Why Did Jesus Perform Miracles?

(John 4:46-54)

This is a good question. Why did Jesus perform miracles? Everywhere he went he healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, raised paralytics, raised the dead and much, much more. In so many ways he relieved the suffering of the people around Jerusalem and the region of Galilee. But Jesus never did anything without reason and a purpose, so it begs the question, why did Jesus perform miracles?

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The Burial of Jesus

(Luke 23:50-56)

When they took Jesus down after he had died, he had to be buried. And in his burial we see two lessons or two things that we can learn from. One of these was to do with the burial itself, and the other to do with who was involved in the burial. In both instances we see that even though Jesus had died he was still teaching us things. So let us have a look at these two points that we see from his burial.

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Trouble for the End Times Church

(Matthew 24:9-14)

There will be trouble for the end times church as Jesus tells us in this next section. The church will have trouble and individual Christians will suffer for it. There will be a sifting of the wheat from the chaff in the end times and there will be no fence sitting, as these end times will be times for making a stand.

Jesus says that Christians will be delivered up to death and many will fall away. Those who were their brothers and sisters will betray some, and all Christians will be hated by the nations of the world for bearing the name of Christ. These are drastic times for the church and for Christians. Any who proclaim the name of Jesus will be in difficult circumstance. In spite of these fearful warnings though, we must stand firm and fear not. It is the Lord’s battle and he will wage it according to his plans. If some of us die in that battle for taking a stand for Jesus, then so be it. Our reward will be to stand with Jesus on his return and not suffer the loss of our eternal salvation. We will not be cast out as like the sinners and those who choose to oppose Jesus Christ.

These will be times for bearing testimony to Jesus Christ. They will be times for endurance as it is those who endure to the end who will be saved. They will be wicked times and we will see wickedness multiplied. And because of the increase in sin and wickedness in the world we will see that the love of people for their fellow man will grow cold. People will not readily extend a helping hand to those in need, they will not condemn those who do evil, they will fear retribution and so turn away their eyes when they see a wrong committed and they will ignore or reject the plight of those who have been wronged. This is all part of this prophecy of Christ for these end times and we are seeing many of these things happening today.

Prior to the end coming Jesus says there will be many false prophets who will lead many astray. If we are not solidly grounded in the truth and the word of God, then we may also be led astray. It is essential to learn the truth of the gospel now. At this later time it may be too late. Urgency is of the utmost importance. This is not like a school exam where you can cram it all in the night before. Learning the truth of the Christian message and having the truth of the New Covenant take effect in your life takes time. To become mature in Christ is a long road and you cannot expect it to happen overnight.

There will be opportunity to hear the truth of the gospel in the end days amongst all of the false teaching in the church and in the world. For Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.” (Verse 14) The key words here are “this gospel.” There are many gospels in the world and many are tainted by the opinions of some preachers or church positions. There are some that are simply polluted and false that are designed to do bring gain to the preacher. But Jesus says that “this gospel” must be preached before the end. He is talking about the gospel of the truth. He is talking about HIS gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ that leads men to freedom and to peace.

At present the true gospel, like the true church is hidden from the prying eyes of man. The true gospel is the message of salvation from sin, death and the law and sets man free from all of the things that bind him up both under the law and in the nature of the human passions of the flesh. Only through the gospel of Jesus Christ can a man be set free and only through faith and the grace of God is this achieved. At the right time this true gospel of Jesus Christ will be made plain and open to all of mankind. The time is not yet right for when it does go out and is preached to all of mankind, then there will be a polarising effect such as has never been seen before. Everyone will have to take a position either for or against Christ when this gospel is preached. Those who stand against it will make war on those who stand with Christ. But Christ’s soon to come return will shut them down and prove where the truth stands.

These are interesting times we live in for many who are here today will see these things unfold. These will also be times of trouble and in this section we are called to endure for the sake of Jesus Christ. No person can hide their head in the sand over this matter and these teachings. They will happen whether we like it or not. We must make a stand and we will be forced to make a choice. The choices are clear to be with Christ or against him. There is and will be no middle ground. You must choose where you stand and then do something about it to seek the truth of Christ and the transforming power of his gospel.

