|Series Theme: Jesus Christ, the Son of God|
|Meditation No. 16|
|Meditation Title: Uniqueness|
Mt 11:4,5 Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
It might be good to recap some of the things we have considered in this set of meditations. We have considered the fact that the Old Testament had many prophecies in it referring to one who would come to Israel to deliver them, a Messiah or Christ. We have observed how the Gospel writers saw in Jesus a variety of things that made them realise that he was fulfilling these verses. Yet some of these verses indicated that the coming one would be far more than a mere man. We saw some claims of angelic visitations pronouncing Jesus as God's Son. We also saw Jesus himself talking about having come down from heaven in language that spoke of pre-existence. We saw Jesus being worshipped and considered the truth that only deity is worshipped and, what is worse, Jesus never rebuked those who worshipped him.
But the biggest issue is what Jesus said about himself. Many of his claims were quite subtle, but nevertheless the Jews realised what he was saying and tried to stone him for blasphemy. Some of those times were when he equated himself with God in heaven, and others were when he claimed the power only given to God, to forgive sins. Near the end, he was more outspoken and provoked the religious leaders to ask if he were the Son of God, to which he replied in the affirmative. We also observed the two occasions when a heavenly voice announced him and one occasion when he appeared in his glory to three of the disciples. Add to that the fact that the Gospel writers were obviously utterly convinced as to who he was, and we have a compelling case.
Before we go any further, it may just be worth while picking up one possible objection that is sometimes spoken out. Well, says our objector, we see that indeed there are these claims that you speak about, to him being Son of God, but why shouldn't that just mean a son of God in the sense that we are all God's children? Why do you claim he is the unique Son of God?
The answer to that is quite simple. Nowhere does Jesus suggest that he is just another prophet, or another teacher or another good person. When he speaks about his Father in heaven, he does so in terms that no one else would dare use. When he speaks about coming down from heaven, he is using language that cannot be denied is of his pre-existence which no one else can ever claim. When he claims the power to forgive, he doesn't do in a way that suggests any one can. No, Jesus himself speaks in a way that indicates uniqueness. Add to that angelic visitations, divine voices and glowing encounters and Jesus stands out very distinctly.
As an individual he has a unique ministry and so when John the Baptist's disciples come asking questions on John's behalf, Jesus is able to reply as we see in our verses above today. What an amazing catalogue of activities. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. The blind receive their sight? This isn't just a spiritual reference although Jesus did talk about spiritual blindness (e.g. Mt 15:14) but he did literally give back sight to blind people (see Mt 9:27-30, Mt 15:30,31, Mt 20:30-34, Mt 21:14). Lepers were cured and those who were deaf were enabled to hear and, as we have seen, he did raise the dead.
As we've just said, what an amazing catalogue of activities and this wasn't just ones or two but hundred upon hundreds:
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick, (Mt 8:16), and
Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, (Mt 12:15), and
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick, (Mt 14:14) and
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. (Mt 15:30,31), and
Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there, (Mt 19:2) and finally,
The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. (Mt 21:14).
So yes, there have been great healers in history but add this to all that we have noted previously, we find ourselves with the inescapable conclusion that Jesus Christ was a unique individual. Just a unique individual? No, he didn't give us that option! His own claims to unique Sonship deny that. The miracles happen because he is the Son of God, bringing the power of heaven and the goodness and blessing of heaven to earth. Why? Because God had declared that this was His time, the time He had planned to bring this blessing with His Son when, through the angels coming to the shepherds, He declared, Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Lk 2:11) and then, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests. (v.14)
Jesus himself emphasized this favour' of God coming, when he took and applied the Isaiah prophecy in the synagogue at Capernaum: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour. (Lk 4:18,19). The writer to the Hebrews summed it all up: In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Heb 1:1,2) No room there for seeing Jesus as anything other than the unique Son of God! But then that's what all these verses say to anyone with a heart open to see!