Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – 1 Corinthians 11:29-32

For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. – 1 Corinthians 11:29-32

Come on Paul, condemned with the world?

We can never be condemned with the world!  Believers are rescued from this present evil world (Galations 1:4) and Jesus promised that we have overcome the world.

I personally believe there are no contradictions in our God breathed Bible.  So how dare Paul break my security bubble by saying that if we are not disciplined, there is the risk of being condemned along with the world.

Note he says along with the world – with, by association, companionship, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc.

I thought when we first got saved, condemnation along with the world was forever removed from our lives. And yet Paul brings this topic up to believers in Corinth.

As some who follow, I have written posts regarding the difference between judging and condemning, and found that judging may have a positive connotation to it. Think of when you win a formal debate, or a foot race. The audience judges you the winner!

The word Paul uses in this verse is condemn, and is not used in any sense of a positive judgement as described above. Check out the list below for all the times this word “condemn” is used, and consider the context of our verse in consideration today, as it relates to believers.

Can believers be condemned with the world? Take note of the multiple times Paul refers to judgement by ourselves or the Lord, previous to his using the “c” word.


New Testament verses containing the Greek word katakrinō, translated as condemn.

Matthew 12:41, 42 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.


Matthew 20:18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death


Matthew 27:3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,


Mark 10:33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles.


Mark 14:64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.


Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.


Luke 11:31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.


Luke 11:32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.


John 8:10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”


John 8:11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”


Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.

Romans 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.


1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.


Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.


2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #257

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #257
Description
Sacrificial lamb
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:7c
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter
New Testament Fulfillment
John 1:29
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
 1 Pet 1:18-19
knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,

but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #18 – Jesus Heals an Invalid at Bethesda

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Heals an Invalid at Bethesda

John 5:1-17

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed. waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had  One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.  So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”  But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.'”  They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.  Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.  And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.  But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

General Observations

Five roofed colonnades over the pool? Is it not curious that John speaks of five covered areas? In my research, I found an explanation at www.biblicalarchaeology.org

…the Bethesda Pool is described as having five porticoes—a puzzling feature suggesting an unusual five-sided pool, which most scholars dismissed as an unhistorical literary creation. Yet when this site was excavated, it revealed a rectangular pool with two basins separated by a wall—thus a five-sided pool—and each side had a portico.

This detail is one that has been used to attack the accuracy of the Scriptures over the ages. You see, no archeologist had identified this pool of Bethesda until the early 19th century. Critics assumed that someone other than John wrote the gospel centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem, supposedly describing the surroundings without ever seeing them. Once again, the critic is proven wrong! Truly, the Scriptures are constantly being verified by archeology, and provides us with a constant reminder of the fact of Jesus and His disciples walked amongst the citizens of Israel, even amongst the poorest and weakest.

This pool was called Bethesda, which means a house of mercy, or a house of kindness. With the pool designated as a “house of mercy” so close to the temple, it may speak of the spiritual temperature of the city of Jerusalem. So much suffering so close to God’s house. Many of the most religious adherents attending the temple, along with those ministering in the temple, must surely have known of this pool, and of those in need.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Every sick person in the pool witnessed this miracle. The audience was the many who had come to the pool for relief, for healing, who needed a miracle. Yet only the invalid in our passage received assistance, and not because of any great faith or virtue, but simply out of mercy. Simply out of compassion.

Verse 10 tells us that “the Jews” were present. Were they there to minister to the sick, elderly and infirmed? Did they bring hot meals to them during lunchtime? Nothing is stated regarding these acts of mercy, but they were keen to inform this newly walking un-invalid that he was breaking the Sabbath.

How utterly amazing to see a religious person ignore the work of God in order to enforce the word of man. Carrying a bed as an affront to God? How could anyone justify this as wrong? Yet the guardians of God and His temple found a way to exercise power over their flock by providing rules rules rules.

But I am getting ahead of myself!

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

Recently, I published a post on this miracle from the standpoint of the timing of the miracle. Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 15 – Equal with God. It may be of interest for those who want to consider this miracle as it relates to the Sabbath.

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.

