Miracles, Challenges and Parables

Matthew 14:14-36, 15:1-20, Mark 6:34-56, 7:1-23, Luke 9:11-17, John 6:2-71, 7:1

Mark 6:34, Luke 9:11 - Here we see Jesus' teaching and healing was motivated by his compassion.

Matthew 14:23-33, Mark 6:47-52, John 6:17-21 - This is one of my favorite miracles of Jesus. He seems to be having fun with the 12 and His powers, as He does in the previous story about feeding the 5,000 (In John 6:5 Jesus seems to be teasing Philip about buying food for the people.) He sends them on ahead, the wind is against them, they get three to three and a half miles out and here comes Jesus walking on the water. In fact, they're rowing but he's caught them and was about to pass them when they noticed. I can almost hear Jesus saying as they cry out, "Oh, I didn't see you there. Can I get a lift?"

Mark 6:51-52 - For a long time I didn't understand this statement. What did the loaves have to do with this walking on the water? Ironically, I guess my heart was hardened. Perhaps the point of the loaves was not to feed the people, wow them or to toy with His disciples. I was to point out that Jesus was no ordinary man, he was God in the flesh. Some of the disciples got it and were not shocked at this action by Jesus (Matthew 14:33) but the others were amazed because the loaves had gone over their heads.

John 6:25 - I get the impression that they were more annoyed at being left behind rather than being interested in following Jesus.

John 6:30-31 - Can they be serious? Didn't he just feed them from nothing? I guess they didn't understand about the loaves either.

John 6:44 - Did Jesus mean here that God chooses who will be able to come to Him and who will not? On the face of it that is what it would seem, but the rest of this passage (John 6:41-66) seem to indicate man's coming to God. vs. 45 - "every one how "listens ... comes to me", vs. 47 "he who believes has everlasting life.", vs. 51 - "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.", vs. 56 - "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him." In John 6:64-65 He says "Yet there are some of you who do not believe. ... This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." I can't tell if it's just my preconceived notion getting in the way of my understanding here or if it's really this challenging. I have a feeling there's some truth here between my traditional view of man seeking and finding God and the opposite extreme of God picking and choosing the saved based on His own discernment.

Matthew 10:13-14 - Again Jesus seems to indicate that some men are sent from God and others are not. Yet He follows that up with a call for discernment on the part of the follower. So men 'from God' are not necessarily sent from God but simply those who do God's will.

Matthew 15:17-20 - This is a simple yet profound truth, and one that people continually miss. We want rules and regulations to know how we stand before God. We want assurance that we're doing the right things, but God here points out to us that it is not the things we do that matter but who we are.

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I too am curious about this "enabled" business. Unless the Father enables them. Well, I looked it up in the New King James Version (my latest infatuation of bible versions) and it says,"Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." This way of stating it reminded me of Romans 9:15 where Paul is stating that it is God's choice as to whom he has mercy on. Period. And rightly so. But my thinking is that God the Father will make that choice based on the bible (John 12:47-49) so the choice has already been made. Huh? IF, and I mean IF, we are talking new covenant, it would seem that we would have to submit to the established Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2) keys to kingdom way of entering a relationship with God. If I hear the message, have an active faith expressed by repentance and baptism, then I can enter the new covenant. Is that not when God enables us? Or is more metephysical than that? Does the Father actually choose "this one yes, that one no, this one yes, that one no" pre the hearing of the gospel? Does the Father restrict different people from even hearing the gospel? Is that what is meant by God granting them that? That would seem inconsistant with the rest of the scriptures. I've always understood it like this: God's grace was expressed (as was his Love for us) at the cross. He "enables" us to approach him by giving us means to unite ourselves with the cross via the Gospel. The Gospel preached and in the word. And this Gospel is for all of mankind (John 3:16). If the Gospel is for all of mankind, then biblical congruency would dictate that this enabling would have to be the new covenant? No? I'm curious.

This was particularly interesting to me because of the number of Calvinist bloggers I've met. Jared, of both Thinklings and Mysterium Tremendum, is the main one. I find him a very reasonable and thoughtful person so it gives me pause to dismiss it out of hand. Calvinists believe in limited atonement, that it that slavation is only for those whom God has chosen to be saved. We have nothing to do with it. This idea, dispite Jared's thoughtful and passionate defense of it, runs contrary to my understanding of Christianity. I do find something intriguing about Calvinism, however. I think it's partly the way it presents all of God's working in the world in such a neat and tidy package. I like being able to put it all into a nice, neat formula.



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  • This was particularly interesting to me because of the number of Calvinist bloggers I've met. Jared, of both Thinklings and Mysterium Tremendum, is the main one. I find him a very reasonable and thoughtful person so it...

  • I too am curious about this "enabled" business. Unless the Father enables them. Well, I looked it up in the New King James Version (my latest infatuation of bible versions) and it says,"Therefore I have said to you tha...

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