Signs and Wonders

 

Acts 7:55-60 

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
1 Peter 2:2-10
John 14:1-14

 

Turning back to Acts 6:8, we read, And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the peopleESV This is the first mention of Stephen.

What were the wonders and signs? In John 4:43-54, Jesus said, “I suppose you will never believe unless you see signs and wonders!” Phillips He responded to the plea of an official whose son was near death. There was no mention of faith, just Jesus’ response, “Go; your son will live.” ESV The man returned because he believed that Jesus could heal, not because he believed Jesus was the Messiah. But he and his whole household believed in Jesus, the man, to be a healer.

For Jesus, and Stephen as well, a wonder is an event that cannot be explained by our normal life experiences. It may be explained scientifically, but not always. A sign is different in that the event specifically points to Jesus as the Messiah. When Jesus heals a boy miles away, that fulfills Old Testament descriptions of what the Messiah could do. When Stephen heals a person in the name of Jesus, that also points to the Messiahship of Jesus, Stephen’s master.

There is more going on than just randomly healing people. All healing events were signs. They were people placed before Jesus by God. Jesus recognized the presence of God and reacted and interacted with the people brought to him. The sign happened when Jesus said, “You are healed,” “Rise up,” “Go to the Temple.”

At the most basic, Jesus did not heal people; Jesus relayed the Grace of God to people in need. God, as Jesus said, is the source of all power. While on earth, Jesus was his servant, choosing to do what God commanded him to do, and nothing else.

The first eighteen verses of the Gospel of John take us from the Word to Jesus, using both Jewish and Greek logic systems. By Word, John means that God spoke, expressed Himself, communicated, declared, whispered. We know that words we speak can have power, often unintended power. The Words of God are perfect and magnitudes more powerful than our own.

In one of those wonders, God’s Word created the universe in which we live—and perhaps many more—and went on to become a human, to walk with us and show us the way of the Word. As John puts it, Jesus was, full of grace and truthNIV

To be his disciple, his follower, his believer, his talmidim, we must become filled with grace and truth.

I just looked up the definition of grace, and it is both physically adept and beautiful. At first, I thought neither applied, but why not beautiful in the sense of perfection. But there is another important meaning of grace: to be given something we do not deserve; to be forgiven by God.

We all need to work on forgiveness, both our forgiving other people, and accepting God’s forgiveness of us.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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