Part 6 of 25

 Aren’t Jesus’ Miracles the Pattern for Today?

Jesus’ miracles, and those of “the twelve” Apostles, were to be a “sign” to Israel . These sign-miracles were to confirm Jesus’ message that declared the promised “the kingdom of heaven” was “at hand” (Matt 3:2). These miraculous “signs” also were to serve witness to the power of the promised coming Kingdom that was to come to Israel on earth. (“THY KINGDOM COME…ON EARTH Matt. 6:10).

We should note a particular word used in the account of the first of Jesus’ eight miracles that are recorded in John’s gospel. This was the sign at Cana where He turned water into wine. Jesus said “This beginning of “miracles  Jesus did in Cana of Galilee , and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” (John 2:11 KJV) In the KJV the Greek word semeion” is mistranslated as “miracle.” In various other Bible translations (i.e., NIV, NASB, AMP, Greek Interlinear) the Greek word “semeion” is correctly translated “signs.” This then makes the phrase to read “This beginning of signs.” Thus, we need to note that all eight miracles Jesus performed, as noted in John’s Gospel, were to be considered signs for Israel . Paul said, “The Jews require a sign” (1Cor 1:22).

Note that Jesus proceeded to “heal ALL that were sick”  brought to Him at Peter’s house - “they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed ALL that were sick…” (Matthew 8:16) By comparison, today we see only occasional random acts of God’s divine mercy in physical healing, but not in healing or delivering “ALL” that are sick.

Let’s now more closely examine why it is that Jesus healed ALL that were sick,” while today we do not see such wholesale healing occurring. We’ve already established that Jesus’ miracles were to be “signs” to Israel . Jesus stated that He was only sent to Israel . “… I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel .” (Matthew 15:24)

At that time the Gentiles were considered outsiders, as “dogs” (Matt 15:26). The Gentiles clearly were not at all the focus of Jesus or His disciples. Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel .

The kingdom had long been promised by God to Abraham’s “seed,” the nation of Israel . From the time of John the Baptist through Jesus’ life, the message they brought was that “…the (promised) kingdom of heaven is at hand(Mat 4:17). We need to see that all of these miracles were to be “signs” to confirm to Israel , with power, the message that the Messianic Kingdom was “at hand.”

Signs are significant in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus said; “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18) This then applied to “the disciples” whom Jesus sent forth to proclaim the Messianic kingdom of heaven was now “at hand” for Israel .

Then later at Pentecost, as recorded in early Acts, Peter and then “the twelve” Apostles actually made the bonafide offer of the Kingdom to “ye men of Israel .” In the days following Pentecost, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit “upon (Acts 1:8) the 120 of Israel in the upper room, Peter, James, John and the others of “the twelve” Apostles did great miracles as signs (Acts 3:7). These signs confirmed the actual offer of the kingdom to Israel , if only the nation would “repent” and be “water baptized” to receive the King/Messiah and His kingdom. Of course, rather than repent, the leaders of Israel judged and stoned Stephen to death as Saul of Tarsus look on. Israel thereby fell; it was set aside and with that God then turned to the Gentiles (Rom 11:1, 25; Acts 13:46, 28:28).

With Israel ’s rejection of Stephen’s message, the offer of the Kingdom had passed away from Israel . Now Israel had rejected the three persons of the Triune Godhead. It was as if Israel had struck out in baseball.

  • Strike #1 had occurred when Israel rejected God the Father in the OT, killing His prophets.
  • Strike #2 occurred when Israel rejected and crucified the Son, the Messiah, Jesus, as seen in the Gospels. Peter says they responded by “killing the prince of life” (Acts 3:15)
  • Strike #3 occurred when Israel ’s leaders rejected the Holy Spirit’s final witness via Stephen (Act 7:51), who the Jews then stoned to death.

With this rejection there came the change in dispensation - from “the Law” to a new administration called “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) the “sign” miracles then began to wane. We should note that these “signs” began to wane or diminish from the time of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. In fact Peter then is only heard of until Acts 12, with the exception of his participation in the meeting with Paul. The signs among “the twelve” Apostles to “the circumcision” fully stopped, and in Acts 28:27-28, we see what is recorded of Paul declaring; (Israel) has grown dull (stupid, hardened, and calloused), and their ears are heavy and hard of hearing and they have shut tight their eyes, so that they may not perceive” and “the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen [to it]!”

Acts 28:27-28 (AMP) For the heart (the understanding, the soul) of this people (Israel) has grown dull (stupid, hardened, and calloused), and their ears are heavy and hard of hearing and they have shut tight their eyes, so that they may not perceive and have knowledge and become acquainted with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their souls and turn [to Me and be converted], that I may heal them. 28 So let it be understood by you then that [this message of] the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen [to it]!

With “the fall” of Israel, rather than the blessing of God coming to the Gentiles through Israel, as Israel had been called to do, God saved and sent a new Apostle, Paul, to the Gentiles with a new and heretofore secret “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24, Eph 3:1-3; Col 1:26; Rom 16:25) in spite of Israel (Rom 11:11b).

At that time God fully turned from Israel to the Gentiles. With God’s turning to the Gentiles, God had set aside His offer of the visible, physical, literal, Messianic Kingdom of Heaven on earth for Israel for a later time. The kingdom offering time then had passed; it was put into abeyance for an unspecified time period of time – “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Rom 11:25).

Now the “new creation” (2Cor 5:17), called “the body of Christ” had become the center of God’s focus. The “the body of Christ” consists of those believers who in “time past” were called Gentiles and Jews, “but now,” being “in Christ,” they are “one.” Each believer stands without distinction – each one is now on an equal footing, whether Jew or Gentile – all are “one” in Christ’s body (Gal 3:28). Today the unbelieving Jew stands just as lost as the lost unbelieving Gentile.

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Therefore, a Jew today must come to God as a sinful Gentile must in order to be saved. The believing Jew “in Christ” today has no greater standing than a believing Gentile – all are “one in Christ.” The age has turned to pure grace for all who would believe and receive Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God.”

This change has brought a totally new dispensational relationship between God and believers into being. Relationship with God is now to be based upon being “born of God,” born of the Father’s “seed (Gk., sperma), which is Christ” (Gal 3:16, 1Peter 1:23),by grace, through faith” alone (Eph 2:8-9). This relationship comes to believers by the grace, totally apart from believers needing to perform works to be saved. Today a believer simply receives the salvation of God by receiving the work of Christ for the believer’s benefit, and also thereby receiving the very person of indwelling “spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2, Col 1:25-27, 2Tim 4:22), by “faith” alone.

Acts 16:31 (AMP) And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well.

Simultaneously with his first believing, the believer is engulfed, immersed, or baptized into “the body of Christ.” (1Cor 12:13).

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized (immersed) into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Paul says this unique baptism is the “one baptism” (Eph 4:5), the only baptism, for today. “(There is) One Lord, one faith, one baptism…” (Ephesians 4:5) This baptism into Christ’s body is invisible and dry. Now the Jewish physical “water baptism” is out, and this new invisible immersion into Christ’s spiritual body is in. It is “in Christ,” in this intimate relationship with Him, that believers have all their needs met.