1053 Remote healing, resurrection, the fall of John the Baptist, and wisdom -The image of Jesus (8) (by Whirlwind)

We first take a look at the healing of the servant of a centurion who had great faith. Jesus used His words to remotely heal him without even meeting him. We can also see the emphasis is on seeing things in the aspect of God. If seeing things in the aspect of human, we’ll ask a contradictory question like if the centurion met Jesus. We discussed this issue from the consistency of the Bible, and explain why the Gospel of Matthew has higher credibility in this issue. Secondly, we can see that Jesus had compassion and was graceful and had the ability to have the son of the widow resurrected. Thirdly, we can observe the fall of John the Baptist in one issue since he sent someone to ask if Jesus was the one. To respond, Jesus mentioned all things He did, which were for us in a way. Fourthly, there is a verse that says that John the Baptist was the coming Elijah. From the consistency of the Bible, it is clear that it doesn’t refer to the reincarnation of Elijah. Thus, he had the wisdom and ability of Elijah. We are justified by faith, and need to have actions out of faith. Fifthly, we see that the situation of the eating and drinking habits of Jesus and John the Baptist are similar to that of the children playing the flute. It is not good for the children to play either way. People didn’t dance when they played. When they sang a dirge, and no one wept. No people cared about what they did. People did whatever they wanted anyway.  Therefore, wisdom is vindicated by all her children. We know that from the heart flow the springs of life, not according to the actions in the surface.

1. Healing the servant of a centurion who has a big faith

In Luke 7:1-19, it says, “When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.”

The same event is described in Matthew 8:5-13. Let us first read the verses and then compare them for their similarities and differences. “And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it. “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.” 

When we compare them, we know clearly about where it happened, what kind of disease the servant had, and the great faith of the centurion. However, some people may ask first the apparent contradictory question if the centurion saw Jesus. Before the discussion of this question, let see the event in the aspect of God, i.e., in the aspect of Jesus, since this point is consistent in both Gospels. That is, Jesus saw the centurion’s great faith from what was said by him. The centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” And it came a reason why he believed so. Yes, Jesus did according to what he said. That is, using His word to remotely heal the servant whom He didn’t see before.

Regarding the contradictory question, when we really believe that the Bible is inspired by God, how come He doesn’t know the apparently contradictory question when He is omniscient. Then we should ask what we discussed before, what does God want to tell us in the apparent contradiction. Now you can probably guess why we discussed first the consistent part which is what God wants us to see, in the aspect of God. In terms of whether the centurion saw Jesus personally or not is not really important. The plan of salvation is not affected by either way. In fact, similar things happened in the Mountain of Transfiguration. God wants us to concentrate on Jesus alone (Ref. Matthew 17:1-8).

If we really want to discuss the question regarding which is correct. I’ll lean upon the Gospel of Matthew. Why? Let us notice in Luke 1:3, it says, “…having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, …” Indeed, Luke investigated everything. But he heard everything from others, and Matthew is one of the twelve who might be there personally. Thus, the credibility of the latter might be greater. Furthermore, if we start this paragraph in the Gospel of Matthew from the words, “Truly I say to you,” it talks about the importance of faith and the final conclusion of the sons of Israel due to their lack of faith. Here, we can also see an example of the consistency of the Bible. But the Bible really doesn’t say clearly for such insignificant questions. You might have different guesses. Also, please notice that what said in the Gospel of Matthew that the servant was healed at that very moment. Yes, at that very moment. The Lord doesn’t delay. And from what said by elders and the action of Jesus, it happened to be consistent for seeing things in the aspect of human and God, since Jesus originally planned to go but He had no need to go from the final result.

2. Jesus making the son of a widow in Nain resurrected due to His compassion        

In Luke 7:11-17, it says, “Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!” This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district.”

