Session 6: Going to War with Compassion and the Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
In our last lesson, we suggested that the miracles of Jesus were previews of coming attractions. That is, miracles preview a perfect world that right now only exists in hope above us. Jesus started saving the world previous to the cross experience to set the world right and recreate it. In the miracles, Jesus was going to war against the devil.
- Play: Session 6 Video
In our last lesson we suggested that the miracles of Jesus were previews of coming attractions. That is, miracles preview a perfect world that right now only exists in hope above us. Jesus started saving the world previous to the cross experience to set the world right and recreate it. In the miracles, Jesus was going to war against the devil.
I mean after all, 1 Jn. 3:8 says, “The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroythe works of the devil.” The miracles were one way he was doing that.
But Jesus’ method of war and our methods of war are not like that of the world. 2 Cor. 10:4-5 say, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Jesus went to war with compassion—thus in most of the miracles (especially the healings ones) we see Jesus at his most tender moments. This was so much the case that it caused John the Baptist real problems—see Matt. 11:2-6. John predicted a messiah that would clean up this lousy town, and Jesus was out there healing people. Something didn’t fit for John. Now…Jesus went ahead and honored JB in his ongoing remarks.
As an example of this I would like to look at one miracle when we see this tenderness and compassion of Jesus—Lk. 5:12-16, “The Cleansing of the Leper.” AND…as a sidebar we probably ought to get our language right. Our heritage has been rather famous for saying, “Call Bible things by Bible names.” Well…technically speaking then…
- You raise a lame person.
- You unstop deaf ears.
- You open blind eyes.
- You loose dumb tongues.
- You resurrect dead bodies.
- You calm troubled waters.
- You call out or exorcise demons.
- And, you cleanse a leper
So, how do we see this compassion in this miracle story?
- Jesus’ touching him is mentioned (13).
- Jesus’ willingness is mentioned (13).
- Jesus’ sent him to the priest (14). Why is that an act of compassion? I used to think it was so Jesus could free press. The priest would ask him how he got well and…Reality is that by going to the priest and getting his official word, the man can go home to his family. In other words Jesus not only cleanses him; he also restores him to community—which fits one of the nuances of salvation that we mentioned in the last lesson. Jesus’ desire for him not to speak of this got violated, but others spread the news too.
This is not to say that Jesus cannot be seemingly harsh in his compassion. When he speaks to demons or troubled waters or to death he speaks strongly. But it is like an NFL player holding his small baby.
Now…that brings me to say a word about a strong teaching that Jesus gave once concerning these miracles that he did, and that is about the unforgivable sin—the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
You might think at first pass that the blasphemy against the HS has nothing to do with our topic (The Miracles of Jesus), but I contend that it does. To reject these miracles is equal to rejecting Jesus. Let’s look…
The blasphemy against the HS is located in three Gospel texts (Matt. 12; Mk. 3; Lk. 11). The context is different in each case so I have to assume that Jesus gave this teaching in a few different settings. For Matthew the context had to do with a miracle—healing of the blind and mute man (perhaps also deaf); for Mark it had it to do with his family coming to take him away; for Luke it came following the teaching on how to pray. The differing contexts show that the Gospel writers were given some freedom to arrange their material as led by the HS and portray Jesus as an itinerant preacher.
We’ll consider Mark’s account (3:22-30):
- The charge has a historical context (Philistine deity) and a theological context (what the Pharisees wanted to do).
- Jesus’ answer shows their charge to be absurd, inconsistent, obscuring of the real situation, and exposing of them.
- Jesus answers with parables.
- What is lexically? Historically (divine name)? Eschatologically (OT, Gospels, and Acts forward)?
- But theologically?
- Attributed Christ’s power to Satan.
- But Christ worked by the power of God.
- The Spirit led him to the cross, where he atoned for world.
- To cut off from miracles = cutting off from the cross = cutting off from salvation.
It is a verbal sin that simply reveals the heart. So it is the progression of a hardened heart. Deliberate rejection of his miraculous power. Not same as apostasy but result is the same.
So these miracles are acts of war done through compassion. We dare not blow them off. Next we will consider the number of miracles, the categories of them, and the elements that make up miracle stories.
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