Women Teaching from the Scriptures?

Does a woman have authority to teach from the Bible, and if so, where and under what circumstances?

These are questions which are emotionally charged, especially now in the UK when women are seeking equal pay and equal working conditions with men. We must remember, however, that the Church is not the world. It is in the world, but not of the world.

In the time of the early Church, women had little status, and socially and positionally they came under the authority of men. The new found ‘freedom’ enjoyed by female followers of Christ would have brought controversy, and possibly hostility from unbelievers – especially men.

A large proportion of Christ’s followers were women. They gave time and money to supporting Him and His disciples (Mark 15:41; Luke 8:2, 3). As we examine the role they played we see some were quite prominent. There were Lydia, Euodia, Syntyche, Junia, Priscilla, and the four prophesying daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).

Paul the Apostle had much to say about how these women were to conduct themselves within the Church. He wrote about these matters in epistles such as Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy and Titus. There’s also relevant material in Acts.

So let us look at some of the texts to see if they are appropriate for our times. Did Paul write guidance for specific churches in certain circumstance and did he give universal guidance for all time to all churches? I believe both. The problem is sorting out which is which. Some of Paul’s writings are hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16), and people twist them, as they do other Scriptures.

It seems from Acts 2:15-18 that the pouring out of the Spirit was on both men and women – both would prophesy. Indeed, Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:8, 9). The promise of the Holy Spirit was for ‘all’ whom the Lord would call (Acts 2:17, 18, 39). There’s no getting around this, men and women would ‘prophesy’. They had identical roles.

In Colossians 3:15-17 we find Paul emphasising that the church is ‘one body’ whose members are to teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. By way of Paul’s teaching here, it would appear that women, even though submissive to men, can admonish both men and women. Previously in verses 10 and 11 Paul stated, ‘there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.’ This is complete equality in Christ for all time.

There are some tricky passages however; what about I Corinthians 14:34, 35? Paul says, ‘Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.’

Context is king, and this passage comes in a section devoted to maintaining order in church (1 Corinthians 14:26). Everything done in a meeting was for the church’s ‘edification’ (v 26). Prior to that the gist of the text was about desiring ‘spiritual gifts’ (v 1), and prophesy was one of those gifts, as was speaking in a tongue. However, Paul went on to say that it was better to speak five words with understanding than ten thousand words in a tongue (v 18). Why? For the edification of the church (v 17).

In verse 37 Paul qualifies his statements by saying they are,‘the commandments of the Lord’ . So he spoke with the authority of the Lord.

So how do we resolve what appears to be a contradiction? Women could admonish both men and women (Colossians 3:16), but they were to keep silent in the churches (1 Corinthians 14:34). The answer would appear to be that the women were able to admonish men, but not when assembled as a church, for the reason of good order (1 Corinthians 14:40), and in this context the women were to be silent. With this view it all makes sense.

When it comes to ‘prophesy’ today, there is none, because all prophecy ceased with the completion of Scripture (Revelation 22:18). Some would argue, however, that reading the Scriptures during an assembly of the church is prophesying, because many biblical prophesies have yet to be fulfilled. Therefore teaching and expounding the Scriptures may be thought of as prophesying.

Unlike the early church, which generally met in the homes of believers, most modern churches meet in purpose-built buildings. And, unlike the early church assemblies, teaching normally takes place during the preaching of a sermon, or at separate bible study meetings.

In a biblical church which has the Bible as its authority, teaching elders and deacons will all be men, in line with Paul’s letter 1 Timothy: 3: 1-13. Since men will lead in all teaching at general assemblies, women assume a passive role.

However, it is also common practice to hold meetings where children and young people are taught apart from the main morning or evening assemblies, and ladies often take leading roles at such meetings. This brings us to a less than clearcut situation, but some would argue that these meetings are not church assemblies; therefore women may teach at them – just as they would teach their own children, friends’ children, or anybody for that matter, except during church assemblies.

It is also common practice for women to meet exclusively with other women when often there is a teaching input. As they are not teaching men, questions of authority or submission do not apply.

