The Essential Jesus (Part 13): More Miracles of Jesus

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

More Miracles of Jesus

I DON'T BLAME PEOPLE TODAY for being skeptical about healing. I once watched a television documentary on a well-known faith healer. The cameras rolled as people from the audience were helped onto the stage. After the faith healer put his hands on them and dramatically prayed, people threw away crutches, got up out of wheelchairs or reported instant recovery from disease – all to great applause. But when the documentary followed up months later, they had trouble finding anyone who was still "healed."

Even so, most people still believe genuine healing is possible. Why? First, because suffering and sickness are so awful. In our desperation, we become open to possibilities we would not be willing to consider when everything is just fine. Second, because there are many documented examples of real healing throughout history. Not only that, medical professionals today regularly report unexplained recoveries. And just about everyone knows somebody who has experienced a miraculous healing. We may not understand or agree on the reasons why, but we have to admit one thing: healing happens.

The challenge for us in the next five readings is to examine the healing miracles of Jesus with an open mind. We'll read how Jesus enabled a blind man to see, caused a disabled man to walk, restored a demon-possessed man, cured a woman with an incurable bleeding problem and brought two dead people back to life. These accounts are some of the most exciting and inspiring parts of Jesus' entire ministry.

They also give us a deeper understanding of the essential Jesus. The most basic thing we learn is that Jesus had compassion for people; He wasn't too busy or important to help people overcome their problems. Next, the healing miracles of Jesus demonstrate His power and authority, not just over sickness but also over sin. Finally, the healings provide us with more evidence that Jesus was who He said He was, the Son of God.

That's a lot to absorb all at once. So let's read through the healings one by one. As you do, try to imagine that you are there. Perhaps you could be the person receiving the healing, or one of the disciples, or even a person in the crowd. What would you have felt and said and done? Try to step into the story so you can experience the healing ministry of Jesus for yourself.

Lord, I Believe

PRAY: Heavenly Father, "open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law" today (Psalm 119:18).

READ: John 9:1-41

REFLECT: Even a junior reporter could get the facts of the healing of the man born blind:

JERUSALEM. An itinerant preacher from Galilee named Jesus sparked a controversy earlier today with an act of kindness. According to eyewitnesses, Jesus and his entourage met a man who had been blind from birth as they walked on the main road near Jerusalem. After a brief dialogue, Jesus put mud on the man's eyes, told him to wash in a local pond, and the man's eyesight was restored. Religious leaders have challenged the validity of the "healing" and have launched their own investigation.

Why is it so difficult for some to accept the fact the Jesus heals people? In the case of the Pharisees, they were more concerned about defending a set of picky religious rules than they were about experiencing God. When told about the healing, they condemned it on a technicality (v. 16). If we ever let good things like our church traditions or our theological positions get in the way of our passion for meeting God, then something is off track.

The blind man was the only one who saw the light (v. 5). Instead of questioning or challenging Jesus, he simply obeyed (v. 7). Next, he honestly shared his experience with others (vv. 11, 25), even defending it in spite of the pressure tactics used against him (vv. 24-34). Finally, after taking time to think it through, he put his faith in Jesus (v. 38). Perhaps the strongest proof of the validity of this miracle was the fact that the blind man never backed down. He could easily have changed his story, or at least shaped it just a little, to satisfy the Pharisees and avoid "excommunication." But he didn't, he couldn't, because he could see.

The Pharisees rejected the healing because Jesus didn't fit into their religious system: "How dare you lecture us!" (v. 34). The disciples may have missed it because their interest seemed more theological than personal: "Who sinned……. that he was born blind?" (v. 2). But the blind man was healed because he was open-minded about what Jesus could do. That's the first step to true faith, "Lord, I believe."

APPLY: Why do you think some people remain close-minded about Jesus today?

PRAY: Lord, I would like to be a bolder witness for you, like the man who was born blind. Please give me the courage to tell others how I've experienced you.