Becker Bible Studies Christology
The Powers of the LORD God Expressed
Jesus Christ is recorded in the Book of John as performing eight great sign miracles. These events offered proof of Christ's divinity according to Dr. Elmer Towns, renowned professor of Liberty University, and author of The Gospel of John, Believe and Live. While the proof of Christ's Deity while he walked upon the earth is not conclusive,1 these eight sign miracles reveal the powers of the LORD God that He chose to express through Jesus Christ as he walked the earth with the nature of man. These powers demonstrated through the signs performed by Christ leave no doubt as to the Godly origin and reassure believers of the power of Jesus Christ today as he rules over creation with the nature of God.
Turning of water into wine (Holy Bible, John 2:1-11)
The first expression of LORD God's power through Jesus Christ was done at the celebration of a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples were informed by Mary, blessed mother of Jesus that the wine had run out for the guests. Jesus took six waterpots and instructed the servants to fill them with water. When the servants drew out the liquid from the pots, they found the water had turned to a very high quality of wine, which was served to the appreciative guests.
This was the first of the eight signs of the LORD God's power expressed through Jesus Christ that is recorded in the Book of John. The immediate result of this miracle manifested the glory of Jesus,2 which caused his disciples to believe on him (Holy Bible, John 2:11). According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over the creation (Towns, xiii). Jesus Christ was present and actively participating at the creation of the world and possessed the nature of God (Holy Bible, John 1:1-4), and we know that following his ascension to Heaven, he once again possessed the nature of God and was given the power to judge His creation (Holy Bible, Romans 2:1-16). Thus, Jesus Christ's power over creation of past and future times as Deity was shown to mankind through this first sign of making water into wine as the LORD God expressed His power through Christ's natural being and made the miracle happen in real time and in the presence of witnesses.
Healing of a nobleman's son (Holy Bible, John 4:46-54)
Jesus Christ came again to Cana in Galilee where a nobleman approached him and told him about his sick and dying son in Capernaum. The nobleman asked Jesus to heal him and Jesus spoke the word of healing, and the boy was healed through the faith of the nobleman in Jesus Christ. When the nobleman arrived at his house he found his child healed; when he enquired to the hour of healing, the time confirmed that it was done at the time that Jesus spoke the words of certain healing.
According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over space (Towns, xiii). When Jesus Christ spoke the words in Cana of Galilee, the dying boy was healed in Capernaum. The immediate intent of this miracle was to show people and bring them to belief (Holy Bible, John 4:48). This expression of the LORD God's power through Jesus Christ through this miracle showed that space does not limit God, nor does it restrict Jesus Christ today, as he holds the nature and power of God once again upon his throne in Heaven.
Healing of a lame man (Holy Bible, John 5:1-9)
While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles, he observed an infirmed man who had lain near the sheep market pool for years, hoping for relief from his condition. He was unable to join the impotent multitude that waited for the angels to trouble the waters and make them whole, because of his condition making him unable to reach the waters first. Jesus asked him "Wilt thou be made whole?" and instructed him to "Rise, take up thy bed and walk." The man immediately took up his bed and walked on the Sabbath Day. This angered the Jews because the Holy Day of Sabbath was violated. Jesus made the point with them that it was His Father's Will of when and how to use His Power. According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over time (Towns, xiii). The LORD God chooses the timing of His miracles, and He chooses the deliverance of those He Wills. Jesus Christ healed the lame man through the expression of the powers of God, to show a greater authority over the law of Sabbath, and exemplify the power over time given to Christ at His moving.
Feeding of the 5,000 (Holy Bible, John 6:1-14)
A great multitude of people had followed Jesus to hear him speak on the eve of Passover, and there was little food to feed the hungry crowd. Jesus first questioned Philip where bread could be purchased. Dr. Towns suggests that since the answer to the question was already known by Jesus, that it was asked to test Philip on whether he recognized the deified Son of God (Towns, 59).3 Disciple Andrew found a small boy that had five barley loaves and two small fishes, after Philip expressed the lack of enough food to feed the multitude of people. About 5,000 men were instructed to sit down. Jesus took the loaves and fish, gave thanks to the LORD God, and then had his disciples hand out the food to those sitting. When the men were finished eating, Jesus instructed his disciples to gather up the fragments of food that remain, so that nothing is lost. The disciples filled twelve baskets with the leftover fragments.
According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over food (Towns, xiii). The immediate revelation of this miracle showed Jesus to be "that prophet" that was prophesied to come into the world by Scripture. The miracle "excited the wonder of the people and compelled them to recognize that Jesus was an unusual person" (Tenney 72). However, the deeper meaning of this sign showed the expressed power of the LORD God through Jesus Christ concerning His food. In even deeper reflection, the food is not only of the literal substance commonly known to feed the hungry stomachs, but also speaks deeply of the bread of Christ that is eaten to fill the souls of men. Even a small portion of spiritual food produces great feedings for everyone who hungers, with more than enough to fill, and considered so precious that none should remain once given by Him.
Jesus walking on the water (Holy Bible, John 6:15-21)
While Jesus Christ went to the mountain, his disciples went down to the sea and entered a ship headed toward Capernaum. In the dark of the night, the sea rose up, and there was a great wind blowing upon them. After rowing fifty-five furlongs, they spotted Jesus walking upon the sea, and approaching close to the ship, which caused them to fear. Jesus reassured the scared disciples that it was him; they willingly received him, at which point the ship had immediately reached its destination.
