or think that diminishes the sacred calling of God in your life or causes it to be diminished in another person, that is sin.”

Whoa. Sin is what mars you from God and separates you from Him. It is what you do that makes another draw away from Him.

Our scripture today teaches that Jesus knew no sin but became sin for us. This is what we mean by substitutionary. Jesus did not die for His own sins. He didn’t die for good men. He died for the sins of other people. He took on the sins of the world; not because He had to, but because we needed it to happen.

Why did we need it? Because with His death, we had the chance to become righteous. All that needs to be done is to take the righteousness offered. We could not do it on our own. None of us were good enough. In Him, we find our righteousness. In Him, we find that change we need. In His work, not our own, not of works lest any should boast. In His works, we may be redeemed.

It was not for His own pride He went to the cross. It was for our sins. He took the wrath of God on Himself that it might not be poured out on us. He died that we might live.

And when He died, even as the sun god rejoiced in victory, the sun was darkened. It was then known in the Heavens that Sol’s victory would be Pyrrhic at best. Oh, it didn’t look like a victory when He was on the cross and when He was put in the tomb, but Sunday was coming!

Point 2. His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matt 28:6; Luke 24:39; 1 Cor 15:4)

Many skeptics will agree that the good teacher Jesus lived and was executed. The rising from the dead is the part they cannot, nay must not, believe. Many theories have been hammered out to explain the events in purely naturalistic terms. One of them is the swoon theory, that Jesus did not die on the cross. He merely fainted. This is after having been scourged to within an inch of His life by a professional torturer. Now, placed on the cross by professional executioners, He faints from loss of fluids and blood.

These professional executioners are fooled! Even Pilate was astonished that Jesus died so quickly. They stab Him in the side and blood and water flow out. This flow is a sign of severe trauma to the body. The professional executioners, who just missed an easy stabbing, remove Him from the cross, not realizing He has only fainted. They place Him in the tomb; Pilate seals the tomb with a huge stone and stations a guard around the tomb.

Our Jesus, fainted from loss of blood, comes to in the tomb, the cold air reviving Him. Starved, almost dead from loss of blood, He awakens, pushes the stone aside (even though you couldn’t get a good grip on the stone from inside), breaking the wax seal around it, and emerges into a set of soldiers on guard. Are you still with me? Imagine how He must have looked.

And now, the professional soldiers who knew that if they failed at their duty to guard the tomb would be placed in a tomb themselves, faint. They faint at the sight of a mostly dead traveling rabbi.

Understand that this is one of the best explanations nonbelievers have for the empty tomb. Even more laughable is the wrong-tomb theory. That states that after Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus put the body in the tomb, the wrong tomb was sealed, the guards went to the wrong place, the women went to the wrong tomb, and the Disciples went to the wrong tomb. And no one ever went to the right tomb! That’s the most astonishing part of all.

One of the most ever applicable rules of logic is this: “never multiply causes beyond necessity.” It is also stated as “the simplest explanation that fits the facts is to be preferred.” Rube Goldberg hated this law of logic.

What are the undisputed facts? He lived, was executed, and the tomb was then found empty. (Some do argue that Jesus never existed. Such a stance is recognized as laughable by trained historians. Among them, you will find very few who believe Christ was a myth.)

That purpose of the resurrection was to cause a change in those who believe. And the changes began immediately. The disciples who had run from the crowd and the guards, who hid in the courtyard away from the trial, who denied Him, changed their attitude. They wouldn’t have changed from seeing a half-alive man.

Faith in Jesus’ resurrection changes everyone. Those eleven men preached in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the greater empire. The actions they took in faith turned the world upside down. Those who came after built the greatest civilization known to man.

Faith will do that. It changes people. No other explanation fits besides a bodily resurrection. Some try to make it a spiritual resurrection only, but remember, the authorities wanted to stop the spread of this new religion. If the Apostles were preaching a spiritual resurrection, that can be stopped easily. Produce the body. In fact, the Apostles challenged the authorities that very way. No. The Apostles believed in a physical resurrection.

He was resurrected to show that His sacrifice, made on our behalf, was accepted by God. And now, the redemption of the world, planned from before Adam took of the fruit, would go into high speed.

