This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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Jesus often preformed miracles for those who were in difficult or hopeless situations to get them through their present problems, and to encourage them to trust in Him for salvation. At the same time He instructed them not to "live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). But neither those who benefitted from an occasional miraculous intervention, nor Jesus, nor the disciples lived by a continuous flow of miracles – they used ordinary means for daily life. Mostly, the miracles in the ministries of Jesus and the disciples were for the benefit of others and not for themselves.
It is true that we should always look to, pray for, and expect help and guidance from Jesus, but too often we expect the miraculous instead of applying the practical truths contained in God’s Word and administered by the Holy Spirit. The admonition in Matthew 4:4 is not to live by a few, but by the whole of the Word that God has given us. Therefore, we must spend time in and be familiar with the whole of God’s Word so that we can reasonably expect the fulfillment of what Jesus promised; "But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you" (John 14:26).
Jesus had a very difficult task to accomplish when He came to His own and they did not or could not receive or welcome Him; "He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own--His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name-- [Isa. 56:5.] who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God [They are born of God!]" (John 1:11-13).
There was something keeping His own people from receiving what He had come to give them, and as the above passage reveals, those who where able to recognize what He had come to give received new everlasting life – not physical provisions. What kept the majority of His people from receiving what He came to give? As we shall see in the following passages we will examine, it was their preconceived ideas of the will and intent of Almighty God or more simply put, their tradition.
Jesus had just recently feed the multitude of more than 5000 people with just five barley loaves, and two small fish (Jn. 6:9-10). The people seeing this miraculous supply of food began to consider making Jesus their king so that they could always be taken care of in this way, but Jesus knowing that their desires where physical and not spiritual escaped from them (Jn. 6:15), and later on rebuked them for their lack of spiritual understanding, "Jesus answered them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, you have been searching for Me, not because you saw the miracles and signs but because you were fed with the loaves and were filled and satisfied. Stop toiling and doing and producing for the food that perishes and decomposes [in the using], but strive and work and produce rather for the [lasting] food which endures [continually] unto life eternal; the Son of Man will give (furnish) you that, for God the Father has authorized and certified Him and put His seal of endorsement upon Him" (Jn. 6:26-27). Jesus did not come to set up a rescue mission or miraculously supply the people’s physical needs, He even tried to prevent people from telling others that He had healed them (Matt. 8:3-4; Mk. 1:40-45); Jesus came to redeem and reconcile us back unto God, we need to remember this and keep our priorities in order.
Then He began to explain to them how they could receive the spiritual food from God that they so desperately needed, by believing upon the One Whom God had sent to enable them to live true spiritual life.
JOHN 6:48-71.... I am the Bread of Life [that gives life--the Living Bread]. Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and [yet] they died. [But] this is the Bread that comes down from heaven, so that [any]one may eat of it and never die. I [Myself] am this Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever; and also the Bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh (body).
52Then the Jews angrily contended with one another, saying, How is He able to give us His flesh to eat? And Jesus said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, you cannot have any life in you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood [unless you appropriate His life and the saving merit of His blood]. He who feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has (possesses now) eternal life, and I will raise him up [from the dead] on the last day. For My flesh is true and genuine food, and My blood is true and genuine drink. He who feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood dwells continually in Me, and I [in like manner dwell continually] in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live by (through, because of) the Father, even so whoever continues to feed on Me [whoever takes Me for his food and is nourished by Me] shall [in his turn] live through and because of Me. This is the Bread that came down from heaven. It is not like the manna which our forefathers ate, and yet died; he who takes this Bread for his food shall live forever.
There is physical life and there is spiritual life, it is spiritual life that Jesus is here referring to; whoever believes the testimony of God concerning Jesus, takes him into their soul and spirit as food in taken into the body, receives all that Jesus is and what He has promised. This is what Jesus calls, above and in John chapter 15, continually dwelling in Him and He in us; it is nourishing our spirit and soul upon all that Jesus is – to our spiritual satisfaction and delight.
59He said these things in a synagogue while He was teaching at Capernaum. When His disciples heard this, many of them said, This is a hard and difficult and strange saying (an offensive and unbearable message). Who can stand to hear it? [Who can be expected to listen to such teaching?] But Jesus, knowing within Himself that His disciples were complaining and protesting and grumbling about it, said to them: Is this a stumbling block and an offense to you? [Does this upset and displease and shock and scandalize you?] What then [will be your reaction] if you should see the Son of Man ascending to [the place] where He was before? It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life. But [still] some of you fail to believe and trust and have faith. For Jesus knew from the first who did not believe and had no faith and who would betray Him and be false to Him. And He said, This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him [unless he is enabled to do so] by the Father.
