October 4, 2015
Introduction to the Miracles of Jesus
Mark Kulikovsky – 4th October 2015
1. How do people use the word ‘miracle’ today? How many of these are a misuse of the word? Why do Christians differ on whether miracles happen today? Does a person’s geographic, cultural, or ethnic background make a difference to how they think about miracles? Why or why not?
2. Which of the following definitions of ‘miracle’ most appeal to you and why?
· A miracle is “an event which so transcends ordinary happenings that it is viewed as a direct result of spiritual power.” (B.L. Blackburn in J.B. Green (ed.), The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, 549.)
· “An interference with Nature by supernatural powers” (C. S. Lewis, Miracles [1952 reprint], 15)
· “A miracle is a divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise”. (N. Geisler & R. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask, 79)
· “A miracle is an event which is not producible by the natural causes that are operative at the time and place that the event occurs”. (W. L. Craig’s definition in Lee Strobel’s The Case For Faith, 84).
3. Matthew records 20 miracles,Mark records 18 miracles, Luke records 21 miracles, and John records 8 miracles. See if you can identify them and see which ones are repeated in more than one Gospel.
4. Discuss the relationship between ‘faith’ and ‘miracles’. Consider the following passages: Mark 2:4-5; 5:27-34,35-36; 7:27-29; 9:22-24; 10:47-52; Matt. 8:13; 9:29; 15:28; John 4:50; 11:40; 20:30-31).
5. It was suggested on Sunday that Jesus’ miracles authenticate him as the messenger of God, authenticate his message about the kingdom of God, and call people’s attention to what God is doing. Consider some of the miracles identified in question 3 and see what they tell us about the person of Jesus and his message and how people responded to them. Think about what the exorcisms, healings, cleansing of lepers, resurrections, miraculous provisions of food, and control over nature tell us.
6. What do you think is the main purpose of the miracles in the Gospels? Can you recall what was said in the sermon about this? If not, order the recording! J
7. What have been the various responses to the miracles – In the Gospels? In history? Today?