As He rose to become the first born among many brethren, the changes in His body are what we will see in our bodies after we are glorified. When glorified, the physical aspects of this world did not bother Him. He disappeared from one place and appeared in another. He walked through solid material. He was recognizable but healed.

Point 3. His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9,11; 2:33; Phil 2:9-11; Heb 1:3)

Jesus made a promise in the Gospels that if He went away, the comforter would come. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to people for 40 days. After that, He ascended to Heaven with the Disciples watching. He sat down at the right hand of God. The work of redemption was done.

Now the work of the Godhead would continue through the Holy Spirit empowering the church. The humiliation was over. The exaltation could begin, and we can benefit in several ways.

From Christ’s exaltation, we first receive Him as a friend in Heaven, interceding on our behalf to the Father. Second, He is our Great High Priest who has finished the work before Him. We who still sin have assurance in 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Third, He promised that in Heaven He would prepare a place for us to be with Him later. And that there would be room enough for everyone.

The fourth and final benefit is that of the Holy Spirit. The Comforter has come and allows us to enjoy genuine union with the Son. Christ promised that the Comforter would take the things we had learned from Jesus and bring them to mind when we needed them. This can only happen if we have first studied.

Because He is exalted, He can be anywhere on the earth at one time. During His earthly ministry, He placed to the side some of His divine prerogatives. They are now His again, and He will be wherever two or more are gathered in His name.

His name will be exalted and at His name, every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is Lord. The only question that remains is when will you do it? You can bow and confess in life and make Him lord. On the other hand, some, many even, will refuse in life and have to confess and bow after death. But then is too late. Decisions made today have consequences that echo throughout eternity.

Conclusion

Our Lord Jesus Christ. The central figure of history. Our calendar is divided into BC and AD on His birth. Born to die. Died to rise again. Risen to be exalted.

That day in the heavens were silent. The sun god had lost again to the God of the Hebrews. Crucified. Resurrected. Exalted. In His defeat, victory was made for us. And in His rising, death was defeated for all.

You don’t have to be the same as you used to be. You can make that change yours. Faith in Jesus will make all the difference. The same benefits He gave to the first believers are available to every believer these days. The promise of the Spirit was given to those who were there at His exaltation as well as to those who were afar off.

Do you want those benefits? Today, take Jesus as your Lord, confess and be saved. Join yourself to the crucified, risen, and exalted King of Kings.

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LOU’S on Sale!

 

Lou's Bar & Grill Cover

The Return of Lou’s

If you’ve been waiting for LOU’S to go on sale, this is the time to grab it!

People often ask where I got the idea for SEVEN DEADLY TALES. Like all book ideas, it came from several sources. More than 20 years ago, I had the idea to write a collection of Faustian Bargains but did nothing with it as I didn’t consider myself a writer.

Fast forward to the fall of 2013. I had a flash of inspiration for a set of stories where people get the chance to change something about themselves. That became JOSHUA’S PAWN SHOP (forthcoming), and it was heavily influenced by one of my favorite TWILIGHT ZONE episode, “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium.”

While brainstorming the stories for JOSHUA’S and writing the first, “The Buick Eight,” I imagined a set of companion stories called LOU’S BAR & GRILL. Whereas stories at JOSHUA’S involve correcting a mistake, LOU’S involve customers embracing their inmost desires to make a new mistake. In the same brainstorming session, I settled on each story focusing on one of the seven deadly sins. “Crazy Moon” was the first written; “Sixes Wild” followed soon after.

The stories are morality plays, each one intended to leave a moral in the reader’s mind. Though they teach and have a message, I hope that first of all they entertain the reader. Several readers have also mentioned the Twilight Zone feel they all share. Indeed, THE TWILIGHT ZONE was an inspiration, and to make sure I get that feel right, I often watch episodes when writing LOU’S stories. While watching “Sanctuary,” I made the comment, “Call the new girl Sheila, and this is a Lou’s story.”

If you’re looking for Twilight Zone morality plays, you can get LOU’S BAR & GRILL: SEVEN DEADLY TALES now through the morning of the 9th for 99c!

Lou's Bar & Grill Cover

The Return of Lou’s

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LOU’S Returns!

