First let us see the fifth miracle in the book of the Gospel of John, walking on the sea. Similar records are in the book of the Gospel of Mark, which also mentions that their heart was hardened so that they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves of bread. In the book of the Gospel of Matthew, it mentions that Peter could walk on the sea in faith, but he sank when he had little faith by looking at the environment. We will follow this with a corresponding testimony and the work of Holy Spirit in it. Finally, let us take a look at the miracle of healing a man who was born blind, the sixth miracle in the book of Gospel of John. At the beginning of chapter 9, it describes the miracle itself. We can see that if one is suffering from tribulations, it doesn’t imply that the tribulations are due to sins. It could be to display God’s glory. We can see good merciful things can be done anytime. We can also see that to stand up for the Lord Christ is not easy. We cannot desire the glory of human more than the glory of God. When the blind man encountered such a miracle, how could he not believe? We really must pray for our spiritual eyes opened.
1. The miracle of walking on the sea: the fifth miracle in the book of the Gospel of John
We first take a look at the miracle itself. In John 6:16-21, it says, “Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”
In Mark 6:45-52, there is a similar description. “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat …When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. …But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened (G4456).” There are only five places using the word G4456. Please check them by yourselves.
In fact, the same event is mentioned in Matthew 14:22-33, where Peter walking on the sea is also described, “Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat …But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. …But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!””
Notice that here mentions it the event of Peter walking on the sea. He could do it in faith, but began to sink when he concentrated on what happened around him. We can see indeed that a person can be of little faith. We have to behave in faith, not according to the environment. We’ll give a corresponding testimony in the next section. We also see that disciples believed because they saw first. Those who don’t see but believe are blessed like what said in John 20:29, “Jesus said to him, “Because you (Thomas) have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.””
2. A corresponding testimony and the work of Holy Spirit
It was about the night of 7/29/2012. You’ll know why I know the approximate time when it happened after you hear the testimony. At that time, I had already worn a pair of glasses with correction for double images. Suddenly, there was a thought coming to my mind to tell me to wear an old pair of glasses, their prescription was about the same but with no double image correction. I decided to give it a try even though I had doubts. Surprisingly, I didn’t see the double image. Thus, I thought that this had to be another miracle since I saw double images before. I decided immediately to see my optometrist. He told me that I still had the double image according to the apparatus. But I didn’t see the double image and read the testing words correctly each time. It wasn’t easy for the doctor since I didn’t see the double image and the apparatus said I had. After asking for him a long while, he finally agreed to give me a new pair of glasses even without corrections and presbyopia which I had it at that time.
After wearing the new pair of glasses, I didn’t see the double image for about half a year until I suddenly saw the double image again. As the result, I had to go back to the optometrist to change a new pair of glasses with the double image correction and presbyopia. After that, we sort of started chasing the double image. In other words, I was able to wear a pair of glasses for about half a year in the beginning. But then I needed to change to new prescriptions pretty frequently afterwards because the double vision kept getting worse even though the other numbers stayed about the same. Therefore, I thought that my thinking about another miracle happening had to be wrong. I had made the wrong decision to ask the doctor to give me a new pair of glasses without double vision correction. The apparatus didn’t lie, and it did tell me that I still had the double image. So, I thought that it was the work of an evil spirit. The situation lasted for a long while until there happened an unexplainable event, at least to my knowledge. Because it involved foreknowledge, which I know that Satan cannot do it. After I knew that it was indeed a miracle, my heart was no longer worry. I would not explain the unexplainable since I didn’t know myself at the beginning, and I tried to explain to others after I knew. I didn’t think that they understood what I perceived exactly. As the result, there are at least three people know about it. It doesn’t edify people. Thus, there is no need to talk about it nowadays despite that I have a tendency to talk about what God did.
