Jesus performed thousands of miracles. He was constantly healing endless numbers of people. Some He raised from the dead.
He was sensitive to the needy and never avoided or resisted an opportunity to give His support. He even responded to basic human needs that were far from life threatening. He fed thousands who were neither poor nor malnourished on at least two occasions, possibly more. John did say Jesus performed many other miracles that were not reported.
But, the questions are:
- Was Jesus being helpful or miraculous?
- Was He being supportive or sensational?
- Was He demonstrating usefulness or power?
These are important questions. They establish motive and we can never qualify as “followers” of Jesus if we don’t understand and adopt His motives.
If Jesus was being miraculous (powerful and sensational) then we must do the same. The “gift of healing” by miraculous means must become usual. We would expect many to be spiritual healers and those who are not, to be completely supportive of those who are…if Jesus’ primary intent was to be miraculous.
If, however, Jesus was being helpful, that changes everything. The good He accomplished becomes our goal and the methods He used become secondary to the outcome and peculiar to His ministry not ours. Only a few people claim to be miraculous but any person can be helpful and there are many ways to do so without invoking spiritual power.
If “being helpful” was Jesus’ motive then healing by medical means becomes a legitimate expression of ministry. Medical research and development would then carry religious significance. Getting cures to the millions who need them would be a priority. Feeding the hungry, housing the exposed and clothing the naked should be essential aspirations for every Christian. These things done charitably and on a wide scale would put Christians in a different light. Agnostics and atheists would think twice about denying the Jesus they follow.
These things, however, don’t necessarily characterize modern day church ministries. Some churches do make grandiose but largely unsubstantiated claims of miracles and other churches are predominantly teaching institutions in the traditional sense of the word; Sunday Schools, Bible studies, institutes, etc. Jesus was a teacher also but there was nothing traditional about His approach. He taught more by the things He did than the things He said.
The Sermon on the Mount, The Olivet Discourse and the discussion during the Last Supper were some of the very few times Jesus used a “traditional” class-room approach to teaching and these passages represent only a small portion of the Gospels. Every other teaching moment involved interaction between Jesus and His detractors. Rarely did Jesus direct His teaching exclusively to disciples. Even if the Gospels contained nothing but pure theology it would still be very slim by Christian academic standards. Teaching, in the traditional sense, was not the primary approach of Jesus.
Jesus taught mostly by the things He did and He was largely involved in charity. Charity wasn’t the end of His ministry but you could say it was a primary tool. For Jesus, charity opened the door to evangelism. Jesus didn’t give us a text book, He gave us an example to follow.
That doesn’t mean community and charitable service is allowed. Rather it is mandatory. Following are links to organizations which exemplify these ideas: Children’s Resiliency Project, Starfish Foundation, and Lily of the Valley.
If you are not involved in any humanitarian activities and not sure what to do, first check out this eHow site which gives pointers on how to get started.
What do you THINK!AboutIt.