Lou's Bar & Grill Cover

The Return of Lou’s

This Easter, April 1, 2018, LOU’S BAR & GRILL returns. Picked up by Superversive Press, this revised edition is 20% longer than what you might have read before.

This bar has no regulars. But it’s not a regular bar.

Customers drift into Lou’s Bar & Grill with the usual broken hearts and unfulfilled dreams, but Lou knows what they want and how to serve it up for them…for a price. There’s beer on tap for the average customer, but Lou recognizes the special customers, the ones who need just a little bit more.

Sheila sidles up to the table and asks what they want. A burger? Sure. But maybe Brad also craves that hot woman who’s always turned him down. Maybe Laney’s still humiliated by her cheating ex, and she’d gladly rip out his heart.

Moe can grill up that burger, and Lou’s got beer on tap, but once they sign their names at the bottom of the order pad, they might just get the house special. It’s a bargain–a Faustian bargain–and seven customers are about to get everything their hearts desire.

Lou’s Bar & Grill isn’t for the faint of heart. Everything they want is within their grasp, but always remember that when the Devil writes the contract, he’s also in all the details.

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Last Crusade: Our Lord Jesus Christ, Virgin Born, Sinless, and Miracle Working

FCF: Because we are fallen, we need a divine savior

Sermon Introduction

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal son of God. The Scriptures declare 1) His virgin birth; 2) His sinless life; 3) His miracles; 4) His substitutionary work on the cross; 5) His bodily resurrection from the dead; and 6) His exaltation to the right hand of God.

This post, we will focus on the first three: 1) His virgin birth; 2) His sinless life; and 3) His miracles. Before those, however, we will look at why we call Him “the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Scripture Introduction: There are six passages this week, two for each point.

Matthew 1:23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

Luke 1:31, 35 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus…. The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Hebrews 7:26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

1 Peter 2:22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know–

Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Point 1. The identification, “The Lord Jesus Christ”

We often use these three words together when speaking about our Lord. The Holy Spirit is never one to waste words in Scripture. So why these three?

First, He is called Lord because He is God. In the Ten Commandments, believers are enjoined to never say the Lord’s name lightly. To be sure they never did this, faithful Jews in the time before Christ took care to never say the name of God. Even now, they will use “lord,” or write “G-d.” When reading the Scriptures that have the name of God, they will read “adonai” (which means Lord) instead of reading His name. The tradition goes back very far. Another way to get around saying “God” is “Heaven.” For example, in the Intertestamental book of First Maccabees, when badly outnumbered, one of the brothers in charge of the army tells his soldiers, “Does it matter to Heaven to win by many or by few?” He doesn’t mean the place. He means the ruler of Heaven.

But, you say, calling a man lord can just mean that he’s a superior to you. This is true, but that is not how Scripture uses it. At the end of John’s Gospel, when seeing the holes in Jesus’ hands, Thomas calls Jesus “my God and my Lord.” That is not the confession of seeing a mere mortal superior! That is seeing the divine savior in His glory.

Back then, Jews always used the word ‘lord’ with great reverence. It wasn’t used flippantly, like ‘boss.’ It was something above ‘sir.’ And, as you know, he who is called Lord must be obeyed. To say “no lord” is to say “not lord.”

The second part is “Jesus” which is His personal name. It is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Joshua. Joshua was the successor to Moses, and a very beloved name. It means “Jehovah is salvation.” The angel instructed Mary to give that name to the baby before He was born. This part of the name reminds us that He is human, that He took on humanity’s form, like us, so that He could suffer with us. We do not have a God who is far off and never been through what we have. He is with us as we walk along the way. He has been there and carried that heavy cross all the way to Calvary.

He is a person who lived at a specific time and place in history. Christianity hangs its promises not on a man who lived way back whenever, but a man whose place in time can be located. You can go to Jerusalem and walk along the same way that Jesus did. You can go to the places that are believed to be the Garden, the manger, and Calvary.

The final part of the name is Christ. This is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah. It was not a last name. Joseph and Mary Christ did not travel from Galilee to Judea. It is a title. It means “anointed one” and was used first to speak of kings and priests who were doing the work of God, it came to mean a very certain promised one.

Think about what we see from that full identification. Lord means He is God and He is in charge. Jesus reminds us that He is a man, the savior of the world, the lamb slain for sins. Christ means He is the Messiah, the promised one.