The pool was located north of the temple, and it’s association with the sheep gate provides a hint as to it’s purpose for the temple. Could it have been a source of water to purify sacrificial sheep, prior to being offered in the temple? Some archeologists and Bible scholars believe this pool was a Jewish bath for worshippers to achieve ritual purity, but with the rumor of healings being available at the pool, all those who were in need of a miracle flocked to the pool.

Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?

Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time. Jesus determined this man would be healed, simply based out of compassion for this man who had been crippled for almost four decades. Four decades!

Jesus asked what seemed to be a foolish question. Do you want to be healed? Considering that the man was waiting for the stirring of the water and that legend spoke of the healing of the waters, it seemed to be obvious that the man wanted to be healed, but was simply unable to get to the pool.

As we read the passage, we find that this simple question was not answered directly. The man did not answer the question, request any assistance from Jesus, but simply provided the Master a reason he had not experienced any healing. He was at the pool, but had no ability to take advantage of any possible healing.

John 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”

Am I right in thinking that Jesus’ response indicates a bit of impatience, a bit of frustration with this invalid? Is that fair? Jesus had been performing miracles throughout Israel, and often we hear of those witnessing the Lord’s works as spreading the news of this miracle worker far and wide. This miracle alone was not the first in Jerusalem, and His fame was spreading like wildfire. I will leave it to the reader to consider the situation, and of Jesus’ tone of voice as He responds to the invalid.

In defense of the invalid, we have to remember that he had been an invalid for close to forty years, and we don’t know how long he had visited the pool. Sure there was a miracle worker in Israel, yet why would anyone care for an old invalid man who had been forgotten by so many?

What was the message for the original audience?

For the invalid, the message was simple. Get up. Pick up your bed. Walk. All three commands were obeyed and the invalid received his miracle.

For those at the pool who were still in need, they had seen the Messiah perform a healing which indicated the Hope of Israel had arrived. The physical healing was a signpost for others to understand Who had arrived. Healing everyone would not have accomplished anything greater than what occurred that day. As a matter of fact, it may have simply redirected the focus from Him. This was a constant concern of the Messiah, that those who came to Him simply wanted their immediate needs addressed.

For those Jews who had been watching Jesus, this miracle sparked active persecution towards Jesus.

John 5:16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

For the Jewish leadership, directing the invalid to carry his bed on the Sabbath became the straw that broke the camels back. This was too much for them. Could Jesus have simply told the invalid to get up and walk away? Sure. But He didn’t. Would this have created an equal reaction from the Jewish leadership? We may never know, but I think you can know what I think!

The miracle should have been understood differently. Jesus directed an invalid, whom He healed, to carry his bed on the Sabbath. The miracle of healing should have indicated to the Jews that Jesus was from God, but they had already determined that His source of authority came from the enemy. (See the previous post – Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #17 – Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak)

Now, in their minds, He was openly disobeying the rules set up by men in order to properly obey God. A rebel, an enemy of the establishment, a preacher that would not conform to their demands. But why should He conform to their demand, for He is Lord of the Sabbath, the One who established the nation of Israel and provided the ordinances, laws and ceremonies they lived by.

He is the Authority that is greater than any law they sought to obey.

What is the message for us today?

Jesus healed this invalid, though the invalid did not express any faith in Him, request any assistance or even acknowledge who He was. The invalid couldn’t even identify the One who healed him to the Jewish authorities. Jesus actually withdrew into the crowd (vs 13) after the healing. If there is ever a miracle that would satisfy our modern need for instantaneous satisfaction, this is the one.

In this miracle, this quick, instantaneous and sudden miracle working on this unknown invalid, Jesus exhibited Himself as Lord. We must allow Him to be who He is. He may, at His discretion, have compassion on any sinner or saint, whether famous or unknown, rich or poor, wise or foolish, young or old, full of faith or without belief, at any time, for any reason, without warning, and without hesitation.

His miracles, if understood properly, point to His person, to His relation to the Father and His authority over all of creation. Some miracles may occur during your walk with the Lord, and may I suggest that a proper understanding of them is critical to appreciate the wonder of the One providing the miracle.

Acts of mercy are, by their very nature undeserved, and if you are blessed in receiving a miracle in this life, consider Who it is that touched your life. Focus on the miracle provider and not on the miracle provided. Filter the fact of the miracle through the character of our Messiah.

