Archive for the ‘miracle’ tag
- Jesus forgives and heals us from the sickness of sin and death. In faith, we respond with thankfulness.
- Law: Sin brought sickness and death into the world.
- Gospel: In His death and resurrection, Jesus heals me from the sickness of sin and overcomes death for me.
- Jesus’ miracles function as significant demonstrations of His power over all creation, but they also serve another important purpose. According to Luke 7:18–23, what did Jesus’ miracles, such as today’s story about the healing of the ten lepers, confirm for John the Baptist?
- Samaria was located between Judea and Galilee, so Jesus from time to time did travel through Samaria. However, Jews made it a practice to avoid both Samaria and Samaritans. The Samaritans as a people were notorious for their religious promiscuity. They were known to have worshiped the gods of five other nations. They edited their own version of the Old Testament, known as the Samaritan Pentateuch, and they set up a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. Today’s lesson demonstrates an important point about the Samaritans’ status in Jesus’ eyes—He came for them too. How does this story illustrate the point Paul makes in Galatians 3:26–29?
- Lepers lived at the bottom of society. One authority in Jesus’ day mandated fifty yards between a leper and a healthy person. They lived without hope, for doctors could not cure their skin diseases. Yet Jesus had great compassion for them. One of the first people Jesus healed was a leper. What is so striking about Jesus’ interaction with the leper in Luke 5:12–16? How does this correspond to the picture of the Messiah that Isaiah gives in Isaiah 53:3–4?
- When Jesus healed the leper in Luke 5, He both spoke and touched the leper to heal him. Based on Luke 17:14, what seems to be the manner in which Jesus healed the ten lepers? How does Jesus speak in this manner today?
- The lepers were instructed to go to the temple in Jerusalem in order to show themselves to the priests and perform ceremonial cleansing. At the temple, they would also have given thanks to God for the mercy He had shown to them by healing them. Yet the Samaritan recognized something very important that the other nine lepers did not. Instead of going to give thanks to God at the temple, where did the Samaritan go to give thanks to God? According to John 2:18–22, what would replace the temple in Jerusalem?
- Most versions of the Bible, including the English Standard Version, have Jesus say to the Samaritan in Luke 17:19, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” While this translation is grammatically possible, a more literal translation would be, “Your faith has saved you.” All ten lepers certainly had faith that Jesus could heal them; they took Him at His Word when they went to show themselves to the priest. But only the Samaritan returned to worship God in the person of Jesus. Only the Samaritan had received true saving faith. What does this lesson teach us about faith? According to Ephesians 2:8–9, what is the true source of faith?
- Today’s lesson about the ten lepers reminds us that sick and suffering people are all around us, even in the midst of our congregations. One of the responsibilities of pastors is to visit the sick in order to bring them Jesus’ Word and His life-giving body and blood. Yet visiting the sick is one of the good works that Jesus encourages all Christians to do. According to Matthew 25:31–40, what is the significance of visiting the sick? What does this passage teach us about the good works of Christians? How do Romans 14:23b and Ephesians 2:10 help explain this teaching about good works?
- One of the oldest names that the Church has for the Lord’s Supper is Eucharist. This name comes from the Greek word εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo), which means “to be thankful” or “to give thanks.” When Jesus took the bread and cup at the Last Supper, He “gave thanks” for both of them (Luke 22:17, 19). The Church has often called the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist because Christians come before the altar in thanksgiving of what they are about to receive: Jesus’ true body and blood. In today’s lesson, the Samaritan returns to Jesus “thanking Him,” and in the Greek, the word is εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo). How do the Samaritan’s actions toward Jesus mirror our actions at the Lord’s Supper?
- Jesus instructed the lepers to go to the priests at the temple in Jerusalem in order to be ceremonially cleansed. Once a person was physically cleansed, he needed spiritual cleansing as well. Leviticus 14:1–32 prescribes the cleansing ritual for a person who had been healed of a skin disease. The Old Testament laws for cleansing were in effect until Jesus fulfilled the Law through His death and resurrection. Instead of the Old Testament cleansing rituals, how does God cleanse us in the Church? Read the following passages and note the ways God cleanses us from sin.
a. Acts 15:5–11
b. 1 John 1:7–9
c. Ephesians 5:25–27
d. Hebrews 9:22
The text for this lesson is Luke 4:16–30
- In Nazareth, throughout His ministry, and even today, Jesus is rejected by people who do not have faith in Him. God’s Word clearly shows that Jesus is God’s Son, and in faith, we believe.
- Law: Sin blinds my eyes to the Savior. Because of my sinful weakness, I want God to show me His power with a miracle.
- Gospel: Through God’s Word and Sacraments, I can see and believe in Jesus. God, through water and His Word, has performed the greatest miracle for me, granting me forgiveness and eternal life with Him.
1. In the synagogue, Jesus would read Scripture from a scroll and then preach on the text He read. In Romans 10:17, Paul says that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” What was the primary means of teaching in Jesus’ time? Were Bibles available to the people? Would many people have been able to read Hebrew? What does this tell us about the importance of preaching in Jesus’ ministry and in the New Testament?
2. In Luke 4:24, Jesus literally says, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (author’s translation). What does the word amen mean? Why is it attached to prayers?
3. Describe the experience of spending time with people who remember what you were like when you were growing up. How does familiarity with a person’s background color your image of him or her? What would the people of Nazareth recall about Jesus’ childhood? How could this give insight into Jesus’ statement, “No prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24)?