We can see that Jesus was merciful and graceful. His ability was so huge that He could make the dead resurrected. Indeed, we don’t know if the son had just died or died a while ago. But the Lazarus of Bethany was indeed in the tomb four days (Ref. John 11:1-17) He indeed had the ability to make the dead resurrect. This is another example with no mention of the faith of the healed. There was no talking about the faith of the dead. It was out of the compassion of Jesus. And God has absolute authority.

3. The fall of John the Baptist     

In Luke 7:18-23 it says, “The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?'” At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.””

God already told John the Baptist that Jesus was the Expected One since it says in John 1:32-34, “John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”” And he still asked, “do we look for someone else?” So, we know that John was weakened, and thus Jesus would say, “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

We can see that John had been weak in this particular event. Although the Bible says in Matthew 11:11, “…Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” We need to know that we are not really better than him. In the spiritual life, we are basically sick, blind, and poor. Aren’t we resurrected because of the Gospel? From seeing things in the aspect of human, to recognize theses is not easy at all, like what said in John 9:40-41, “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.” We discussed these verses before. Thus, we’ll not talk about these one more time.

4. John the Baptist having the wisdom and ability of Elijah 

It is said in Luke 7:24-28, “When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.””

Indeed, John the Baptist is greater than the prophets in the Old Testament. The others saw that Jesus would come, but never met Him. John not only met Jesus, but was His forerunner. It is said clearly in Matthew 11:14,”And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” From the consistency of the Bible, John is definitely not the incarnation of Elijah. Therefore, we say that John the Baptist has wisdom and ability of Elijah. Although the Bible doesn’t say clearly that John is in the kingdom of God, I believe so from what I can see. Then why does it say, “yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Because he was compared to those born of women. He is in the same category with them. Of course, he is less than the least in the kingdom of God.

This event is also described in Matthew 11:7-14 with the additional verses given in Matthew 11:12-14, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” Regarding John is indeed the coming of Elijah, Matthew 17:10-13 and Mark 9:11-13 mention this also. In particular, it is said directly in Matthew 17:13, “Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.” “Until now”, it includes us. The verse says, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” We know in Romans 3:28, “…a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” Then what does it mean by violent men? That means that it needs violence to oneself. How come? It says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” What moved us by the Holy Spirit sometimes is very different from what we think. We need to discern in this case since in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, it says clearly, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, …” When we are sure that the stimulus indeed comes from the Holy Spirit, we have to make an effort to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is not an ordinary effort. It is said in Romans 8:13, “…but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” We have to put death to the deeds of the body. In the other words, we kill the old self. Isn’t this committing violence against ourselves?

We are indeed justified by faith, but we need to be doers (Ref. James 1:22-24). We must have actions out of faith. It is said clearly in Revelation 20:11-12, “Then I saw a great white throne …and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” So, Christians need to be willingly to make an effort to work with God, to endeavor not to quench the Spirit;

5. Wisdom is vindicated by all her children

It is said in Luke 7:29-35, “When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.””

The same event is also recorded in Matthew 11:15-19. There, it says in Matthew 11:15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Before, I thought that this was referring to what said in Matthew 11:14, “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” But the Gospel of Luke doesn’t mention this and directly enter the paragraph regarding the children playing the flute. Also, in Matthew 11:16, there is the word ‘but G1161.’ Therefore, the words of those children refer to, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

It says in Matthew 11:18, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!'” We know what John encountered was the Holy Spirit since it says clearly in Luke 1:15 “…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” It is just like what Jesus said in Mark 3:28-30, “”Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”-because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.””

The situation is just like that in the children playing the flute. People didn’t dance when they played. It also was no good either when they sang a dirge, and no one wept. No people cared about what they did. People did whatever they wanted anyway. When John came, it was no good for neither eating nor drinking. When the Son of Man came, they could talk the other way. Therefore, it says, “wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” Not looking at the surface, but at the wisdom of hearts. Remember, “…For from it (the heart) flow the springs of life.”(Proverbs 4:23) And it says in Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

   (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.”)

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