According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over natural laws (Towns, xiii).This power expressed through Jesus by God not only circumvented natural laws, but in a deeper sense portrayed the power God held over death itself, and the great divide that separates the Heavens from the Earth. As the fearful disciples were buffeted by the stormy seas, Jesus met them with the power over nature and kept them unafraid, as the passover to the other side was immediately completed. The deepest of symbols and its important "hidden" meaning to both living and dying Christians was expressed through this miracle, as God's power over natural laws was revealed.
Healing of a blind man (Holy Bible, John 9:1-12)
Jesus passed by a blind man from birth. His disciples asked if this man were blind because of sin of his parents or himself. Jesus said that neither had sinned, but, rather, the man had been made blind so that the "the works of God should be made manifest in him" (Holy Bible, John 9:4). The man was so blind so Jesus could do the works of God, and establish that he was the "light of the world" while he was in the world. Jesus bent to the ground and mixed clay and his spit, and anointed the blind man's eyes. He then instructed the man to wash his eyes in the clean pool of Siloam. When the blind man followed the instructions of Jesus, his eyes were healed and the blind man was able to see.
According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over physical laws (Towns, xiii). It was physically impossible for the blind man except for the power over physical laws displayed through the expression of God's power through Jesus Christ. Today, Jesus Christ holds the nature of God, and has this same power over physical laws as was used upon the blind man to make him see.
Raising Lazarus from the dead (Holy Bible, John 11:1-44)
Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary, was dying in Bethany, and Jesus knew that his beloved friend's death was occurring to bring glory to God, so that the "Son of God might me glorified" (Holy Bible, John 11:4). Jesus did not journey to Lazarus for two days, until death had occurred. Jesus and his disciples reached the burial site of Lazarus after he had been dead for four days. Jesus comforted Mary and promised her that Lazarus shall rise again because "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? " These eternal-life-giving words recorded in John 11:26, and spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ were trusted by Mary who pronounced her belief that he was indeed Christ, the Son of God, which was prophesized to come into the world.
Jesus went to his Lazarus's grave and cried for either the pain that death brought, or possibly for the lack of faithfulness of some who doubted the power of the LORD God (Kruse 254). Some criticized Jesus for not preventing the death in the first place. Jesus ordered the stone to be removed from Lazarus's grave. He lifted his eyes toward Heaven and said "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou has sent me" (Holy Bible, John 11:41, 42). When he finished his prayer, Jesus Christ called with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth" (Holy Bible, John 11:43). Lazarus rose from his grave, and came out to Jesus, bound hand and foot with grave clothes and a napkin upon his face. Lazarus lived again!
According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over death (Towns, xiii). The glory of God was seen through the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead through the power expressed through Jesus Christ because the witnesses believed in him. The prayer of Jesus reflects his reliance upon his Father to express the miracle power through him as he walked this earth with the nature of man.
Miraculous catch of fish (Holy Bible, John 21:1-11)
On one of the forty days that Jesus walked upon the earth following his Resurrection, Jesus showed himself to the disciples Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two other unnamed at the Sea of Tiberias. The fishing trip had been started earlier by Peter, who climbed aboard a ship because he wanted to go fishing. They fished all night and caught nothing. The next morning, Jesus shouted to them from the shore "Children, have ye any meat? Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (Holy Bible, John 21:5,6). They cast their nets as instructed, and their nets were filled with a multitude of fishes so great, that they could not pull them into their boat, requiring them to drag their filled nets to the shore.
This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples. It is important to note that Jesus Christ was outwardly changed after his Resurrection. The disciples did not recognize his outward appearance, but "knew" he was the Lord in their spiritual instinct (Tenney, 200).
According to Dr. Towns, this miracle showed power over all of the above miracles (Towns, xiii). Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, Praise be to God! His Deity was apparent, and he had the nature of God. No longer was he limited by the nature of man, or depended upon the LORD God to express the power through Him. He was now able to do it Himself, and for forty days the miracles He accomplished were at His Hands. He had conquered death, and ascended to His Father to claim the nature of God once again, before returning to walk as the Resurrected Christ for forty days on this Earth (Holy Bible, John 20:17).4 He was filled with the power of God that He had before creation, and He was no longer limited by the nature of man.
In conclusion, the Deity of Jesus Christ in Heaven today is apparent; the Deity of Jesus Christ before he came to this earth as a human being is recorded in the Word of God and known with certainty to be true. However, strong evidence exists within the Gospels that Jesus Christ walked this earth with only the nature of man. He was tempted of the devil, yet resisted revealing the nature of God that he had subdued when he took upon himself the nature of man; even more compelling, he was crucified as a man, not a God, as sacrifice for our sins. It was not God who hung upon the cross, but rather the most innocent of human beings, that bled the blood of humans, and had the nature of man. Thus, it is highly improbable that Jesus performed miracles with his own being by utilizing his nature of God; his own Deity could not have been reflected through the miracles he did, because the nature of man does not originate miracles. It was only after Jesus Christ resurrected from his grave and ascended to his Father to receive His nature of God once again, that Christ's Deity was apparent to all who saw the Resurrected Christ for the next forty days.
While Jesus walked this earth, he reflected the signs given by His Father through the power expressed through him by God. Each miracle that is recorded in the book of John showed the power of God over a specific thing. Dr. Towns was brilliant in organizing these different powers into reflecting the deeper things of God, and concluding that these powers reflect the absolute control of God. Even though disagreement exists concerning the exact origin and process of the unfolding miracles, there is no disagreement that their reflections magnify the power and glory of Christ today, has He wields them perfectly with His Deified Nature of God.
Calvin, John. Calvin's Commentaries. Vol. XVIII. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005. 22 vols.
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About the Author
Kathy L. McFarland is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity (Professional Ministries Track) degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary & Graduate School. Kathy is a noted expert on Old Testament exegesis, Christian apologetics, and Bible typology and mysteries.