There is nothing to stop a woman from writing a book which gives her interpretation of the Scriptures; indeed, quite a few women have blogs and websites expressing their views on the Bible. If these women are members of a biblical church, they may find themselves being held to account by the elders who may challenge their interpretations if they deem them to be incorrect.

Note this passage from Acts: ‘Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. When Aquila and Priscilla heard of him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately’  (Acts 18:24-26). They both taught him, but not in the setting of a church assembly.

So, as I see it, both men and women may teach from the Scriptures, while both must be subject to the authority of the Scriptures. Each have their parts to play.

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The Transfiguration

The transfiguration is recored in Luke 9:28-36; Matthew 17:1-9 and Mark 9:2-13.

Eight days prior to the transfiguration (Luke 9:28) Jesus was explaining to His disciples the ‘cost of discipleship’. Peter had confessed that Jesus was the ‘Christ of God’ (v 20). Jesus went on to say that some of the disciples would shortly ‘see the kingdom of God’ (v 27).

After eight days He took Peter, John and James up on a mountain to pray (v 28). While Jesus was praying His appearance changed, and His robe became white and glistening (v 29).

Moses and Elijah appeared with Him. Jesus discussed with them His death which was about to take place in Jerusalem (vs 30, 31). At one point the disciples were sleepy, but when they woke they saw Jesus in His glory with the other two.

As Moses and Elijah were about to depart, Peter suggested he and the other disciples should make three tabernacles – one for each of them (v 33). A cloud covered the disciples and they heard a voice from within saying,“This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (v 35). The cloud disappeared and they found only Jesus.

They said nothing to anybody about what they had witnessed (v 36). In fact, Jesus instructed them to tell no one “until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” (Matthew 17:12)

Well, it seems to me that the three disciples were given a special insight  into the divine nature of Jesus. His glory was revealed to them. Clearly He appeared to them in a different bodily form, and even His clothes were changed.

Matthew said His face ‘shone like the sun’ ( Matthew 17:2). He also adds that the disciples were greatly afraid (v 6) after they heard the voice of the Father (v 5). Mark contributes nothing new to the story.

Some commentators of the Bible believe that Moses represented the law and Elijah the prophets.

So what do we get from the accounts? Basically the three disciples were given a glimpse of the glory of Jesus and of His kingdom. This was in fulfilment of Luke 9:27 when Jesus said, “But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”

The Father spoke to the three disciples and told them that Jesus was His beloved Son, and they were to ‘hear Him!’ (Luke 9:35) His Father’s voice was also heard at the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:11). The words “hear Him” hark back to Deuteronomy 18:15 when Moses said God would raise up a prophet like him who people were to ‘hear’. Jesus was that Prophet and we are to ‘hear’ Him (John 5:24; 10:27; Luke 6:47).

Before the transfiguration Peter and the other disciples already knew Jesus was the Christ (Luke 9:20, 21), but three of them were given this special vision of His glory (Luke 9:28-36; Matthew 17:1-9 and Mark 9:2-13).

There’s possibly a link between the transfiguration and Matthew 5:17 when Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.” I say this, because Jesus spoke of His forthcoming death to Moses and Elijah (Luke (9: 30, 31). Moses was the mediator of the OT law which Jesus fulfilled and Elijah was the prophet who, “must first come” (Matthew 11:11, 14).

John the Baptist was a figurative Elijah, and there were similarities between them (Luke 3:1-6; 2 Kings 1:8; Matthew 3:4). Jesus actually said Elijah would come, but that he had already come, and the disciples understood that ‘He spoke to them of John the Baptist.’ (Matthew 17:11-13)

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Treasures of the Gospel According to John (Part 2)

[For Part 1, please see previous article.]

Feeding the five thousand was a truly remarkable miracle, but He also brought people back to life. He raised Lazarus who had been in the tomb for four days (11:17, 39, 43, 44). He also raised to life the son of a widow who lived in Nain, (Luke 7:11-15) and Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:35-43).