For He is good, all the time.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #256

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #256
Description
Silent before his accusers
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:7b
    yet he opened not his mouth
New Testament Fulfillment
Matt 27:12-14
But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer.

Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?”

But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:19

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:19   for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,

Paul is here speaking of the divine human cooperative. The prayers of the saints, and the work of the Spirit of Jesus Christ will cooperate with each other in the deliverance of the apostle. Paul knows this will produce a deliverance for him, he is confident in this. He does allow for some leeway in the type of deliverance, allowing God’s will to be done. This is acceptable to Paul, since he seeks to be under the will of God, and realizes the promise of God, when saints join together in prayer, God listens and acts.

Paul ties these two parties (man and God) together in expecting his deliverance, although he has yet to define the deliverance. This generality in Paul describing his delieverance, especially in the next verse, allows freedom to recieve God’s will in his life.

I have often heard the statement, “Be specific in prayer, in order for God to specifically answer” Many times the Lord has answered specific prayers in our lives, and yet there is wisdom in allowing God’s will to play a part of the answer.

Paul was general in his expectation, and yet had confidence in the working of both the prayers of the saints and of the Spirit of Jesus.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 44 – D

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 44:23-26

Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

We return to the last four verses of our psalm, with one overriding impression.

This psalmist had passion! Oh for a passion to confront God, even to the point of confronting Him with a seeming injustice He is guilty of.

We do not know the heart of this psalmist, nor even the historical background for his complaints, but that is beside the point. This man was passionate to see the Lord keep His end of the bargain, and was bold enough to come before God with some startling claims. He had the boldness to claim the Lord was asleep on His watch, that He was not attentive to the people He claimed to love. He was fully convinced the fault lay at the feet of the Lord. He was telling the Lord to wake up. Commanding the Lord to wake up? Ordering the Master?

Is this a proper attitude for the believer today? Can we bring claims of unfaithfulness of the Lord to the Lord?

As we walk on this earth, with all the media influences, general lies, emotional upheavals, mental limitations, physical constraints and lifestyle pressures, how can we make any accurate judgement as to the Lord’s dealings with us?

As we walk on this earth, with all the historical proofs of the Lord Jesus, the written documentation that has survived for millennium of His life, the proofs of His mighty resurrection, the gift of the apostles teaching, the blessing of the Spirit of God, and the support of the Body of Christ, how can we not simply be thankful for the grace He has provided to us, and simply accept our current condition (good or bad), thinking of His dealings with us in a positive manner.

A great challenge, and if accepted, may spurn us onto better things for the Kingdom. (And this exhortation from a pessimist!)

May God help us in our struggles to relate to the Holy One. May He redeem us from ourselves,

…for the sake of (His) steadfast love


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #255

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #255
Description
Oppressed and afflicted
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:7a
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted
New Testament Fulfillment
Matt 27:27-31
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,

and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head.

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – 2 Peter 1:5-11

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-11 ESV

If these things (that is – faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and finally love) abound, Peter tells his audience they will not be unfruitful.

He that lacks these things (that is – faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and finally love), Peter goes on to tell the lost that they are so nearsighted, they are blind. Nope – Can’t say that -. I can’t make that audience shift here. Peter is continuing to speak to believers, when he defines them as blind and forgetful.

Seeing this comparison, Peter then states that if we give diligence to “make our calling and election sure” we will have an entrance ministered unto us abundantly.

Ok, so here is the problem – “…. confirm your calling and election”  (See below for gk definition of “confirm”)

If we pursue the many steps that Peter speaks of, then my election is confirmed.  Consider some of the questions implications, my friend.

  • What if we spend our entire life seeking these characteristics and then in the last five years, throw it all away.  Will my election be confirmed? 
  • Who is it that knows of this surety?  Is it a matter of confidence for God or myself?  It must be a matter of confidence for myself if I practice these characteristics.
  • Remember this is dealing with confirmation of our salvation, not the purchasing or final deliverance of our souls. That is the grace of our Lord completing that. Our diligence in working on these characteristics provides us confirmation of our entrance into the eternal kingdom.
  • Is anyone else thinking of Ezekiel 18:24? 1 Peter and Ezekiel deal with somewhat different topics. This passage is not dealing directly with conditional security of the believer (as Ezekiel 18) but it does address a believer’s own understanding of his security with the Lord. What I mean is that the perception of the saint and the reality of the situation may be surprising when found out.

