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Why Follow Jesus?

Chapter 16: Jesus, The Great Teacher (Miracles)

As we have learnt earlier, Jesus is not just a prophet. He is much more than that. The Bible declares him to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.[1] The things He did and said are witnesses to His authority and power. He said to some unbelieving Jews: "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."[2]

Both the Qur'an and the Bible agree that Jesus did miracles. He gave sight to the blind, and He raised the dead to life among other things. In the Gospels we find that through His sayings and miracles Jesus wanted to show the significance of His coming from God. He performed miracles in response to particular needs. It was never merely to prove that He could perform miracles, but because He had something more to teach people.

The first miracle

At a wedding party Jesus changed water into wine (see glossary). It had such a beautiful taste that the guests had never tasted anything like it before.[3] Now what was Jesus showing by this? He was showing that He was bringing in something, [His Kingdom], that was far better than anything that had gone before. We learn from this miracle that God is the Master of quality. Whoever and whatever we may be when we accept Jesus as our Saviour, He changes us, melts us, and moulds us into something of great quality.

Life to a child

A bewildered father came to Jesus and asked Him if He would go back with him to the village where his child lay dying. Jesus said to the man , "You may go. Your son will live."[4] The father went back, and while He was still on the way, his servant met him and told him that the boy was living. He asked as to the time when his son got better and realized that it was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him,"Your son will live." He and his household believed in Jesus.

We learn from this event that Jesus has the power to overcome distances. God is never far from us. Jesus said, "...surely I am with you always ...". [5] No wonder he was named Jesus, which means the Lord saves. We should turn to Him who has unlimited power.

A man at the pool

The pool of Bethesda was well known in first-century Jerusalem. Crowds of sick people used to gather around this pool everyday. There was a legend that when the water was stirred up, the first sick person into the water would be healed.[6]

One day Jesus went to visit the pool and saw a sick man lying there on his mat. For thirty-eight years he had been paralysed. Jesus said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" Then He told him to get up and pick up his mat and walk. The man was immediately cured and did what Jesus had told him.

What do we learn from this event? We may be the worst and most wretched person but there is the door of repentance is open to us. Jesus can forgive and heal us, but it depends on our willingness. God's plan of salvation through Jesus cannot be forced on anyone. There has to be openness to God, to allow Him to make us whole people. He is in control of the situation, but He will never force His way into our lives unless we are willing to accept Jesus as our saviour.

Feeding several thousand people

On one occasion Jesus amazed a crowd of over 5,000 by feeding them all, using just a few loaves of bread and some fish. Many people had gathered around Him. The place was very remote and it was late in the day. The apostles wanted to send the people away, but Jesus wanted to feed them. One of the apostles found a boy who had five small barley loaves and two small fish. He asked Jesus, "How far will they go among so many?" but Jesus did not answer. Instead He directed His disciples to make all the people sit down in groups on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, He gave thanks, and and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. They all ate, and afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of broken pieces of bread and fish that were left.[7]

What do we learn?

People were looking for a Messiah who would look after them. They were more concerned about their bodily needs. They ran after Jesus to make Him their king, but later Jesus told them clearly that His real purpose in coming to the world was to save people.[8] He told them that their forefathers had been given food and had been helped in their physical needs in the wilderness, but those people had not lived long. By contrast, the food Jesus brought lasts forever, and it is He Himself on whom we have to feed.

For those who have believed in Jesus there is something more to be learned from this event. Here was a boy with only a few loaves and fish, but God was able to multiply them. Here is an encouragement for us; whatever we can give God of time, energy, and income, He is able to multiply the result. He is the master of quantity.

Jesus walks on water

After feeding the multitude, Jesus asked His disciples to take a boat and go ahead of Him. They left, and rowed towards their destination, but because of a strong wind blowing against them they were very slow. It was already dark and Jesus had not yet joined them. After they had rowed about three miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him, they thought He was a ghost and cried out. Immediately He said to them, "Take courage ... Don't be afraid."

When Peter saw this, he asked if he also would be able to walk on the water. Jesus said, "Come." Peter got down and walked on the water towards Jesus, but when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and saved Him.[9]

A lesson for us

Jesus is the master of nature. When we decide to follow Him, He says, "Come and follow me." And when we face trouble and cry to Him to save us, He is there to help. He calmed a storm and enabled Peter to walk on the surface of the water. This may not seem very relevant to us today. However it teaches us that in every situation of life Jesus is present and His confidence and calmness are available to those who believe in Him. Today Jesus also stills the storms in the hearts of many people. No matter what trouble, pain or sorrow there may be in a believer's life, with Jesus there is peace.

Jesus : the master of life

Jesus gave sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and gave life to the dead. Lazarus had been dead for three days and had been buried, but when Jesus cried out at his tomb, "Lazarus, come out.", he came out alive.[10]

Thus, Jesus has the power to raise the dead. No wonder He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."[11] Jesus is coming again to judge the world. He has promised to raise his followers to eternal life.[12]

Conclusion

The miracles and teaching of Jesus are, "written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name."[13]


References

  1. Revelation 19:11-16
  2. John 10:37-38
  3. John 2:1-11
  4. John 4:46-54
  5. Matthew 28:20; 1:22-24
  6. John 5:1-9
  7. John 6:1-14
  8. John 6:22-71
  9. John 6:16-21; Mark 6:47-50; Matthew 14:22-32
  10. John 11: 1-45
  11. John 11:25
  12. John 6:40
  13. John 20:31

 

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