“Christ is the power of God.”
1. Why could Paul say that “Christ is the power of God”?
JEHOVAH displayed his power through Jesus Christ in extraordinary ways. The four Gospels provide faith-strengthening details about some of the miracles that Christ performed. Likely, he performed many other miracles. (Matt. 9:35; Luke 9:11) Yes, God’s power was manifested in Jesus. For good reason, then, the apostle Paul could say about him: “Christ is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24) Yet, what bearing can Jesus’ miracles have on our life?
2. What can we learn from Jesus’ miracles?
2 The apostle Peter said that Jesus performed miracles, or “wonders.” (Acts 2:22) The powerful works that Jesus did on earth were foregleams of even grander blessings to come under his kingly rule. They foreshadow the miracles that Jesus will perform in God’s new world on a global scale! His miracles also give us tremendous insight into his personality and that of his Father. Let us consider a few of Jesus’ miracles and see what effect they can have on our life now and in the future.
A MIRACLE THAT TEACHES GENEROSITY
3. (a) Describe the circumstances that led to Jesus’ first miracle. (b) How was Jesus’ generosity highlighted at Cana?
3 At a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus performed his first miracle. The number of guests may have been greater than expected. But whatever the case, the wine ran out. Among the guests was Mary, Jesus’ mother. For years, she had no doubt pondered all the prophetic promises associated with her son, who she knew would be called “Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:30-32; 2:52) Did she believe that in him there were powers not yet revealed? What is evident is that at Cana, Mary and Jesus felt compassion for the newly married couple and wanted to save them embarrassment. Jesus knew that hospitality was a duty. So he miraculously turned some 100 gallons (380 L) of water into “fine wine.” (Read John 2:3, 6-11.) Was Jesus obligated to perform this miracle? No. He simply cared about people and was imitating his heavenly Father by being generous.
4, 5. (a) What lesson does Jesus’ first miracle teach us? (b) What does the miracle at Cana teach us about the future?
4 Jesus miraculously provided a large amount of fine wine, enough for a sizable group. Do you see what this miracle teaches us? That Jesus would willingly perform such a marvelous deed assures us that people’s feelings are important to him and to his Father. Neither Father nor Son is stingy. Now imagine how Jehovah will use his power generously in the new world to provide a rich banquet “for all the peoples” earth wide.
5 Think of it! A time is coming when legitimate needs and desires
6. For whom did Jesus use his miraculous power, and how can we imitate him in this regard?
6 It is of interest that when the Devil tempted Jesus to turn stones into loaves of bread, Christ refused to use his miraculous power to satisfy his personal desires. (Matt. 4:2-4) But he did use his power to respond to and satisfy the needs of others. How can we imitate Jesus’ unselfish concern for others? He encouraged God’s servants to “practice giving.” (Luke 6:38) Can we show the noble quality of generosity by inviting others to our home to share a meal and a spiritual feast? Can we be generous with our time after a meeting, aiding someone in need, such as by listening to a brother practice his talk? What help might we be able to offer to those needing assistance in the ministry? We show that we have learned from Jesus by generously providing material and spiritual things to others as we are able.
“ALL ATE AND WERE SATISFIED”
7. What situation will exist as long as this system of things lasts?
7 Poverty is not new. Jehovah told ancient Israel that there would never cease to be poor ones in the land. (Deut. 15:11) Centuries later, Jesus acknowledged: “You always have the poor with you.” (Matt. 26:11) Did Jesus mean that there would always be poor people on the earth? No, he meant that there would be poor people as long as this corrupt system of things lasts. Therefore, how heartening it is to understand that Jesus’ miracles serve as portents of better times ahead under Kingdom rule when all will have plenty to eat and be satisfied!
8, 9. (a) What led to Jesus’ miracle of feeding thousands of people? (b) What touches you about the miraculous feeding of thousands?
8 The psalmist said of Jehovah: “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:16) Reflecting his Father, ‘Christ, the power of God,’ frequently opened his hand and satisfied the desires of his followers. His doing so was not merely an expression of power. He was guided by his heartfelt concern for others. Let us consider Matthew 14:14-21. (Read.) Jesus’ disciples came to him to discuss the food situation. Not only may they themselves have been hungry but they were concerned about the plight of the famished and weary crowd that had followed Jesus on foot from the cities. (Matt. 14:13) What would he do?
9 With five loaves and two fish, Jesus fed about 5,000 men, as well as women and children! Are we not touched to think of the way Jesus used his miraculous power to care compassionately for entire families, including the little ones? The crowds “ate and were satisfied.” This suggests that there was an abundant supply of food. Jesus kindly provided, not a mere taste of bread, but a meal that would sustain the crowds for their long journey back home. (Luke 9:10-17) And 12 baskets were filled with the leftovers!
