Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
February 14, 2014
Peter and John were taken before the high priest and other Jewish leaders and questioned for teaching the gospel of Christ. After hearing them answer, the Bible tells us, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). It was obvious to these leaders that having been with Jesus had changed these two men. While walking on this earth, Jesus changed people; some He changed physically and some He changed spiritually and some He changed both physically and spiritually. The fact is, Jesus still changes people. Let us note some of the changes made by Jesus in the New Testament.
Jesus made blind men see. Just after raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead, two blind men followed him crying for mercy. “Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened…” (Matt. 9:27-30). However, the healing of spiritual blindness that Jesus has performed is of much greater value. When Jesus was just eight days old, a man named Simeon “took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32). John wrote, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4-5). The gospel of Christ is still that which will light the way to eternal life. Paul told Timothy, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim. 1:10). Now it is up to us to dwell in this light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).
Jesus made hungry people full. From Mark’s account, we read in the sixth chapter where Jesus fed about five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes and then took up twelve baskets full of fragments. Then in the eight chapter we read where He fed about four thousand with seven loaves and a few small fishes and then took up seven baskets of fragments. Jesus could fill the bellies of the hungry. However, He recognized the need and was able to fulfill a much greater hunger. When tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He quoted from the old law saying, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). In the sermon on the mount He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). To His apostles He said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Peter tells us, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:2). One may well be overweight in the physical sense while starving in the spiritual.
Jesus can change the dead to the living. Of course the most famous of the raising of the dead that Jesus did was that of the Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. When Jesus spoke the words, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), that is exactly what Lazarus did, he came forth. But, spiritual death far out weighs physical death. Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). The apostle Paul told the Ephesians, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). And then, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-6). In the parable of the prodigal son, the father says, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24). Faithful service to the Lord after being made alive spiritually, results in eternal life. Jesus said, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46).
It is a simple fact that Jesus changed people while he was walking this earth. Much of that which was done was for the purpose of proving Him to be “the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). He changed people both physically and spiritually that we might depend upon Him to seek that spiritual change that will bring to us eternal salvation. Many were stubborn and determined not to let Jesus change them for the good, but such is the most deadly error that anyone can possibly make.
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