Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.
Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders

Do you ever wonder what is was like for the Father and the Son before Jesus became man?  They had glory in each other’s presence.  They were complete together, the Father loving the Son and the Son loving the Father.  Before giving himself up to death for us Jesus prayed:  “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made.”  (John 17:4-5)  This was his prayer and it’s our deepest desire.

Glory in this context is something like fame, honor, exceedingly great reputation, indescribable beauty, luminosity, brilliant light, or as Augustine suggests,”brilliant celebrity with praise”.  The following verses give a sense of it.

Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Again I shall do what you have asked, because you enjoy my favour and because I know you by name.’  He then said, ‘Please show me your glory.’  Yahweh said, ‘I shall make all my goodness pass before you, and before you I shall pronounce the name Yahweh; and I am gracious and I take pity on those on whom I take pity.  But my face’, he said, ‘you cannot see, for no human being can see me and survive.’  Then Yahweh said, ‘Here is a place near me.  You will stand on the rock, and when my glory passes by, I shall put you in a cleft of the rock and shield you with my hand until I have gone past.  Then I shall take my hand away and you will see my back; but my face will not be seen.  (Exodus 33:19)

I saw a brilliance like amber, like fire, radiating from what appeared to be the waist upwards; and from what appeared to be the waist downwards, I saw what looked like fire, giving a brilliant light all round.  The radiance of the encircling light was like the radiance of the bow in the clouds on rainy days.  The sight was like the glory of Yahweh. (Ezekial 1:27-28)

bodie milkyway rising monolaketufasIn the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night.  An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them.  They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid.  Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.’ (Luke 2:8-10)

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the lamp stands one like a Son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest; his head and his hair were white as wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.  (Revelations 1:12-16)

[Jesus] is the radiance of his glory, the exact representation of his nature, and upholds all things by the word of his power.  (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus is the Word of God, Faithful and True.  He existed in the beginning with the Father and everything was made through him.  He is the Son who was, is and always remains in the heart of the Father; and he came to make the Father known to us.  (See John 1:1-3, 18)

Scripture tells us that the Father loves us so much that he gave us the Son so that we might believe in him and have eternal life.  So the Father sent Jesus into the world, not for condemnation, but to bring us salvation.  (See John 3:16-17)  Many have believed, many continue to believe and many will believe in the future.  But not everyone.

When Jesus spoke to the people and performed signs and wonders there were many who did not believe in him or in the works that he did.  Even though light had come into the world, many loved darkness more than they loved the light, because their deeds were evil.  (See John 3:19)  The same is certainly true today.

warmsunrisecroppingworkingJesus came into the world to save us — to show us the Father and to enable us to share in their life — to live with them, in love, forever.  He spoke about the Father, he taught about the Kingdom of God and he performed signs and wonders to demonstrate the authenticity of his message.

What signs did he perform and why did he do it?

Just to mention a few, He changed the water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana.  (John 2)  He healed the official’s son there as well.  (John 4)  He restored the lame man laying beside the pool in Jerusalem who has been ill for thirty-eight years.  (John 5)

Afterward, responding to those who were persecuting him Jesus said,

… the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, the Son does likewise.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel.  (John 5:19-20)

… I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.   If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true … for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.  (John 5:30-32, 36)

Jesus also fed thousands with a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread.  He walked on water.  He commanded the storm to cease and it did.  He cast out demons.   He raised the dead.  He told many people the secrets of their hearts.  He passed through crowds when they were trying to kill him.  These things are recorded for us.  But as the gospel of John reports:  “… there are many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”  (John 21:25)

Why did Jesus perform these signs and wonders?

Certainly, he was motivated by love and compassion.  But primarily, he did it so we would change our hearts and minds, and believe the good news.  Repeatedly, Jesus told those who resisted him, if you do not believe my words, believe for the sake of the works that I do.

‘I told you, and you do not believe.  The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe …’  (John 10:25-26)

And when those he was speaking to sought to stone him for his message he answered them

‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?’ … If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.  (John 10:32, 37-38)

sunrise horse farm fences 1Even with his friends and those who believed in him, Jesus didn’t rely solely on the spoken word, but demonstrated the authenticity of his word with signs and wonders.  When Jesus encountered Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus, she said,

‘Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  And even now I know tht whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’  Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’  Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives  and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’

… Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’  Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’  So they took away the stone.  And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I know that you always hear me, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that you sent me.’  When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus come out.’  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’  (John 11:21-26, 39-44)

Jesus, by his own words, tells us that he performed this miracle so that those standing by might believe.  If we accept him at his word, this means that even the Son of God, the Son closest to the Father’s heart, the only perfect man, born without sin, full of grace without measure, in whom the fullness of God dwelt, used and depended upon signs and wonders to confirm his preaching and demonstrate the authenticity of his message, enabling many to believe.

If Jesus needed signs and wonders to confirm his message, what do you suppose we need for people to listen to us?

 

Photos compliments of Jim Begley

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Dan Almeter says:

    Amen! Preach it! Pray that I have the strength and will to keep “pressing in”. Dan

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I felt like the Holy Spirit is teaching me not to be afraid/uneasy with my own weakness. He has an unending supply of strength for us.

  2. Catherine says:
    • Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading it very much. I will take a look at some of the other things she has written and will keep an eye out for upcoming posts.

  3. Catherine says:

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