Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, November 9, 2014

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In his later years, Thomas Jefferson, 3rd American president, created a new Gospel, which he called: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Using a razor, Jefferson cut and pasted his arrangement of selected verses from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in chronological order. He mingled excerpts from one text to those of another in order to create a single narrative. But in his composition he excluded all sections of the New Testament containing supernatural aspects. In other words, he created his own Gospel without miracles.

Thomas Jefferson could accept Jesus but he could not accept His miracles. However, by excluding miracles from the Gospels we are left with very little of Jesus, because without miracles we cannot fully know who Jesus really is: The Son of God.

When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, the "people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority" (Mat. 7:28-29).  Having placed the Sermon on the Mount in this particular part of the Gospel, Matthew presents the authority of Jesus first in preaching. In this chapter and the next of his Gospel, Matthew then presents Jesus' authority in action.

Matthew's collection of miracles presents a very important demonstration of Jesus' authority. Firstly, Jesus has authority over diseases. Matthew demonstrates it by presenting stories of healing the leper, the centurion’s servant, and Peter’s mother-in-law (verses 1-17).  Secondly, Jesus is presented as the one having authority over nature, when He calms the storm (verses 23-27). Thirdly, Jesus has authority over demonic powers (verses 28-34).

Today we may face illnesses but let us remember that Jesus has authority over them. Our fields may be in danger of drought, but let us remember that Jesus has authority over nature. Finally, we may be tormented by demons, but let us remember that even demons know how powerful Jesus our Lord is.

Oleg Kostyuk
Host of Cross Connection
Hope Channel