“If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him”

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“He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” (Mt.27:42 NKJV)

It is a very important verse! Its importance is not due to moral or spiritual principles that it puts but to the fact that it reveals the mentality and the weakness bound with the human nature, on the one hand, and the human mentality inflamed by Satan, on the other hand! Its importance is also great for another reason: because it makes us think about the role of miracles in the context of spiritual life, notably with regard to the birth and preservation of faith…

Let’s examine it more closely. The first thing that we note is that those that looked at Jesus dying on the cross knew well that Jesus had saved other people. The second thing is that the same people, who knew that Jesus had saved other people, thought that Jesus was unable to save Himself. And the third thing is that they asked to see a miracle to believe Him.

Bad will and bad faith result in blindness and perdition

They knew well, not only by the hearing but also by their own eyes the people who had received healing of their body and their souls by Jesus’ miraculous actions but also the people who have been raised from the dead like Lazarus and the only son of the widow of Naïn. The previous miracles were not sufficient to make them believe! They wanted to see a miracle again to believe when Jesus was on the cross! A supplementary miracle! The Bible tells us that a lot of people had believed in Him because of the miracles that He had operated and because “… of the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth…” (Lu.4:22); because of His unequalled teaching; because of His arguments that put to silence those that wanted to trap Him! But they, no! Seeing the crowd that followed Jesus they didn’t want merely to kill Him but they also wanted to murder Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead; Lazarus that had become the source of conversion of a lot of souls.

They wanted a supplementary miracle: “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Mt.27:43). Dear friend: can you convince someone that doesn’t want to be convinced? Their bad choice and their pervert mind had blinded them…

Jesus was able to but didn’t want to save Himself, and that for our salvation

Even on the cross, Jesus was able to show them a miracle but He didn’t want to satisfy their vain curiosity, respond to their challenge and to impose on them «faith»; besides, would that be faith or vision? A lot of people ask to see a sign in the life of those that profess to be Christians in order to be able to believe in God and in them… They always want a visible proof… to satisfy their curiosity but not to repent, to be converted and to confide in God… [Of course, we must not exclude those who, in a spirit of sincerity, want to see a miracle to be helped and be able to believe; such a man was, for example, Gideon (Judges Ch.6)].

The Lord Jesus had yet reserved them again a miracle but in His time and not on the basis of their request «here and now»… The «sign of Jonas the prophet»: His resurrection! Did they believe after His resurrection? Absolutely not! They had given, on the contrary, bribes to the soldiers who kept Jesus’ body in order not to reveal the truth about His resurrection! What perversion of mind and soul… “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Ac.28:27)

May God keep us!

Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared: “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (Joh.10:17-18). Jesus could save Himself but He didn’t want it, because “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mr.10:45). “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, «Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree»)” (Ga.3:13). Yes, for you and me, my friend! May God open us our spirit so that we can understand what is the width, the length, the depth and the height of the love of Christ that led Him to His sacrifice on the cross for us (Eph.3:18). May God fill our hearts with the determination to take full advantage of this sacrifice for our salvation and for the salvation of a lot of other people! The only thing He requires of us is to repent and put our trust in Him!

The miracles and the faith

Here is what Jesus declared concerning the miracles in relation to people who are deprived of good will and good faith: “…If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” (Lu.16:29-31). Peter, the apostle, wrote in the same spirit in his epistle by saying, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: «This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.» And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so WE HAVE THE PROPHETIC WORD CONFIRMED, (we have the prophetic word made more sure – RSV) which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” (2Pe.1:16-19). These verses demonstrate to us that neither the resurrection of the dead nor the ocular and auditory testimonies can be compared with the certainty and the assurance that God’s Word gives us.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Mt.24:35; Mr.13:31; Lu.21:33).

