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The Message of Miracles

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There are multiple lessons we can learn from the many recorded miracles of Christ. This message will discuss several helpful lessons from Luke 7.

Notes
Transcript
Luke 7:1–17 ESV
1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. 11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

The Message of Miracles

There are to my knowledge, 18 miracles performed by Jesus, that are recorded in the Gospel of Luke. There may be a few more, but I quickly counted 18 of them as I skimmed through the Gospel of Luke. That number doesn’t include, such things like the virgin birth, the happenings surrounding John the Baptist’s predicted birth and those kinds of miraculous events. Through each of these miracles, some of which we have already touched on, God has brought about in order to teach specific lessons to us about Himself.

What is a miracle?

“A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself.”
Wayne Grudem- Systematic Theology
Other less accurate definitions:
“a direct intervention of God in the world.”- assumes a deistic view of God’s relationship to the world and suggests God only occasionally intervenes in what is happening.
“a more direct activity of God in the world.”- This one fails to recognize God’s continual and direct intervention and providence over all things.
“God working in the world without using means to bring about the results he wishes.” this leaves us few if any miracles in the Bible, as most recorded miracles tell of God using “means” to bring it about. For example 5 loaves and 2 fish were used, but still none the less a miracle.
Miracles teach us about God and us.

The Message of Miracles:

Miracles are a story of God’s Providence. Often we use the term Sovereignty, but providence might be a better term to describe this attribute of God.
Piper says, “The term sovereignty does not contain the idea of purposeful action, but the term providence does.” He goes on to say, “Sovereignty focuses on God’s right and power to do all that he wills, but in itself, it does not express any design or goal.”
When considering the miracles of God, it is good for us and more importantly, glorifying to God, as we take time to reflect on what His design or goal was or is, in allowing such “less common” activities to occur. God has a plan and purpose for
Quick mention of these few verses helps us to see this isn’t my idea or some other person’s idea.
Proverbs 21:1 ESV
1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV
9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:33 ESV
33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Isaiah 46:10 ESV
10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
God will accomplish all His purpose, and at times He does so by using “uncommon means to arouse people’s awe and wonder of Himself.”
For example, the Buffalo Bills are in the AFC Championship game. Is that a miracle?

Messages from the Centurion about God.

I am going to list several qualities or character traits that the Centurion possessed, but I do not want you to think of them as a list of attributes that will make God more likely to perform a miracle. I believe these are attributes that were present in the centurion’s life because he understood who Jesus was and because he worshipped and believed in God. Maybe another way to put it was that the centurion displayed fruit, that was evident of a heart that knew God and was known by God.

Love-

The centurion cared greatly for his slave, though that was not the predominant attitude toward a slave in the ancient world.
Luke 7:2–3 ESV
2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant.

Generosity-

The centurion was not just kind towards his own people but showed kindness toward the Jews in building them a synagogue.(Despite the fact that this man was apparently not a Jew and they would not have readily accepted or appreciated help from a Gentile).
Luke 7:4–5 ESV
4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.”

Humility-

The centurion, though he was a leader and possessed authority, and was highly respected and appreciated by even the Jews, did not consider himself to be “worthy” to approach the Lord or have the “Lord come into his home. And though we consider it commonplace that Jesus would be called Lord, it was not commonplace for a Gentile Soldier to refer to a Jewish carpenter, as Lord.
We should not assume the centurion’s feeling of “unworthiness” was for any specific reason, such as his depravity, immorality or being a Gentile. The point is that he was humble, as any man or woman ought to be towards other men but especially toward the God-Man.
Luke 7:6–7 ESV
6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.
Each of these qualities or traits are a reflection of the centurion’s understanding of God’s character and that of Christ’s character as well.

Faith

The centurion trusted and believed in Christ’s authority and ability to heal.
Luke 7:8–9 ESV
8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
This centurion displayed great faith in Jesus/God. He believed in His ability to reverse whatever was happening to the beloved servant. To remove whatever ailment was causing Him pain, paralysis and was quickly moving toward death. We see this kind of faith in the Old Testament and we hear the same “Message of Miracles” in the Genesis 22.
Genesis 22:8 ESV
8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
Genesis 22:14 ESV
14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
“Elohim Ra-ah”- God sees. Jehovah Jireh- The God who sees, the God who provides. He is seeing and will see to it! The centurion trusted that Jesus was able to see and to provide. The “PROVIDE-nce” of God! God’s purposeful action, is clearly seen in this account, as it is in so many other instances in our lives.

Healing

Luke 7:10 ESV
10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
Psalm 107:20 ESV
20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
Christ Jesus is a healer, a deliverer, a restorer.

Messages from the Widow’s son about God.

This account is further illustration of the providence of God.
Jesus willingly set aside some of His attributes/abilities as a man. He set aside His omnipresence. Though He was extremely wise, He certainly communicated from time to time that He did not “know” all things either. He may have known what he would find at the gates of Nain, but certainly God the Father knew!
Luke 7:12 ESV
12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.
God’s timing is always perfect. Jesus did not just happen to be at the gate when the crowd was exiting the city. This was providence! He wasn’t there a moment too late or a moment too early.

Christ’s Compassion

It is difficult for us to comprehend the greatness of God’s compassion, because we are incapable of completely understanding the greatness of God, though by His grace, He reveals Himself to us and allows us to comprehend His character. He is both transcendent and immanent. Both above us but among us.
Luke 7:13 ESV
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

Christ’s Death Conquering Power

Luke 7:14 ESV
14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”
Luke 7:15 ESV
15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Christ’s Death Conquering Power

Have you ever experienced someone being raised from the dead?
The power displayed in this young man was emblematic of the work Christ does in our spiritual lives. He made us alive, who were dead in our trespasses and sins.

2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

The Ultimate Message of Miracles

As amazing as it was that this man stood up and was returned to his mother (a widow). There was a far more important thing that took place and Luke doesn’t leave us to question. This miracle was a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus was there to establish the Kingdom of God and this was a “next step” revealing the Good news to mankind.
Luke 7:16–17 ESV
16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

Fear and Glory

As a result of the miracles, the people feared God and glorified Him. The people were able to see the work of God.
God’s mercy, grace, compassion and love caused the people to respect God and to adore and treasure Him.
God’s love and compassion are qualities that emanate from Him.

Who is this Jesus?

He is loving, compassionate, gracious and kind. He wants to heal us, He wants to restore us and to raise us up.
Though the Gospels give us plenty of instances where we can make observations about Christ’s life, Jesus describes His own heart only once in all the Gospels. He describes Himself in the Gospel of Matthew, as Gentle and Lowly in Heart
Matthew 11:28–30 ESV
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
He is the Son of God who lives and reigns today at the right hand of the Father. The Son who is interceding for us. The perfect Son who gave His life as a ransom for many. He is the One, the same One, we read of in Luke 4, where we are told that He came . . .
To proclaim GOOD NEWS to the Poor-
To Give Liberty to the Captive-
To Give SIGHT to the Blind
To set free the oppressed.
To-Day the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! The Year of the Lord’s Favor!
“A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself.”
We can and should approach God with love, humility and trust, because He is indeed, the All Powerful, Merciful, Gracious and Compassionate God.
Trust Him and Praise Him for the miracles He has and is doing in your life.
Give Him glory, worship Him, for He is GOOD, His Steadfast love endures forever.

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