Monday, March 16, 2009

Messianic Miracles

When studying the New Testament, it is helpful to remember that there were established cultural expectations regarding the Messiah and his power.

Sometime prior to the Savior’s coming, the ancient Rabbis divided miracles into 2 categories:

A. Those anyone could perform if empowered by the Spirit and
B. Those reserved only to the Messiah

The Savior performed both types and the responses to those actions held tremendous significance. Three of the healing miracles that the Rabbis said that only the Messiah would be able to perform were:

1. Healing a leper (Luke
2. Casting a demon out of a dumb (mute) person (Mark 5:6-13; Matthew
12:22-29). This was because it was necessary to call a demon by name in order to cast it out. It took divine power to discern the name of the demon when the possessed person was unable to speak.
3. Healing a man born blind (John 9:1-12).

As an aside, one of the other Messiah-only miracles was thought by some to be the ability to walk on water and all that it implied (Job 9:1-8; Matthew 8:23-27). It was thought that Satan had dominion over the water (See also D&C 61:18-19). To walk on water meant that you had vanquished Satan’s kingdom and put his head ­ or power ­ under your feet.

Tomorrow, we'll go into more depth concerning the first Messianic healing miracle: healing a leper. This had special implications for the house of Israel living under the Law of Moses.

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