10. What change as to poverty will soon occur?
10 Today the basic needs of hundreds of millions of people go unmet because of unjust human rule. Even some of our brothers, though having enough to subsist on, are not fully “satisfied.” However, the time is near for obedient mankind to enjoy a world free of corruption and poverty. If you had the power, would you not satisfy man’s needs? Almighty God does have both the power and the desire to do just that
11. Why are you convinced that Christ will soon use his power earth wide, and what are you thus moved to do?
11 When on earth, Jesus worked in a relatively small territory for a limited time of three and a half years. (Matt. 15:24) As a glorified King, his territory will extend to the four corners of the earth. (Ps. 72:8) Jesus’ miracles give us confidence in his ability and his desire soon to use his authority for our good. Though we cannot perform miracles, we can enthusiastically draw people’s attention to God’s inspired Word. Bible prophecies guarantee better times ahead. As dedicated Witnesses of Jehovah who possess this precious knowledge about the future, do we not sense that we have a debt toward others? (Rom. 1:14, 15) May meditating on this move us to tell others the good news of God’s Kingdom.
CONTROL OF EARTH’S NATURAL FORCES
12. Why may we be sure that Jesus fully understands earth’s ecology?
12 With his only-begotten Son beside him as “a master worker,” God created the earth and the things on it. (Prov. 8:22, 30, 31; Col. 1:15-17) Thus, Jesus fully understands earth’s ecology. He knows how to use, manage, and distribute earth’s resources fairly and properly.
13, 14. Give an example of how Christ can exercise control over the forces of nature.
13 When on earth, Jesus showed that he is “the power of God” by exercising control over the forces of nature. Consider how Jesus dealt with a windstorm that appeared to threaten the lives of his disciples. (Read Mark 4:37-39.) One Bible scholar notes: “The Greek word [for “windstorm” at Mark 4:37] is used of a furious storm or hurricane. It never refers to a single gust . . . but to a storm breaking forth from black thunder-clouds in furious gusts, with floods of rain, and throwing everything topsy-turvy.” Matthew’s account describes this windstorm as “a great storm.”
14 Picture the scene: Christ is exhausted from his demanding ministry. The waves are pounding the ship, hurling spray and foam into the boat. Yet, despite the noise of the storm and the violent pitching of the boat, Jesus continues to sleep. His body needs rest. The frightened disciples wake Jesus up and exclaim: “We are about to perish!” (Matt. 8:25) Rousing himself, Jesus commands the wind and the sea with the words: “Hush! Be quiet!” and the raging wind stops. (Mark 4:39) Jesus is, in effect, commanding the wind and the sea to be quiet and to stay that way. The result? “A great calm set in.” What power Jesus displays!
15. How has Almighty God shown himself to be capable of controlling the forces of nature?
15 The Source of Christ’s power is Jehovah himself, so we have reason to believe that Almighty God is fully capable of controlling the forces of nature. Consider a few examples. Before the Flood, Jehovah stated: “In just seven days, I will make it rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.” (Gen. 7:4) Similarly, at Exodus 14:21, we read: “Jehovah drove the sea back with a strong east wind.” And we read at Jonah 1:4: “Jehovah hurled a strong wind at the sea, and there was such a violent storm on the sea that the ship was about to be wrecked.” It is encouraging to know that Jehovah can control the elements. Clearly, planet Earth’s future is in good hands.
16. Why is it reassuring to know that our Creator and his firstborn Son have power over natural forces?
16 How reassuring it is to contemplate the awesome power of our Creator and his “master worker.” When their full attention is directed toward the earth for the 1,000 years, all people will dwell in security. Terrifying natural disasters will be a thing of the past. There will be no reason to fear being harmed by typhoons, tsunamis, volcanoes, or earthquakes in the new world. How wonderful it is to think of the time when no natural forces will kill or maim, for “the tent of God [will be] with mankind”! (Rev. 21:3, 4) We can be assured that the power of God exercised through Christ will control the forces of nature during the Millennium.
IMITATE GOD AND CHRIST NOW
17. What is one way that we can imitate God and Christ now?
17 Of course, unlike Jehovah and Jesus, we cannot prevent natural disasters, but we do have some power. How do we use it? One way is by applying Proverbs 3:27. (Read.) When our brothers suffer hardships, we can comfort and support them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. (Prov. 17:17) For example, we may help them recover from a natural disaster. Listen to one widow’s heartfelt expression of thanks after a hurricane badly damaged her home: “I am so deeply grateful to be in Jehovah’s organization, not only for the physical help but also for the spiritual help.” And note the comments of one single sister who felt hopeless and perplexed after seeing the damage done to her home by a storm. Upon receiving help, she said: “It is indescribable! I am unable to express totally how I feel . . . Thank you, Jehovah!” We rejoice that we are part of a brotherhood that genuinely cares about the needs of others. A greater cause for gladness is that Jehovah and Jesus Christ really care for God’s people.
18. What is impressive about Jesus’ motive for performing miracles?
18 During his ministry, Jesus proved that he is “the power of God.” But what was Jesus’ motive? Never do we see him using his power to impress others or to benefit himself. Indeed, the miracles Jesus performed reveal the love he has for the human family. We will see that in the next article.