Sunday, 9 March 2008

Messianic Miracles

The Old Testament prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. There were several clues that God had given his prophets over hundreds of years about who and when the Messiah would be. God brought these things to pass in Jesus.

Beresford Job has an interesting article on the rabbinical requirements for the Messiah. His article is based on material by Arnold Fruchtenbaum at Ariel Ministries. The ancient rabbis had a theory about the Messiah and grouped miracles into messianic and non-messianic miracles. The messianic miracles were a list of miracles that could only be performed by the Messiah. Their reasoning meant to them that the person doing these miracles would be the promised Messiah.

Now this is man's requirement so there is no divine necessity that these miracles be performed by Jesus. Further there is no reason to think the Pharisees were correct in their assertion that only the Messiah could perform these miracles; God could surely work these miracles in any of his servants by the power of his Spirit.

Nevertheless, Jesus acquiesced to these requirements-of-men and there could be no doubt Jesus was the Promised One of God.

What were these miracles?

Healing a Leper. Casting out a dumb demon. Healing a man born blind.

The healing of a leper miracle was reasoned because it had never happened to a Jew since the episode with Miriam. Further the Mosaic Law prescribed the law for investigating healing and ceremonial requirement for one who was healed but not a method for healing.

The healing of a man born blind was also because it had not been known to happen and it was reasoned that the Messiah would be able to do this.

The casting out of a dumb demon came about because of the rabbinical methodology for dealing with demons. They would start a conversation with the demon, get the demon to name himself, then cast the demon out with the use of his name. Obviously this would not work with a mute demon—one that would not speak and dumb he possessed person.

Jesus performed all 3 miracles and that in the presence of the Pharisees. Not that this was necessary for Jesus to do, he was under no obligation to the Pharisees, and the Bible did not hint at these as messianic signs, it gave other ones. Nor was the Pharisees' theology necessarily correct. But by Jesus' actions they were confronted with who he really was by their own reasoning.

The article is worth a read for expanded details about the so called messianic miracles, how Jesus used these miracles to confront the Pharisees with his Messiahhood, and how Jesus performed these miracles in ways that, while consistent with God's law, intentionally broke their traditions.

2 comments:

  1. Just curious, what sources did you use? How do you know that Jews believed only the Messiah could do these miracles?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here is the article linked to in the post: http://www.fallingwalls.com/Files/Traditions%20-%20Chapter%202.pdf

    Beresford Job bases his paper on this article: http://www.ariel.org/mbstoc/mbs035t.pdf (this is only a table of contents).

    ReplyDelete

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