In Chapter 12, verses 1 to 7, there’s a very lovely account of Mary anointing Christ with costly oil of spikenard. It was a special act of adoration on Mary’s part, an anointing for the day of Jesus’ burial (v 7).

Jesus was not like any other king. When He entered Jerusalem (John 12:12-15) to claim his kingship He rode on a donkey in fulfilment of Isaiah 40:9 – ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming sitting on a donkey’s colt.’ This was an act of great humility. The people proclaimed that He ‘came in the name of the Lord’, and He was the King of Israel (v 13).

The humility of Jesus is further seen when He washes the feet of His disciples (13:3-17). He assumes the role of a lowly servant and He said He did it as an example (v 15) of how His disciples were to serve one another.

I believe the most lovely command Jesus gave was for His disciples to love one another: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (13:34; 15:12)

Jesus made many promises, but one of the most comforting was when He told His disciples He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. In His house there are many mansions (14:1-4). They could be assured of getting there, because He was the Way to the Father. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (v 6).

Of enormous significance was His promise to ‘pray the Father’ (v 16) for Him to give the disciples another Helper, the Spirit of truth who would abide with them forever (vs 16, 17). Without the giving of the Spirit the Church would not have been born (Acts 2). The Spirit would ‘testify’ of Him’ (15:26), and He would guide them into all truth (16:12).

In the same Chapter 14 He promised them His peace which was unlike the peace of the world. With His peace they need not be troubled or afraid (v 27).

For me the next jewel is to be found in Christ’s priestly prayer of Chapter 17 to His Father. In it He prays for the unity of believers in Him and His Father. Of particular note is verse 20: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” He prays that all of them will be given His glory’ (v 22) – that’s all believers!

Jesus is captured, then tried – first before Annas, then before Caiaphas, followed by Pilate and again by Pilate. All of these trials are recorded in Chapter 18. Pilate eventually gives in to the Jews’ request for His crucifixion (v 38; 19:15) although he knew He was not guilty (v 38). Barabbas goes free (vs 39, 40). The charge against Jesus displayed on the cross was, ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS’ (19:19).

With great compassion as He hang there He gave His mother into the safe keeping of John. ‘He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (19: 26, 27) Finally He said, “It is finished!” (v 30) He had accomplished all He had come to earth to do before His resurrection.

Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week visited His tomb and found the stone rolled away. She ran to Simon Peter who was with John and told them what she had seen. They in turn ran to the tomb where they discovered the burial cloths, and they returned home (20:1-10).

Mary went back to the tomb and she was spoken to by two angels. Turning around she saw the resurrected Jesus, but she did not at first recognise Him. When He spoke to her she realised who He was. Then she said,“Rabboni!” (v 16). He told her to tell his brethren, “I am ascending to My Father, and your Father, and to My God and your God.” (v 17)

Afterwards Christ appeared twice to His assembled disciples, first when Thomas was absent, and later when he was present.

John concludes Chapter 20 with an explanation for writing his Gospel, i.e., for people to, ‘believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing’  they ‘may have life in His name’ (v 31).

Finally, John ends his Gospel with Chapter 21 which describes a meeting of Jesus with some of His disciples who had gone fishing at night, but with nothing to show for it. Morning dawned and Jesus stood on the shore. He asked them if they had any food. ‘No’ was the answer, whereupon He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” (v 6) They were unable to draw in the net because of ‘the multitude of the fish.’ Immediately Peter twigged on that he had been speaking to Jesus. Impetuous as he was he plunged into the sea to get to Him.

Jesus then reinstated Peter and commissioned him for the task of preaching the Gospel. He forgave Peter for not owning up that he was one of His disciples during His trials before Annas and Caiaphas (18:17, 25-27). He told him to, ‘feed’ His sheep. (v 17) and He indicated that Peter would ‘stretch out’ his hands and be carried where he did ‘not wish’. Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down, as he was not worthy to be crucified in like manner to the Lord.

John ends his Gospel by saying there were many other things done by Jesus, and if they were all written down in books there would not be enough room in the whole world to contain them!

