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19. Good News for the Sick

E. The Effect

As the Messiah’s fame spread, multitudes of people followed Him to hear His word and to be healed. On occasions their large numbers obstructed access to Him. Once friends of a man suffering from paralysis had to lower the paralytic through the roof to get access to Jesus. Often it was with difficulty that He found time to eat and relax. On occasions He simply withdrew to some isolated spot to pray. (Mark 1:45; 3:20,21; Luke 3:15,16)

Some people believed in Him after hearing His teaching and seeing His miracles: “... many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.” (John 2:23)

Generally they were astonished and praised God. They had never seen anything comparable: “The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing.” (Matthew 15:31)

“They were all filled with awe and praised God. ‘A great prophet has appeared among us,’ they said. ‘God has come to help his people.’ This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.” (Luke 7:16,17)

“Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’ ” (Luke 5:26)

Others took offense at Jesus and showed utter lack of faith:

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:1-6)

Some members of His own family considered Him mad. In Jerusalem the teachers of the Law claimed He was possessed by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. Beelzebub, they added, enabled Him to cast out demons.

The Bible records seven miracles which Jesus performed on the Sabbath day (Luke 4:31,38; 6:6; 13:14; 14:1; John 5:10; 9:14). Some He performed simply out of compassion; others He did to demonstrate that it was permissible and proper to heal on the Sabbath day, the day of rest. Keeping the Sabbath day by refraining from work on that day did not mean stopping the treatment of the sick and the suffering. Jesus worked and so did His Heavenly Father. Jesus reprimanded the religious leaders for misrepresenting the solemnity of the Sabbath. On one occasion He said to a synagogue ruler: “ ‘Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’ When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated.” (Luke 13:15-17)

Jesus’ miracles reached their climax when He raised Lazarus from the dead. It happened in Bethany near Jerusalem, and was witnessed by some people who immediately reported the event to the Pharisees, a group of Jewish religious leaders who generally opposed Jesus and His ministry. The Pharisees did acknowledge Jesus’ miracle. Yet, instead of thanking God and recognising Jesus and His ministry, they plotted against Him. In a remarkably short time they induced their Roman ruler to put Jesus to death on the pretext that as the Messiah (King) He was a threat to the emperor of Rome.

When Jesus was put to death, it appeared His life-giving ministry died with Him – until He, who raised Lazarus from the dead, Himself rose from the dead. (See Chapters 7,8.)

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