Bible Signs of the Times

(Matthew 16:1-4)

In this section we see Jesus upbraiding the Pharisees and Sadducees who were looking for a sign from heaven to test Jesus. There are many Bible signs of the times throughout both Old & New Testaments relating to Jesus’ coming. The Pharisees and Sadducees were aware of them, but refused to accept this mere carpenter as the Messiah spoken of in the Bible signs of the times discussed in the old books of the prophets.

They wanted proof that Jesus was who he was, but even if they were to receive a sign, they would not have believed. As Jesus showed in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) The sign that Jesus offered to the Pharisees and Sadducees was exactly this. He said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4) In effect when Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by the great fish, spending three days in its belly, he was presumed dead. However when he was regurgitated he effectively rose from the dead. In Jesus’ case he would spend three days in the tomb and actually did rise from the dead. This is the parallel he was drawing by quoting the sign of Jonah.

But as we see, the Pharisees and Sadducees still would not believe even after he was raised from the dead. The chief priests of the time and elders of the temple paid off the guards and told them to spread the story that Jesus disciples came by night and stole the body away while the guards slept.

So Jesus upbraided them for although they could look at the signs in the sky to predict the weather, they were blind to the signs of the times. The Bible signs of the times have been given to us so that we may be aware of what is happening and what is to come. We can see from what is going on around us, and comparing this to the Bible and see the hand of the Lord. Let us look at some of the things occurring today and consider what they mean in the light of scripture and the Bible signs of the times.

2 Timothy 3:12 “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” If you desire to follow Jesus and to live a godly life, you need to know that there will be persecutions and you will have trouble. This goes with your call to Christ. But you will also be strengthened by looking to Christ and be given the means to come through such persecutions. So as far as Bible signs of the times go, this is one at a personal level. When you are persecuted for the Lord, not if you do wrong, you are blessed and can take comfort that you are doing something right. If you were not, the devil would not persecute you.

Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.” Consider the wars and skirmishes of recent times. The world or parts of it have been in constant war and fighting for the past century where nations have risen against nations. Look at the two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, two wars in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the many crises in places like Uganda, Cuba, the Falklands, Yugoslavia, Georgia in the USSR, Timor, the middle east and many more that have occurred in recent years. These are pointers to the beginning of the end of this age; the birth pangs of the end as it is described.

Matthew 24:7 “…there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” The seismic activity in recent years is unparalleled in the world’s history. There are more earthquakes occurring in more places than ever before. While there is some argument that we now have more and better equipment to identify and measure earthquakes, if we look only at the major quakes, i.e. greater than magnitude 8 on the Richter scale we see a definite increase. In the 1980’s there were 4 Mag 8+ quakes, in the 1990’s there were 6 Mag 8+ quakes and in the 2000’s there were 13 Mag 8+ quakes. This data is according to the US Geological Survey dep’t and can be seen graphically here.

Matthew 24:12 “And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.” Man’s inhumanity to man is beyond precedent today. Random acts of terror; random shootings and stabbings are daily news events. People lock themselves away for fear of violence on the streets.

Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.” We are seeing more damage caused by sea and tsunamis than ever before. Consider the tsunami that hit Indonesia on Boxing Day 2004. Nobody knows exactly how many people perished in that disaster, but they have accounted for at least 220,00 lives lost and possibly as many as 280,000. Recently in 2010 & 2011 there have been freak waves that hit Sydney and nearby beaches washing people out to sae with some lives lost. The common response to this freak weather was “Where did it come from? People and reporters were perplexed, as too were the weather experts. This is another manifestation of this sign in the Bible written several thousand years ago.

The prophet Daniel enquired of the Lord what some of the prophesies of the last days meant. He was told, “…Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4) Was there ever a time in history like the one we are in today in respect of these matters? The Internet has made knowledge accessible to everyone and it is increasing at a rapid rate daily. Technological advance is such that sometimes gadgets are obsolete within months of their release. Consider the first IBM PC was released in 1981 and the change to the world in just 30 years since then as a result of that invention. And mankind is running to and fro all over the place. The pace of change is such that “busy-ness” is the norm for most people today and with global flights so cheap, people are on the move.

The upshot of all of these Bible signs of the times is that it is plain we are in the beginnings of the end times. Make no mistake, the Lord is returning in the not too distant future. We have not been given to know when that will be, but we have been given these and many other signs to help us understand what is happening, and to point to the approaching end of this age.