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The miracles of Jesus
Transcript of The miracles of Jesus
-if bible sees as direct divine actions events that are not outside the realm of nature or history, then we must recognize that the element of the marvelous, which is so much part of the traditional understanding of miracles, is not overly prominent in in the Bible.
This is seen in terms used for miracles:
The Eng. word for ‘miracle’ comes from the
Lat. Miraculum, “something to be wondered at”
But this word does not even occur in the NT Christology
- Healing is a divine activity Ps 146:7-8
- 'Who is this, then, ...?' Mk 6 Jesus has divine authority over nature (Ps 107)
- Authority to forgive sin Mk 2:2-13
- Authority over evil spirits (exorcisms)
- Authority over sickness and disease
- Authority over Torah (Shabbat healings, eg. the Withered Arm Mk Ch 2)
- Prophethood (esp in Luke) Link with OT Deut 18:18 - Lk 7:16 acclaimed by people. Luke's L miracles mirror those of Elijah and Elisha - raising of Widow of Nain's son: Healing of 10 lepers.
Messiahship as Jesus presides over Messianic Banquet (Feeding of 5,000) leads representatives of new Israel through waters (Walking on Water)
- Lord of Church - as disciples worship him (Mt version of Walking on Water)
Compassion of Jesus
See Mk 6:34; Mt 10:35-36; Mt 14:14; Mt 20:34 for explicit references to compassion.
Also response to 10 lepers Lk 17; Lk 13:15 and 14:5 - Jesus cites the Torah to explain need for compassion rather than ritual observance.
- compassionate response to needs of blind man and official's servant (Mt 8:3; 6-7)
- Lucan redaction to Gadarene Demoniac 8:35 Miracles as a response to faith, and to elicit faith
Miracles must not be used to compel belief Luke 4:3-12 - Jesus refuses Satan's temptation
- not proofs to sceptics that Jesus has divine authority Mt 12'39
- expose lack of faith Mk 6 Stilling of Storm
- are a reward for faith Lk 7 v 9-10; Lk 8:48
- symbolize salvation Lk:8:48; Mt 9:22; Mk 5:34 "Your faith has made you well" (Lit has saved you")
- without faith, Jesus cannot perform miracles freely: Mt 13:57; Mk 6:5 - just as there can be no salvation without faith.
Signs of the Kingdom
Ref. back to 'Malkuth' - sovereignty of God, visible on earth, EXODUS events are archetypal signs of God;s sovereignty on earth. Result in deliverance for God's people.
Isaiah 35 describes messianic age in terms of healings and Messianic Banquet
Isaiah 61 - preaching, teaching, healings.
Characteristics of God's intervention - judgement, defeat of evil, resurrection
Jesus links exorcism with Kingdom Lk 11:20
- Associates healings with Messianic Age passage in Isa 35 and Isa 61 (Lk 7:22)
Characteristics of Kingdom in miracles
- judgement of evil spirits (exorcisms)
- restoration of God's order to natural world (Stilling of Storm)
- Messianic Banquet (Feeding of 5,000)
- Resurrection of dead (Widow of Nain's Son)
Yet NB Lk 17:21 - Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed. Many miracle stories do have an apologetic interest in that they wish to affirm the power an mission of Jesus
Miracles are the vehicles of the message of Jesus
They are “revelation stories”
Side by side, word and sign gave expression of God’s redemptive power Conclusion Other approaches The faith of JC is mentioned in the miracle stories cannot be written off as mere trust
The Gospels are narrated from the perspective of the resurrection
Faith is directed to the Power of God
The miracles stories re[present a Christological estimate of Jesus as one through whom Gods power touches humanity
This evident in the miracle stories in that the suppliants address Jesus as “Son of David”/ “Lord”/ “Save us Lord”/ “Son of The Most High” 2nd approach
Miracles are fictional
Overzealous, Evangelistic Exaggeration
Primitive Christian Credulity and Misunderstanding Modern Criticism of Gospel Miracles Focus: The significance of the miracles in the mission of Jesus and in the Gospels.
Augustine – as actions beyond the ordinary laws of nature.
Aquinas: actions surpassing the power of all nature. Biblical Notion of Miracles In the Synoptics - the word dunameis (Gk) (mighty works) is most frequently used. These are acts of power, which reveal God’s purpose in Christ for the world. They are signs of the immediate presence of the Kingdom of God. As well as miracles, the Birth Narratives and Passion/Resurrection narratives can be seen as the 'mighty works to which the other mighty works point. SIGNS Whole Gospel conviction is that the Kingdom of God was making its presence in an extraordinary way in the ministry of Jesus
You cannot link NT miracles to pagan forms, how else could the story be told if not via, sickness, cure, reaction. Similarities in form are predictable
Just because healings in 1st c Mediterranean world were an important phenomenon, does not negate the fact that JC was a miracle worker
The difference between healing and nature miracles is negligible. The evangelists show no more amazement at either nor in accepting them. In a world where sickens and natural catastrophe represent the power of Satan, the intervention of the Kingdom of God requires a demonstration of power in the realm of nature and human existence.
There are more miracle stories attributed to Jesus than anyone in antiquity, note the gospel restraint in telling all events.
Jesus refuses to work miracles to show his power
Jesus avoids the attention drawn by his miracles
Jesus warns of so called Holy people and warns that miracles cannot force faith Setting
-description of illness/and of past failure to cure
-doubts about the healers ability by bystanders
-Person who is ill or relative expressed belief
-immediate effect of cure
-healing brought about by a word
-sometimes physical touching
-reality of cure attested by patients response
-blind man sees, disabled walk away, possessed man acts normally
-divine nature recognized often by the crowd
B…miracles attributed to GK wonder-workers have exactly the same format.