4a. What phrases in Luke 4:18–19 indicate that Jesus will be a teacher and work miracles? Read Luke 4:31–37. How does this account in Capernaum revisit the two primary themes from His previous sermon?
4b. According to Luke 4:23, Jesus anticipated that the people of Nazareth would expect Him to perform signs and wonders such as He had done in Capernaum. “Physician, heal yourself” might be a reference to the idea that one should not forget to help his own family and friends while he assists complete strangers. Yet as a prophet, Jesus would fare no better than the prophets of Israel, such as Elijah and Elisha, who were often rejected by the people. There-fore, God sent Elijah to the Gentile (non-Israelite) widow in Zarapheth, and Elisha was given the task of cleansing the pagan Naaman. How does the account in Luke 4:28–29 suggest what will eventually happen to the prophet Jesus? Read Luke 13:31–34.
5. In Luke 4:18, Jesus says that He will “set at liberty those who are oppressed.” As has been noted, the Greek word translated as “set at liberty” is often used to describe the forgiveness of sins, so this passage announces one of the major themes of Jesus’ preaching. Read Isaiah 53:6, our Bible verse for today. In what way does sin still oppress us? In what sense are we liberated from the oppression of sin? See Luke 1:77 and 24:47.
6. Jesus quotes the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor.” Who else besides Jesus is mentioned in that verse? What event was a key revelation that Jesus is the promised Anointed One or Messiah? See Luke 3:21–22 and Acts 10:38.
7. The language of Luke 4:18–19 indicates that God has come to restore the fallen creation, to release it from bondage to decay and death. Read Colossians 1:15–20. Whom does Paul describe as the Creator of all things? How does the Creator reconcile creation to Himself? How does Luke 4:18–19 support the theme of the restored creation?
8. Luke 4:19 says that Jesus came to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The background for this statement is found in Leviticus 25, in which the Year of Jubilee is prescribed to the Israelites. Read Leviticus 25:8–10. How often was the Year of Jubilee? What occurred during this year? What themes are found in both Leviticus 25:8–10 and Luke 4:18–19?
9. What did Jesus mean in Luke 4:21 that “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”? To which passage does this refer? What does this say about the power of His preaching? What does preaching accomplish in the Church today? See 1 Corinthians 1:21–25.
10. In Luke 4:15–16, we learn that Jesus customarily taught in the Jewish synagogue. He would read the Old Testament and interpret it, revealing Himself as the Messiah. How did Paul and the apostles use the synagogue to expand the Church? See Acts 9:20; 13:5; 14:1 as examples. How does the preaching that Paul did in the synagogues compare with the preaching we hear at church today?
11. In light of Jesus’ preaching in Luke 4:18–19, why do we still see the consequences of sin in creation? What does God really desire from us? Read Hebrews 11:1.
The text for this lesson is John 2:1–11.
- Through His first miracle, Jesus revealed Himself to be true God. God uses His Word and physical means—water, bread, and wine—to reveal to me that Jesus is my Savior.
- Law: Like the disciples, I am unsure who Jesus is.
- Gospel: In His Word and Sacraments, Jesus shows me that He is the Savior, as He showed the disciples through His Word and miracles.
The text for this lesson is Luke 1:5–25.
- God in His mercy promised to send John to prepare sinful people for the coming of the Lord.
- Law: God in His Word calls us to repentance, declaring us righteous because of Jesus. Law/Gospel Points Zechariah and Elizabeth were ordinary people, sinful just as I am. I need to repent and return to the Lord.
- Gospel: I, like them, stand righteous before God in spite of my sin, being justified by Christ, the Righteous One. God forgives me for Jesus’ sake, drawing me to Him through His Word and Sacraments.
The text for this lesson is John 21:1–19.
- We are all like Peter in our words and actions, denying our Lord and weeping bitterly over what we have done. We are in need of the same comfort that Peter received—the comfort of sins forgiven and the assurance that even though we are faithless, Jesus will remain faithful.
- Law: God demands that I love Him and none other solely and completely. In my sin, I worship whatever pleases me the most at the time.
- Gospel: God’s love is everlasting and ever faithful; when I deny Him, He acknowledges me for Christ’s sake.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus appears to His disciples three times after His resurrection: on the actual day of resurrection (John 20:19–23); a week later, when Thomas was present (20:24–29); and here, at the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee). The event has echoes of a much earlier occasion, when Jesus called these men to be His disciples, for at that time too, they caught tons of fish after heeding Jesus’ words (Luke 5:1–7).
The text for this lesson is Mark 5:1–24, 35–43.
- Just as Jesus by Word and touch raised the dead girl to life, so by His divine Word, Baptism, and Supper, He kills and buries death and raises us to life eternal.
- Law: “The wages of sin is death”—wages death pays faithfully and fatally (Romans 6:23). From the stillborn babe to the gray-haired grandma, death is no respecter of persons. It has its way with us all, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Thus, for the sinner, death is the ultimate defeat, the ultimate fear, the sad end to pre-hell days.
- Gospel: The glory of God is a living man. Death is the foe of God, man, and the God-man Jesus. He is not only life itself, He is a killer of death and the bestower of life. That life He gives via Hiw Word, the very Word that once crafted a living man from dust and will, one day, raise us from the dust, resurrected and re-created to live forever with Him.