Point 2. His virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31, 35)

Atoning for the sins of man required a human being. God the son had to become a human being. Revelation tells us this “lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world.” God’s first promise in Scripture after Adam and Eve ate of the tree is that “the seed of the woman” will be an eternal enemy of the serpent who had just tempted them into sin. That’s an odd way to put it. A child is the man’s seed, but God here says the woman’s seed. That indicates the promised seed will be special.

As we go along in Scripture, another promise is given. This time, King Ahaz is in trouble. Armies threaten his kingdom. He considers making an alliance though the ally is untrustworthy. The prophet Isaiah comes to him and says that God will give a sign. Ahaz has a moment of false piety and says he will not ask for a sign. Isaiah gives him a sign anyway. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive…”

Now that’s got to get your attention. Everyone knows that virgins don’t conceive. We might look back on prior times and wrongly think them stupid because they don’t have all the cool toys we do, but they knew this fact of life. Virgins don’t have children.

Jesus had to come as a man so that He would have man’s nature. Jesus had two natures, God and human, both at 100%. He was fully human and fully God. That allows Him to be the mediator between God and us. We have one nature, and it is broken. He has two, and they are complete and perfect. We have Adam’s nature, a sinful nature, but the Holy Spirit protected Him from the broken part of the human nature.

Before we go to the next point, I want us to see one more thing in the announcement in Luke. All three members of the trinity are named in it. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you… the power of the Most High will overshadow you… shall be called the Son of God.”

In Romans 5, Jesus is called the Second Adam. Just as the first Adam had no human father, neither did Jesus. In fact, Luke calls Adam the “son of God” in Luke 3. This draws the two together in a theme. They aren’t the son of God in the same way, but they are the both the son of God. Paul continues that the first Adam failed but the second Adam succeeded. Can’t you get excited about that. That victory over sin, and Jesus was tempted to sin just as we are, made it possible for all of us to be victorious!

Seed of the woman. The virgin born. Detailed in Matthew and Luke’s gospels to show us that He is both human and divine. While Mark and John don’t say virgin born, both of them let us know that Jesus’ birth was known to be unusual. In fact, neither Mark nor John tell us anything about Jesus’ childhood. Matthew and Luke do. In Mark, Jesus is called Mary’s son. That’s odd. A person was called by their father’s name. In Matthew, Jesus refers to Peter as “son of Jonas.” In John, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being illegitimate. Paul calls Jesus the “son of the woman.”

While the Virgin Birth is not repeated all over Scripture the way the death and resurrection are, it forms an important part of how we view Jesus. He is all man and all God. His human nature and divine nature together make Him the link between God and man.

At this time of year, the old lie runs around that Christians use December 25 as Christmas because they were trying to overtake a pagan holiday. Actually, we can read they they choose that date. It wasn’t just grabbed from the air. The early church writes about why they took December 25. It’s because they were working from a tradition that important men died on the anniversary of their conception. Since Jesus’ date of death is known, 14 Nisan, they calculated the year in which He would have been born and the date of birth then falls on December 25th. Our Eastern Orthodox brethren celebrate Christmas on January 7. That is because they calculated a different year of death. The Jewish calendar does not line up with our calendar exactly, so dates from one year to the next can be in different places against ours.

Point 3. His sinless life (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22)

Since Adam, we have all fallen. We’re born with original sin on us. As David said, “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51:4). Jesus had no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.

There are many things I can imagine. I can imagine a person who likes dry toast with warm milk. I can imagine not doing certain things in the past. I can imagine making different decisions. I can imagine not doing many sins, but I can’t imagine being completely sinless. I would like to be, but I won’t be.

The Messiah had to be sinless to make the sacrifice for us because sin was the problem. Some say it takes a thief to catch a thief, but to atone for sin once and for all required a high priest with no sin who was also the sacrifice.

Mankind desired a solution and it had to come from outside themselves. But it had to be a man to do it. We needed a high priest without sin. And with the sin nature in us already, the Messiah had to come in such a way as to avoid that sin nature: hence, the Virgin Birth. By not having a human father, He had no original sin.