Healing stories therefore an embellishment added to the Gospel narratives in GK speaking churches Healing miracles have a fixed format Miracle Stories Proper
Here the miracle itself is the center of interest
The narratives are subdivided into healing miracles and nature miracles Pronouncement Miracle Stories
The miracles are attached to an important sayings of Jesus and are recalled for the sake of the pronouncement
See Mk 3:1-6/Lk. 13:10 – center of interest not the man with the withered hand but Jesus attitude toward the Sabbath
Judgment. Historically only the pronounce met comes from Jesus and the miracle is an illustration created by the community in its debates with the Pharisees Bultmanns 2 types of Miracle Narratives Pioneer of Form Criticism
Works on the presupposition that miracles are impossible.
Origins of the miracles stories must be sought outside of the historical career of Jesus
B. does not seek OT parallels, i.e. wonder worker
This portrait colored by the fact that Judaism attributed marvelous deeds to their Rabbis as the Hellenistic world attributed them to professional wonder workers such as Apollonius of Tyana.
The general thesis of B. is X could not have converted a world, Jewish or Gentile, that gave credence to such miracles unless Jesus was presented as an equal Form Critical Approach - Bultmann 19th C Liberal studies
healings performed by Jesus but explained them as ordinary cures (faith healings, special medical techniques ahead of the time, hypnosis)
Similar natural explanations given for other miracles like raising the dead (coma, etc)
Nature miracles (walking on water, marshland etc) Modern Criticism of Gospel Miracles Elijah reviving the Son of the Widow of Zarephath Third
-Apologetics = actions performed for individuals. E.g. healings , raising from the dead etc.
-In there OT, yes divine interventions on behalf of Israel
-miracles performed for individuals are only found with frequency in Elijah and Elisha cycles: 1-2 Kings
-the parallel between Jesus’ miracles and those narrated in the 2 cycles caused him to be thought of as another Elijah and Elisha Synoptic word:
-dynamis, “act of power”
Thus in neither Testaments does the vocab original texts give real emphasis to the marvelous In The New Testament
Heb: mopet, “symbolic act”
Heb: ot, “sign”
Neither of which need refer to anything marvelous
When something extraordinary is described, then: nipla ot, the pl word for marvels, is added The Miracles of Jesus The literary form examined may be to narrow, Bultmanns parallels between Gospel miracles and Hellenistic miracles need circumspection. Therefore miracles are more than just layers of tradition after tradition
Thiessen identifies some 33 literary motifs common to a wide range of Christian, Jewish and Greco-Roman healing stories Response to Bultmann Nature miracles First
Bible does not view nature as a closed system of laws
Workings of nature attributed to God
Historical Events looked upon in the eyes faith Biblical approach different on several scores Water into wine Calming of the storm -nature miracles are not genuine historical tradition about Jesus but reflect later theological interpretation by the early community and evangelists. Calming of the storm/ walking on water/ multiplication of loaves/ the fig tree/ the catch of fish/ water into wine.
The miracle stories are an integral part of Gospel narrative.
Half of Marks account of the ministry of Jesus ( 220 0f 245 verses) is connected with the miraculous
Paul takes for granted the workings of miracles
(1Cor:12,28) and he performed miracles ( 2Cor: 12:11) Centurion's Slave Mt 8:5-13, Lk 7:1-10
This miracle is one of the few that appears in John's Gospel as well as two of the Synoptic Gospels. Its appearance in both Matthew and Luke suggests that it may be a Q miracle.
The Church seems to have preserved this story to demonstrate the attitude of Jesus towards gentiles, and to support its Gentile mission. The earliest disagreements within the Church centred around the status of Gentiles within the Church. Were they permitted to be come Christians at all? Did they have to be circumcised and observe the Jewish Torah if they did become Christians?
The clear themes of this story are Jesus' compassion for those outside the nation of Israel. Indeed concern for those outside the Jewish religious system is a major theme within Luke's Gospel. Those traditionally viewed by observant Jews as outside God's mercy and care - women, the disabled, gentiles, non-observant Jews, are represented by the roman centurion, begging for the life of his slave. Jesus does not hesitate to speak and to respond to the compassion - and humility - shown by the Centurion in making the request for his slave. Matthew's version makes two further points. The Centurion recognises who Jesus is, and where His authority derives from. This is demonstrated (again) by the use of the title kyrie (Lord), implying that Jesus is divine, and the centurion's comments about delegated authority( 8:9) - which imply that Jesus is in a line of authority which enables him in turn to exercise authority with a word of command. Luke's version seems to major on this point too.
However, Matthew makes a second point, Jesus contrasts this recognition of His identity and the faith which it elicits, with the refusal of many of his Jewish hearers to recognise Him for who He is. They are culpable, for they have the witness of the Law and the prophets which speak clearly of him. The patriarchs looked forward to His coming but their descendents will not share the blessings of the Messianic Banquet with their forefathers - for they have not believed in Jesus. Form Critical and Historical not the only
Biblical criticism through redaction criticism and narrative criticism have demonstrated that each evangelist integrated the miracles into his overall theological perspective and literary presentation.
Illness highlights in 1c the isolation of the human and the boundaries between life and death/ clean and unclean/ insider and outsider.
Miracles assault the tradition of the possible ton reveal a new reality through the power of God
Hence miracles prove to be:
political (C.Ser)/ Social (Ger Dem) support for the early X Community (gentile healings) position of women (W with Hae)