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. I wanted to select a few choice gems from John’s Gospel, but in the end, I could not bear to leave any out. I hope you love John’s Gospel as much as me.

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Treasures of The Gospel According to John (Part 1)

I love John’s Gospel. Through reading it I came to know the Lord, and I was convicted of my sin and of His righteousness. The Holy Spirit spoke to me through the words of John. I was convinced that what He said about Jesus was true, and if Jesus died for me there was only one response. Jesus loved me to the extent that He gave His all, and He suffered and rose again from the dead that I may live with Him; therefore I would look to Him for eternal life and live my life in total dependancy on Him.

I recognised repentance meant a turning away from things I had previously cherished, and from thereon I should seek to please Him in the way I lived. That was 34 years ago! Those years have flown by, and when I look back on them I realise how inadequate I have been in living as I should, but Jesus is full of compassion and He has blessed me abundantly. He continues to bless and sustain me, and I love Him for the love He gives me.

He did not leave me in isolation, because His Spirit led me to a local Bible-believing church where I was baptised. Being part of the body of Christ brought responsibilities and service. Worshipping and sharing with others enriched my life and that of my family and friends. In God’s provision, as that church closed down, He led me to worship and fellowship at a different church where I have remained.

God has provided for all the church’s needs, and through those who teach His Word and all who support one another the fellowship has been built up into His knowledge and love. We are grateful for all He has done, and continues to do. At this moment we are looking to Him for the provision of a new elder who will be able to take on a leading role of teaching and pastoring.

The Treasures of John’s Gospel

As indicated in the title I’ll be doing this in two parts. There are simply too many ‘gems’ to cram into one article.

Going through the Gospel from beginning to end; for me, the first ‘gem’ is to be found in Chapter 1, verses 12, 13 – ‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’

I don’t think there is anything more wonderful than to be given ‘the right to become children of God.’ This is none of our making; it is the prerogative of God. A lot of people take offence, because it is a clear statement of ‘election’ (Ephesians 1:3-5).

Next, we come to the miracle of changing water into wine – the first of Jesus’ miracles. We read that with this sign, Jesus’ glory was manifested, and ‘His disciples believed in Him’. (John 2:11) This miracle immediately established the supernatural ability of Christ. He transformed the material components of water into those of wine through His own power and by His will. No other person ever did such a thing.

Harking back to my first ‘gem’ which tells of God’s children (1:12, 13), Chapter 3, verses 3-8 explains how they are born, i.e., ‘of the Spirit’. Their birth is not a physical one, but it is spiritual rebirth. Their spirit is made alive by the Holy Spirit (6:63).

In the same Chapter we learn that those who ‘believe’ receive ‘eternal life’ (v 15). We find that because of God’s love for the world He sacrificed His own Son so that believers would not perish (John 3:16). What greater love could there be than for God’s Son to sacrifice Himself for those He wishes to save (v 17)?

In Chapter 4 we discover the true nature of worship which is adoration of the Father ‘in spirit and truth’ (v 23). Worship of Him is a constant process, day and night, by those who adore Him – prayer and action combined. They have that privilege, not through any merit of their own, but because God wants them to worship Him in this way.

The feeding of the five thousand as recorded in Chapter 6, verses 1-14 is a truly remarkable miracle. Jesus demonstrated His ability to supply the physical needs of people. He gave them miraculous food as His Father had given manna to the starving Israelites in the desert (Exodus 16:13-31. He used the occasion to highlight the fact that He is the ‘bread  of life’ (vs 35, 51), the ‘bread of God’ who came down from heaven to give life to the world (v 33). He said He who comes to Him will never hunger, and he who believes in Him with never thirst (v 35).

In the same chapter Peter confesses Jesus is the Christ, “the Son of the living God.” (v 69)

Jesus said He is “the light of the world” and he who follows Him will have “the light of life” (8:12). Over and again, He claimed He had been with God eternally, came from God and was God – the ‘I AM’ (8:58; Exodus 3:14). He also said He is ‘the good shepherd’ who ‘gives His life for His sheep’ (10:11, 14).

