Session 8: The Intensification and Distinctives of the Miracles of Jesus
In this lesson, we want to develop the themes of intensification and distinctives of the miracles of Jesus.
- Play: Session 8 Video
In this lesson we want to develop the themes of intensification and distinctives of the miracles of Jesus.
We mentioned in an earlier lesson that the miracles of the Bible often come to us in clusters—creation, the exodus, etc. The same is often true when they are presented to us in the Gospel record. When that happens we might look for…
This could be an intensification of theme, of conflict, or of identity
In parable study the scholars speak of end stress. This means that the accent of an individual parable is on the last part OR it can refer to a series of parables with the accent following on the last one (e.g. Lk. 15).
This may be easier to illustrate than to define. Matthew is especially prominent in this regard (Matt. 8-9, 21-22). But I would like to consider Mark’s Gospel:
- Mk. 4:35-41 (Power Over Creation)
- Mk. 5:1-20 (Power Over the Spirit World)
- Mk. 5:21-43 (Power Over Illness and Death)
The accent falls on the last one. If he can handle storms and the spirit world, he can probably handle my biggest issue, i.e. illness and death.
This matters more than one thinks at first pass. Why do certain Gospels contain certain miracles? Why are some miracles unique to that Gospel? How does the literary context of the Gospel writer play into this?
Let me give the hints or clues to look for behind some of this and move to a few examples.
- Watch how embedded structures fold into a Gospel’s larger purpose (the miracles of Jn. and 20:30-31; Mk. 8:22-26, “Seeing Double” as the “blind” narratives follow the boat and bread narratives.
- Read vertically and horizontally when reading the Gospels. Sometimes the distinctives are found when comparing accounts.
- Watch for intensification—already mentioned.
- Pay attention to keywords—“immediately” in Mk.
- Since the genre is narrative watch for normal narrative things, e.g. plot, people, places, dialogue, disequilibrium and denouement.
- Calming of the Storm (Mk. 4:35-41; Matt. 8:23-27; Lk. 8:22-25).
- Healing of Centurion’s Servant (Matt. 8:5-13; Lk. 7:1-10).
- Cleansing of the 10 Lepers (Lk. 17:11-19).
Now I would like to help you with miracles in each Gospel:
- They tend to be grouped.
- They portray Jesus as New Moses.
- Jesus is more likely to be addressed as Lord. -Jesus works them to *fulfill Scripture. *
- Faith and discipleship are often sub themes.
- Authority is often part of the miracle or set up to the miracle.
- The connection between miracle and message.
- More expanded when parallel.
- 31% of Gospel is miracle.
- Messianic Secret is actually part of this. Miracles are actually parabolic.
- Jesus is portrayed as Mighty One. Power encounter.
- Titles for Jesus are suppressed on lips of recipients to build for climax of 15:39.
- Miracles don’t guarantee faith.
- Miracles do guarantee fear and amazement.
- Angelophanies and Christophanies are common.
- Certain vocabulary—Master, healed.
- Emphasis on Spirit and power.
- Salvation talk is prominent.
- Ethnicity and gender are emphasized.
- Miracles tied to mission (4:16-30).
- Some medical terminology.
- Place of incarnation (1:1-18).
- Only 7 miracles actually narrated. High profile but few.
- Several unique ones, especially surrounding resurrection.
- No exorcisms.
- Reach a crescendo in Lazarus and Jesus.
- The place of faith.
- OT backdrop for some miracles—Jn. 2 ad 6.
- Best testimony—9:25.
- Future has invaded present.
- Response of crowd.
- Closeness of Father and Son as opposed to miracles being work of the Spirit.
- Now in the next lesson we will take the ultimate miracle, i.e. resurrection and discuss that.
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