Understand me, He was tempted. We are told about the temptation in the wilderness several times. Later, we read that He was tempted in every way we are but never sinned. Something to conclude from this: temptation is not sin. I’ll repeat. It is not a sin to be tempted. If it were, Jesus would have sinned. However, Jesus overcame the temptation. And God promises to provide a way out for us when we are tempted to sin. God never desires for us to sin, and He never makes a situation where the only choice is to sin.

A very old heresy says that since we ought to live a sinless life, God has made such within our grasp. That is, by sheer force of will and careful actions all our life, we can be without sin. The originator of this heresy also concluded that Adam’s sin marred his soul but not anyone else’s. There’s a reason the church condemned that teaching hard!

This argument against original sin is refuted in Scripture many times. Let us look at Romans 5, just for an example:
• “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (verse 12).
• “Many died by the trespass of the one man” (verse 15).
• “The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation” (verse 16).
• “By the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man” (verse 17).
• “One trespass resulted in condemnation for all people” (verse 18).
• “Through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners” (verse 19).

Six times in eight verses. You can add to that Romans 3:10-18; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1; and many others. Gee, it’s almost like God is making sure we know that we sin because it’s in our nature.

But we do know that God wants us to live perfect lives. He says twice, “be perfect, for I am perfect.” So how? Jesus is our example. How do we live a perfect life? We ask God to change our nature. Our old nature will take us to sin. When God removes the heart of stone, as the prophet calls it, He replaces it with a heart of flesh. That’s the new nature, from God, that can overcome sin. That’s the only way. Change out that old nature for a new one. This is the nature that Christ had, unmarred by original sin and completely uncorrupted.

However, we will make a choice. You see, every part of mankind has been touched by sin. Every part of us has been corrupted. We are not as we should be. Only a man could make the needed sacrifice, but only God would be without sin. Hence, the God-man. Hence, God the Son came down as a man, born of a virgin, to live a sinless life, and make the sacrifice that we could not.

Point 4. His miracles (Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38)

When we think about what makes Jesus the Messiah, His miracles are on the list but a little ways down. For the early church, the miracles of Christ played a major role in proving He was from God. It was believed back then that miracles could not be done unless the person was a prophet of the God most High. When Jesus did miracles, they noticed that He was not in the power structure of the day. He wasn’t a priest.

While some believe that the ancient world was very open to miracles and saw miracles in every little thing no matter how mundane, the time of Jesus was actually very skeptical of claims to miracles. They had to be investigated and authenticated. It wouldn’t do to just claim they had happened. This is similar to Paul challenging his critics to come to Jerusalem and see where it all happened.

But Jesus’ miracles showed that He was from God. Miracles still happen today. Jesus promised that we would do greater miracles than He did. And we even see this happening in the New Testament. Jesus touched people to heal them, but Peter’s shadow falling across a man brought healing.

As the Gospel of John tells us, the things that Jesus did could not be contained if all the books in the world were added up. There were places when He healed many, and places where He healed few because of their lack of faith. His hometown was one of the places where He healed few. Also in John, Jesus staked His reputation on the miracles, “at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves” (John 14:11).

How do we know if a miracle is real? Beyond the question of seeing it with our own eyes or having a person we trust confirm it, what makes a miracle a real miracle? Is it how it goes against the laws of nature? We know that Satan can perform tricks to delude others. Consider other religions that have miracles in their traditions. Do you think they were so fooled they wrote things that didn’t happen? No, they happened, but they were not from God.

The main question we should ask about a miracle is this: Does it glorify God? That is the heart of the matter. A genuine miracle will glorify God. A counterfeit miracle will distract from God. All of Jesus’ miracles pointed to God and glorified God.

Conclusion

What will you do with the Messiah? He is our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you act like you believe it? Maybe you don’t or didn’t until today. Take this time to come to God. Make things right! You will never have a better chance than right now. In some ways, He is not like us. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and performed miracles. Those first two are completely out of our capabilities. We’ve already been born and are sinful. Miracles can happen at our hands only by His grace and to His glory.

However, we can be made spotless by His actions. If we put our faith in Him, He will remove our sin. That miracle can be granted at anytime. All you have to do is respond to that call on your heart right now. Respond and repent, turn from your sins.

Faith, the kind of faith He gives, will always be responded to. That’s a miracle waiting for you.

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