So lets review –

  1. If I practice these traits in my life I will have confidence in my salvation.
  2. If I don’t practice these traits in my life, I loose confidence in my salvation.

But some might say that even without this confidence (due to my diligence in supplementing my salvation), I can still be confident of my salvation.

Am I missing something?


Word study on “Confirm” from Vines Expository Dictionary

G949
βέβαιος
[ A-2,Adjective,G949, bebaios ]
“firm, steadfast,” is used of
(a) God’s promise to Abraham, Romans 4:16;
(b) the believer’s hope, Hebrews 6:19, “steadfast;”
(c) the hope of spiritual leaders regarding the welfare of converts, 2 Corinthians 1:7, “steadfast;”
(d) the glorying of the hope, Hebrews 3:6, “firm;”
(e) the beginning of our confidence, Hebrews 3:14, RV, “firm” (AV, “steadfast”);
(f) the Law given at Sinai, Hebrews 2:2, “steadfast;”
(g) the testament (or covenant) fulfilled after a death, Hebrews 9:17, “of force;”
(h) the calling and election of believers, 2 Peter 1:10, to be made “sure” by the fulfillment of the injunctions in 2 Peter 1:5-7;
(i) the word of prophecy, “made more sure,” 2 Peter 1:19, RV, AV, “a more sure (word of prophecy);” what is meant is not a comparison between the prophecies of the OT and NT, but that the former have been confirmed in the person of Christ (2 Peter 1:16-18). See FIRM.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #254

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #254
Description
God’s will that He bear sin for all mankind
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:6b
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
New Testament Fulfillment
Gal 1:4
who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #17 – Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

Matthew 9:32-34

As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him.  And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

General Observations

We have been in Mathew for a series of miracles and it may be profitable to recount the work of Jesus up to this point, at least from Matthews standpoint. Previous to this miracle, Jesus has

  • Healed a woman of a blood disease
  • Raised a 12 year old girl from the dead
  • Given two blind men sight

Given our last mighty work of Jesus as providing sight to blind men, it is interesting to compare the two miracles and their recipients. 

What actually was this fellows physical disability? Of course, the source of the mute man’s condition was the demon oppression, which Jesus addressed in this miracle. Yet to get a feel of this man’s existence, it is worth considering the world he lived in. The term describing this man brought to Jesus is the Greek word kōphos κόπτω (G2875), and includes the idea of deafness. Although this passage describes the man as unable to speak, the term may also include the inability to hear. If so, consider this poor man’s condition.

If deaf and mute, he was in a world where communication was limited to hand gestures, or facial expressions. Understanding the simplest message was fraught with confusion. Remember, the skill of reading and writing was not as widespread as it is today, and we may safely assume this skill was not available to this poor soul. Given this, he lived in a world of silence, restricted of any method of communication to those around him. His thoughts were his and his alone, and the privilege of sharing with another person the joys or sorrows of this life were unavailable to him. He experienced a loneliness many have never entered into.

If only mute, this condition is not much better, since he may hear a message, yet not be able to communicate his thoughts or feelings fully. This, in my opinion, would be incredibly frustrating, since I am a fairly opinionated fella!

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Those who brought the mute man. (I am assuming more than one person brought him.) These folk who brought him had heard of Jesus, and may have seen the miracles. But nothing is said of those who brought him to Jesus. They are not the focus of this miracle.

As a matter of fact, nothing is said of the mute man, other than his demon oppression and of his cure. He is a “silent” witness in all of this – no pun intended!

Two main groups are spoken of in the recounting of this miracle.

The Crowd

The crowd marveled, saying “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” To be marveled was to be amazed, to be cast into wonder. This crowd may very well be made of many in Capernaum that had seen many of Jesus’ miracles so far, yet this one amazed them. At no time does Matthew inform us of the mute man or his friend(s) requesting a healing. (Granted – they may have and Matthew simply doesn’t record it!) Yet the absence of the request allows me to think Jesus may have addressed this man’s disability without request.

Just healing a mute man for the sake of those in attendance? For the Pharisees possibly? Remember that at this time, the Pharisees are tagging behind the Lord to determine if He truly is a charlatan or the real McCoy!