Note

I’ll have to conclude Part 1 here and continue with Part 2 next time.

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Our Battle with Sin and Satan

Both the Old and New Testaments have much to say about sin, but what is sin? Sin is disobedience to God, any action, thought or word that is unpleasing to Him. Everyone sins (Romans 3:23), and because of their sinning they cut themselves off from God (Revelation 21:27). All sin is to God (Psalm 51:4), for when we sin, perhaps in anger to a fellow human being, we are not treating him as God would have us do. God tells us to love and respect people (1 Peter 2:17; Mark 12:31), and above all to love Him (Deuteronomy 6:5; 30:16; Matthew 22:37, 38; Mark 12:29-31).

As we know from the Genesis 3:1-24 account of Adam and Eve, both of them sinned, and Adam as the federal representative of mankind tarred the whole human race with sin; therefore everyone is born a sinner (Romans 3:23). In our sinful state none of us respects God. In this condition, because of our disobedience and rebellion against Him we stand before Him without hope of a reprieve from death, which we deserve – both physical and spiritual.

But there is a Way (John 14:6) out from this situation. The Way out is a Person – the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He died in our place on a cross; thereby He became our substitute so that God can impute His sinless life and death to our account. There is but one requirement for this to happen, we must have faith and trust in Jesus. However, this is a God-given gift (Ephesians 2:8, 9); for when we are spiritually dead because of our sin, we cannot stretch out our hands to receive life. It’s a bit like Lazarus who was dead in the tomb (John 11:40-44). Only Jesus could give him life. He couldn’t ask Jesus to restore his life. The same applies to all who are dead in their sin. We can seek the Lord, as indeed the Scriptures say we can (Acts 15:17), but only He can give life through His Spirit. Jesus said He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). No one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

Jesus further explained that one must be “born of water and the Spirit”  to see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) He said, “That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” and, “You must be born again.” (vs 6, 7)

That is not the end of the matter, because meanwhile, before our mortal bodies die and while we live here on earth, ‘the prince of the power of the air’ ‘works in the sons of disobedience’ (Ephesians 2:2). Christ overcame him at the cross by being resurrected from the dead, but He left him here until the day of reckoning, i.e., the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20), when Jesus will return to earth to judge all (Revelation 20:11-15). He will separate the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46)

Satan knows he will have to face judgment (Revelation 20:10), and therefore he takes every opportunity to attack and weaken the saints. He will try to make them feel inadequate and guilty. So the saints are in conflict with him. They have to be alert to his wiles (1 Peter 5:8, 9), and they must look to the Holy Spirit for help in overcoming temptation. He is their Helper (John 14:16).

All the saints are justified by the vicarious death of Jesus, and they are declared ‘saints’, which simply means believers, but their behaviour often falls short of holy living. God has said, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2; 20:7, 8; 1 Peter 1:16) And Peter the Apostle went on to write, ‘And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’

That clearly points us to our responsibility to live holy lives, which means living to the glory of God,* alway vigilant for overcoming sin on a daily basis. We seek the aid of the Spirit and look to God’s Word, the Bible for our guidance (Psalm 119:11).

*  https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/01/05/do-all-to-the-glory-of-god/

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The Angel of the LORD

The first occurrence of the phrase ‘The Angel of the LORD’ appears in Genesis 16:7 – ‘Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on her way to Shur.’

The New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible identifies this particular angel, since the translators assign to Him a capital ‘A’. This same Angel is mentioned another thirty-nine times in the Old Testament. Clearly the translators wanted to differentiate between ‘The Angel of the LORD’ and any of the other angels.

The full phrase, ‘the Angel of the Lord’ with a capital ‘A’ is never used in the New Testament, even when referring to that specific Angel. Take, for example, Acts 7:30 – 32 which includes a quote from Exodus 3:2 – ‘And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. When Moses saw it, he marvelled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.’

You’ll note that ‘the Angel’ has become ‘an Angel’ – The indefinite article replaces the definite article.

