This is one of those lessons you really need to read to get the full impact of the lessons being taught. Jesus travels from place to place performing miracles, relieving the burdens and infirmities of his people. You really need to think about the full range of miracles Jesus performed to begin to get the impact of what he did. The object of studying these miracles is not so much to be impressed with what he did, but to begin to consider that he can do the same for each of us that he did for the people in the scriptures. Miracles are alive and well in the 21st century, but what do we have to do to qualify for our own miracles?
The scriptures for this lesson are: Mark 1–2; 4:35–41; 5; Luke 7:11–17
Review of the lesson
There is a veritable litany of miracles in the verses for this lesson. Everywhere Jesus went he cast out devils, so I won’t even mention that miracle in the list.
Mark 1: Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, cleanses a leper, and heals the sick.
Mark 2: Jesus forgives the sins of the man with palsy then physically heals him and sends him home.
Mark 4: Jesus calms the sea and wind and raises the dead son of the widow of Nain.
Mark 5: Jesus heals the woman with an issue of blood and raises the twelve year old daughter of Jairus from the dead.
Jesus was a busy man. Everywhere he went in Galilee he was thronged by masses of people, all wanting to see him, hear him, or be healed by him. Disruption followed him wherever he went. The people in Nazareth had rejected him because they knew him. But everywhere else he went the people couldn’t get enough of him. Some were there, no doubt for the sensationalism of what was happening. But others were there because they believed in what Jesus said and in his power to heal.
Nature of miracles
Brigham Young said: “Miracles, or these extraordinary manifestations of the power of God, are not for the unbeliever; they are to console the Saints, and to strengthen and confirm the faith of those who love, fear, and serve God”
(Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 341).
Let’s look at the nature of those who were following Jesus from place to place. There were bound to be skeptics, there always are. There were also many who saw or heard what Jesus did and believed he could help them as well. But instead of sitting at home or just going to work each day while wishing someone would heal them or their loved one, they did something about it. They found out where Jesus was and went to him. In the case of the man with palsy, his friends hauled him to the roof of the house, dismantled the roof, and lowered him down to Jesus to get help for their friend.
This is faith. When we turn our belief into action suitable to that belief, it becomes a principle of power, an agent of change. These believers followed him anywhere he went in order to try to get close enough to him to get healed or have their burden lifted by the Master. In the case of the woman with the issue of blood, her faith was such that she knew that all it would take was to touch his clothing and she could be healed.
The interesting thing about the woman with the issue of blood, is that faith in Christ is not independent of Christ. She had the faith to be healed, but it was still his power that healed her. She touched his clothing without him even seeing her there, but he still felt someone access his power, even though he was being thronged from all sides by the people. So he stopped and turned around and asked who touched him. That is when the woman came and confessed. He told her that her faith had made her whole, yet it was still his power that had done the deed.
The larger miracles
The miracle we just discussed was very private, between the woman and Jesus. But what of those larger miracles? When Christ was crossing the waters and the sailors were afraid the boats were going to sink, Christ controlled the elements of the earth themselves in order to calm the fears of those around him. When the widow of Nain and all her friends and relatives were mourning for the loss of her only son, Jesus raised him from the dead to put her soul at rest. He had compassion on them.
Jesus knew the boats would not sink, because he was in one of them. He knew the fate of that young man he raised from the dead, because he was that boy’s savior. It was because he had compassion on those around him who didn’t know these things that he performed the miracles so their minds and hearts would be at peace. My favorite title for Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
The people of Nazareth did not qualify for miracles because they refused to believe in Christ’s power to perform those miracles. The people who were healed were blessed with miracles in their lives because they were willing to believe he not only could do it, but would do it for them. Many of these were not members of Christ’s church, but they had faith. Faith is the only requirement for most miracles.
When we take our sorrows and burdens to the Lord, how much faith do we have that he can and will lift our burdens and heal our infirmities. When we put a name on the prayer rolls of the temple do we really believe that the combined faith of those attending the temple will bring miracles into the life of the name we placed on the rolls? Or do we put the name in the temple because someone told us we are supposed to?
Yes, the miracles discussed in this lesson are primarily physical healings and outward shows of power. He can and will do that whenever it is needed and warranted. But what about the inward, spiritual healings? Can he heal us of pride, envy, strife, heartache? Can he sooth and calm the heart infirm from betrayal, loss, a life weighed down with sin? The answer is yes.
The miracles of Jesus in the New Testament are the miracles prophesied for many centuries. But most of these miracles are only the outward showing of what he can also do for us inwardly. Just as the people had to hitch up their belief in Jesus and go to him physically for their healings, so too do we need to hitch up our belief and go to him in prayer and fasting, believing with our whole soul that he not only has the power to cleanse and heal us, but that he wants to and will do it.
When you take your burdens to the Lord, expect to leave them at his feet. Expect to have your heart comforted and your mind soothed. Faith is an expectation of results, not just a belief that something could happen. Christ is just as anxious and as willing to bless us today as he was willing to bless the lives of those around him while in mortality. It doesn’t matter how many others are praying to him; if we go to him in faith, our faith will make us whole by touching his power, just like the woman with the issue of blood.