Today’s tendency

It is, indeed, discouraging to witness what happens nowadays: The modern «religious» people try to attract the crowds either in churches or in evangelistic rallies by advertising campaigns of healers and by other «miraculous» spectacles, as the casting out of demons etc. They try to instil faith in Christ and create spiritual revivals by such methods. In addition, numerous are the itinerary missionaries that try to make people believe in Christ by telling them the wonderful miracles that happen in Africa or in Latin America or elsewhere. They do not try to lead people to God and to the salvation of their souls by the Word of God, by repentance and faith in Christ, but by impressive miracles! Remission of sins does not come through miracles but through the baptism of repentance (Mrk.1:4; Ac.2:38): “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Ac.3:19). This is the reason why we have weak and stumbling Christians because they are not converted and strengthened by God’s Word, by means of repentance and faith, but mainly by “miracles”; I wish they were all true miracles leading to salvation!

Let there be no misunderstanding of this message! I am not against miracles and against miraculous healings etc. How could I ever be? In fact, the Bible speaks clearly about the gifts of healing and casting out of demons. I am simply against false healers or “Christian charlatans” and against people who pretend having the gift of casting out demons. Such people are welcomed by people who are ignorant of the Bible or who are not well versed in the Bible truths… I am even against true healers who try to “save” people or rather influence people through their gifts and not through the Word of God. Emphasis should be on the Word of God by which healing and deliverance may take place at all times in Jesus’ Name. Salvation of lost souls should be the target!

I have seen healers who distributed papers to those who wanted to be healed so that they might write on them their illnesses and return the papers to the healer so that he might pray for their healing; other healers who were asking the sick people to put their hands on the part of their body that suffered and that he would pray for them; I have seen healers specialized in certain illnesses (!); healers who counted those that were supposed to have been healed etc., and gave statistical reports to their superiors! All these spectacles were accompanied by a rain… of «amen», of «alleluia» and of «clapping of hands», but the illnesses were and are still there! If the healing didn’t succeed, that was the mistake of the suffering person that didn’t have the necessary faith… and not because of the healer! Certain healers also gave instructions to the “healed” people to do some exercises and/or to go to the doctor or to… wait! And what should we say about some people who pretend casting out demons? They hunt demons by words and strong screams, but the demons were and are still there… They are simple exorcists. Nothing else!

Do you think that I don’t believe in miracles? God forbid! My God Jesus Christ is a God of miracles! It is He the true healer! It is He who delivers from demons! He is the same today as He was yesterday. I have seen and experienced miracles in my own life. In addition, I saw miracles in my life that didn’t have the spectacular character of a miracle; I could, however, discern that it was “the finger of God”! John, the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, when he saw that they were unable to draw the net they had cast on the right side of the boat (according to “unknown” man’s instructions on the shore) because of the multitude of fish, he discerned what was going on and said to Peter “It is the Lord” (Joh.21:6-11). A natural scene, which was, however, produced by Jesus Christ’s divine power!

Everything miraculously true that I saw and I lived encouraged me and comforted me; everything that I saw and lived increased my faith to God’s faithfulness. I found out that Jesus keeps always His word! Allow me, nevertheless, to ask you a question: Did our Lord Jesus Christ or his apostles apply such or similar methods and such or similar advertisements or publicity that modern miracle makers apply? Let us read attentively the Bible and compare! In addition, let us not forget that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and his ministers also as ministers of righteousness (2Co.11:14-15); that Satan can make miracles (Ex.ch.7 and 8) and that he is capable of instilling even doubt concerning true miracles and assigning them to other factors…

Let me repeat, in other terms, what I have just declared: My theme is neither a polemic against healers nor against those that cast out demons and when it is about true miracles. My objective is to put the emphasis on God’s Word, which is more sure and certain as compared with true miracles. May God make us more attentive to this great and glorious truth: There is no substitute for the Word of God, which is the true, the only true source of salvation of the soul for eternity both for men and women who rely on it. The Bible is the permanent miracle of all centuries. Our God’s Word stands for ever (Es.40:8). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” said Jesus (Mt.24:35). Yes, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.” (Ps.19:7-11). Amen!

John BALTATZIS

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