In the NKJV of the Bible this particular phrase, ’the Angel of the LORD’ never appears in the New Testament – other angels, yes, e.g., the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary when he told her she would conceive a Son whom she was to name Jesus. (Luke 1:26-31)

Some say ‘the Angel of the LORD’ was the pre-incarnate Jesus, the very Lord Himself – a theophany. He spoke with the authority of the LORD, and as God (v 4). Here is the very text from Exodus 3:2 –‘And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of the bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed,’ and ‘God called to him from the midst of the bush.’ (v 4)

The Angel of the LORD was in a flame of fire in the midst of the bush, the very same place from which came God’s voice.

God continued, “I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” (v 6) and Moses was afraid to look at Him.

At that point God commissions Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt into a ‘land flowing wth milk and honey.’ (v 8) The discourse continues to Chapter 4, verse 17, when after making excuses Moses finally submits to God’s command.

In my view none of this was coincidental. The presence of the Angel of the LORD and the LORD’s voice were synchronised.

For me this is a powerful affirmation of the unity of the first and second Persons of the Trinity – God the Father and His Son. You must decide for yourself.

You might like to check out some of these texts which all refer to ‘the Angel of the LORD’ – Genesis 22:15-19; Numbers 22:23; Judges 2:1; 6:21; 13:13, 19; Zechariah 3:1 and 12:8, 9.

The conclusion I come to is ‘the Angel of the LORD’ is distinct, and I believe He was a pre-incarnate theophany of the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke with authority and power.

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The Miracles of Jesus

Altogether the New Testament records 37 miracles performed by Jesus. Only one is mentioned in all four gospels, i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and that is the feeding of the 5,000. Bear in mind that the number given was for men only (John 6:10), but in addition to them there would have been women and children.

Jesus challenged Philip with the words, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5) Philip was bewildered, saying, 200 hundred denarii wouldn’t be sufficient to buy bread for them. Andrew found a lad who had 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish. This didn’t perturb Jesus whatsoever, because He knew that He would give thanks for the morsels and multiply them to feed all who were there! When everyone was filled He ordered the disciples to gather fragments of the barley loaves that remained, which turned out to be 12 baskets full. (John 6:8-14)

In a way, this miracle was a proof illustration of Jesus’ claim that He is the bread of life, and that whoever comes believing in Him shall never hunger or thirst. Here are His words, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

Every single miracle performed by Jesus met specific needs, and there were witnesses vouching for their authenticity. All of them confirmed the authority of Jesus to forgive sin. Perhaps the most noticeable in this respect was the healing of the paralytic. (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26) With the paralytic set before Him, the first thing Jesus said was, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:2)

For saying these words the Scribes accused Him of blasphemy (v 3), He replied to them, “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.”  Jesus addressed the paralytic saying, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” He arose and departed to his house. (Matthew 9:1-8)

Indeed, all of the miracles of Jesus substantiated that He was who He claimed to be, the Son of Man, and that He had the power to forgive sins.

The very first miracle recorded was the occasion when Jesus turned water into wine. (John 2:1-11) This ‘sign’(sēmeion) miracle was a picture of Himself, ‘the good wine’ who came to transform and save people from their sins. (v 10) So this miracle was a figurative representation of Himself.

Another type of miracle demonstrates the ‘power’ (dunamis) of Jesus; for example, the calming of the storm on the Lake. (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25) Jesus and His disciples were in a boat when ‘a great tempest arose’ causing the boat to be swamped with the seas. (Matthew 8:24) He stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:26)

Perhaps the miracle that best demonstrates Jesus’ power to raise the dead, is the raising of Lazarus, which is only recorded in the Gospel of John. (11:1-45) Lazarus was well and truly dead; in fact, he stank (v 39). Jesus commanded Lazarus to “come forth” from the tomb, and he ‘came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to those present, “Loose him, and let him go.” (vs 43, 44)

So the miracles of Jesus authenticate His power to forgive sins and to raise the dead. By them, He demonstrates that He is the resurrection and the life, and whoever believes in Him shall never die. (vs 25, 26)

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