A miracle for the Pharisees? Interesting possibility!

The Pharisees

Consider the progression Matthew gives us in this chapter, regarding the Pharisees attitude toward the Messiah. Initially, the Pharisees accused Him in their hearts of blasphemy in Matthew 9:3.

Matthew 9:3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”

Then the Pharisees breach the subject of besmirching the Lord’s character with the disciples in Matthew 9:11.

Matthew 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Finally, with the healing of this mute man, the Pharisees come out with their current judgement against the Master and His ministry.

Matthew 9:34 ESV – But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

This is the first time this judgement on the Lord’s ministry is delivered to the masses, but Matthew will inform us later that the Pharisees maintained this strategy to defame the Lord.

Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”

(I have considered this passage previously in a post called Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Unpardonable Sin.)

At this point in the Lord’s ministry, and due to this mute man being healed, the Pharisees reveal their opinion of the Messiah to the masses and set themselves on a collision course with God and His Messiah.

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.

Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?

As mentioned above, the Pharisees had seen enough, and publicly gave a judgement against the Lord, informing the crowd of their determination of His source of power. It is quite humorous (if it wasn’t so tragic) that given the proofs of His person, those most qualified to determine His identity would be so far off in their judgement! Yet we must admit that good religion has to rejects Jesus. This miracle provides a perfect example of how religious pride breeds a rejection of the only true God.

Jealousy and pride may be found in every religion, and sad to say, even within Christianity – or should I say Christendom? Denominational claims of superiority over other groups of believers is a blight that hurts the church constantly.

What was the message for the original audience?

The message to the original audience?

It was, for the crowd, a message of amazement, a message that this itinerant preacher was constantly astounding those who came to Him. He performed mighty works that had not been seen before, and the multitude of various and diverse disabilities brought to Him did not limit His abilities to heal.

For the Pharisees, the message was received with mockery, disdain and disbelief, producing a verdict associating the Judge of all the earth as being in cahoots with the His arch enemy. Consider this reaction by the Pharisees. It is illogical, due to their pride twisting a normal thought process upside down, eliminating a thoughtful conclusion. Pride forces, against all proofs, a ridiculous conclusion that brings pain and sorrow on the ones living in that pride. Pride truly goes before destruction!

What is the message for us today?

Two reactions to the Lord’s ministry is provided for us in this mighty work.

Amazement

As those in the crowd, we may experience amazement over His grace to all in need, even to those who have no faith, as this mute man brought by his friends seems to exhibit. Each of the miracles, and each of His messages, should produce a level of amazement in our hearts. He is beyond our understanding, and this is good to remember. When He becomes like you and I in our thoughts, and we see Him as we see ourselves, we lose.

Pride

As for the reaction of the Pharisees, as believers, we are to remember that pride is the death knell of the Christian life. Pride of religious association brought the Pharisees to an erroneous conclusion concerning the identity of their Messiah. You see, the Pharisees “knew” they were right and looked down on those who were the unwashed. They were the righteous ones, the ones “in the know”, the only ones with truth, and as the pure and wise arbiters of truth for the theocracy of Israel, felt they had to protect their sheep and make a public judgement against Jesus.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

As we have seen in this miracle, one of the fallouts of religious pride is a rebellion against God and His Messiah. This religious rebellion produces many toxins within the Body of Christ, one of which is division within the Body.

Paul saw the damage of pride in the body when he wrote to the Corinthians. Consider his appeal to the Corinthians when he writes of their allegiance and pride of association to multiple parties in the church. He is shocked by the tribalism of the Corinthian church, and seeks an agreement of mind and judgement.

It may be wise to consider any attitude we may harbor toward other Christian groups, denominations, churches, associations and such, for if we judge our group to be superior to others, we may have fallen into the Pharisee trap.

It didn’t turn out well for them, for the very nation they thought they were protecting became the very nation that had one generation left before destruction. The Pharisees, fueled by religious pride, brought destruction to the nation that they were tasked to protect.

As a tonic to this toxin, consider Micah’s admonition for our final application out of todays miracle, for I fear our modern church, consisting of the modern Christian, finds the Pharisee trap very appealing for their religious life.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?


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