After I knew that it was a miracle, the real situation was getting worse day by day. First, I needed to change to a new pair of glasses more often, about three times a year. At the end, I couldn’t even wear any glasses because the double image was so bad. After that, I did go to an ophthalmologist. The prescription he gave to me is about the same as before except the double image got worser. There had no point for me to even try. He told me that I was legally blind if not wearing a pair of glasses. It doesn’t mean that I am totally blind and cannot see anything at all. I just cannot see clearly. I can still see well enough not to bump into people, so that I can still walk on sidewalks. I have not been able to wear a pair of glasses for about three years now. We have a 50-inch television at home, and I use it to measure the progress of my eyes. At the beginning, even from a palm’s length away I couldn’t see clearly. Nowadays, with at least one arm distance, I can see better than before! Although it is good and bad stochastically, the overall trend is towards better. I have no idea when or where it will stop at this point.
In between, there happened another event. I was stimulated to call the office of my optometrist to ask for my records. After some thinking, I finally made such a call and got all the records available to me. Because of this phone call, I realized that an optometrist needs only to keep the records seven years instead of ten years for a medical doctor. After I got the records, I realized that I couldn’t see what happened in my records if I called just a few months later. That means, I started with double image correction, then without, and then having it again. Because of this phone call, I have adequate records which explain why I can know the approximate date. But there are two things I cannot prove, which are the facts that I was stimulated to try my old pair of glasses and to call the office. Therefore, you have to believe that I am not lying. The spiritual things are just like these. There are things which you cannot prove with written records. Faith is necessary. If someone tells you that he can prove logically the existence of God, you know that it has to be wrong. It is impossible, and there must be something wrong. Theoretically, God is much bigger and higher than us, how can one use our logic to prove His existence? He has the absolute authority. If He isn’t willing, we really cannot do anything.
The Bible is inspired by God. He keeps His word. There are so many promises in the Bible. Do we really believe those? The Bible says explicitly that there are things one cannot share. For example, “When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.””(Revelation 10:4) As an another example, although Paul didn’t say explicitly that he was the one who went to the third heaven, he did say in 2 Corinthians 12:3-4, “And I know how such a man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows-was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” It is clear that there are things which cannot be shared. This phone call let me believe that God wants me to share what He did in this testimony. If not, there is not a reason to stimulate me to make such a call. Just waiting for the time to pass, I have then no records at all. Also, in preparing this topic-wise Bible study, I suddenly realized that my situation was similar to what Peter encountered. Did I fall because of the environment that the double image became worse and worse? We really have to behave according to faith, not according to what we see.
3. The miracle of healing the born blind: the sixth miracle in the book of Gospel John
The miracle itself is given in John 9:1-7 “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.”
We can see that one person who got tribulations doesn’t imply that he was sinned, “but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” I have no idea why He made clay from the spittle, and applied the clay to the blind man’s eyes. He can perform miracles just like what happened in the third miracle in the book of the Gospel of John which heals the 38-year lame by His words. But this reminds me in John 12:28-30, “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.”
We see again that good merciful things can be done even at Sabbath in John 13-16, “They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them.” We discussed before what Jesus did is the true meaning of Sabbath, not the date according to law. He is the Lord of Sabbath as verses say. We’ll not repeat the discussion. We just reiterate that good merciful things can be done anytime.
“The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”” (John 9:18-23) In John 9:11, it says, “He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”” This verse happened before the previous verse. Thus, the parents of the blind should know who opened his son’s eyes. If they indeed knew, they were not telling the truth. In fact, it is not easy to stand firm for the Lord Jesus. We have to pay the prices. We cannot desire the glory of human more than the glory of God.
“So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” …The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”” (John 9:24-33) We can see now that not only the eyes of the blind were opened, but also his spiritual eyes. This point can be seen clearly in John 9:35-38, “Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.”
Let us use the verses in John 9:39-41 to conclude this sharing, “And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” Yes, when our eyes are opened, we can see what Paul says is a fact in 1 Corinthians 8:2, “If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know.” This is true theoretically too. God is infinite, and we are finite. If He is willing, He can certainly let us see something more than we already knew.
(Verses refer to those in NASB unless otherwise specified.)
(You can get all articles in “https://a-christian-voice.com/” under “On spiritual understanding about life.”)