Witnesses To His Power

Anyone can make bold claims. Some have even professed to be able to raise the dead. But where is the proof of those claims? Other than one or two devoted (and biased) followers, were there any objective witnesses present to see this supposed power?
In the cases of Jesus’ power over death, there were witnesses. The gospel writers make it a point to note the presence of numerous witnesses who were not initially disposed to believe. They also make it clear that the people whom Jesus raised were verifiably dead.
In Mark 5, Jesus arrived at the house of Jairus too late. This man’s daughter was very ill, and Jairus urgently implored Jesus to come. When the Lord finally arrived, mourners were already present. Jesus’ affirmation that the girl was “sleeping” was met with jeers; the people “laughed him to scorn” (Mark 5:40, NKJV). These people were convinced that the girl was dead. That certainty made the girl’s resurrection all the more astonishing.
Luke told about the son of a widow in the city called Nain. He had died and a large funeral procession was making its way toward the man’s final resting place. Jesus postponed the funeral, however, by calling the young man to “Arise” (Luke 7:14). All those witnesses, certain that death had invaded the widow’s home, were witnesses to the power of Jesus as the man arose.
And then there’s Lazarus, undoubtedly the most famous instance of Jesus’ power over death. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been buried. Martha protested Jesus’ command to roll away the stone: “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39). Yet that sickening odor of decomposing flesh bore compelling testimony that death was truly present. It was a passing presence, though, for Jesus’ command to Lazarus to “Come forth” was met with obedience. Even death does not prevent subjects of the King from responding to heavenly directives!
What do we learn from these episodes? The most obvious lesson is that God’s power transcends that which man is powerless to resist. Death will one day be totally conquered. We will celebrate the death of Death!
But there’s also the more subtle lesson that God provides ample evidence to convince honest inquirers. He doesn’t ask us to take a leap into the dark. Credible witnesses affirm to anyone who is not already biased that these things really did happen.
“For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen … so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

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Tim Hall

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