66After this, many of His disciples drew back (returned to their old associations) and no longer accompanied Him. Jesus said to the Twelve, Will you also go away? [And do you too desire to leave Me?] Simon Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (the message) of eternal life. And we have learned to believe and trust, and [more] we have come to know [surely] that You are the Holy one of God, the Christ (the Anointed one), the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And [yet] one of you is a devil (of the evil one and a false accuser). He was speaking of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he was about to betray Him, [although] he was one of the Twelve.
As Jesus continued His efforts to explain to them the truth of God in chapters 7-9, the resistance of the religious leaders and the majority of the people grew increasingly hostile and they decided to find a way to destroy Him. One of the ways that they attempted to accomplish this was to have Him condemned for breaking the Sabbath, for the Law says, "You shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy to you; everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does work on the Sabbath shall be cut off from among his people" (Ex. 31:14).
Jesus’ response to the accusations made against Him were,"What man is there among you, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit or ditch on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? How much better and of more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and allowable to do good on the Sabbath days" (Matt. 12:11-12), and "The Sabbath was made on account and for the sake of man, not man for the Sabbath; [Ex. 23:12; Deut. 5:14.] So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28). He also instructed Paul to disclose unto us; "Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:16-17).
The events in chapter nine took place during the Feast of Tabernacles in the latter part of September about 6 months before He was crucified. Jesus claimed to be the light of the world, and the dispenser of God’s truth, but the people could not see it (Jn. 8:12; 31-32); they were blind to the truth because of their tradition. To illustrate their blindness, Jesus, in the ninth chapter, heals the sight of a man who had been blind from his birth – all in violation of their Sabbath tradition.
JOHN 9:1-41.... AS HE passed along, He noticed a man blind from his birth. His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, It was not that this man or his parents sinned, but he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him. We must work the works of Him Who sent Me and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the world's Light. When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made clay (mud) with His saliva, and He spread it [as ointment] on the man's eyes. And He said to him, Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam--which means Sent. So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
The Jews believed that saliva was of some medical value in treating eye problems, and they also believed that it was a violation of the Sabbath to mix saliva with dirt to make mud on that day. Therefore, Jesus deliberately chose this man and used this method to heal the blind man’s eyes to prove that their tradition was wrong, and that He was right in what He had been saying and doing.
8When the neighbors and those who used to know him by sight as a beggar saw him, they said, Is not this the man who used to sit and beg? Some said, It is he. Others said, No, but he looks very much like him. But he said, Yes, I am the man. So they said to him, How were your eyes opened? He replied, The Man called Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and I obtained my sight! They asked him, Where is He? He said, I do not know.
13Then they conducted to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was on the Sabbath day that Jesus mixed the mud and opened the man's eyes. So now again the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. And he said to them, He smeared mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see. Then some of the Pharisees said, This Man [Jesus] is not from God, because He does not observe the Sabbath. But others said, How can a man who is a sinner (a bad man) do such signs and miracles? So there was a difference of opinion among them. Accordingly they said to the blind man again, What do you say about Him, seeing that He opened your eyes? And he said, He is [He must be] a prophet! However, the Jews did not believe that he had [really] been blind and that he had received his sight until they called (summoned) the parents of the man. They asked them, Is this your son, whom you reported as having been born blind? How then does he see now? His parents answered, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind. But as to how he can now see, we do not know; or who has opened his eyes, we do not know. He is of age. Ask him; let him speak for himself and give his own account of it. His parents said this because they feared [the leaders of] the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ, he should be expelled and excluded from the synagogue. On that account his parents said, He is of age; ask him.
24So the second time they summoned the man who had been born blind, and said to him, Now give God the glory (praise). This Fellow we know is only a sinner (a wicked person). Then he answered, I do not know whether He is a sinner and wicked or not. But one thing I do know, that whereas I was blind before, now I see. So they said to him, What did He [actually] do to you? How did He open your eyes? He answered, I already told you and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Can it be that you wish to become His disciples also? And they stormed at him [they jeered, they sneered, they reviled him] and retorted, You are His disciple yourself, but we are the disciples of Moses. We know for certain that God spoke with Moses, but as for this Fellow, we know nothing about where He hails from. The man replied, Well, this is astonishing! Here a Man has opened my eyes, and yet you do not know where He comes from. [That is amazing!] We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and a worshiper of Him and does His will, He listens to him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this Man were not from God, He would not be able to do anything like this. They retorted, You were wholly born in sin [from head to foot]; and do you [presume to] teach us? So they cast him out [threw him clear outside the synagogue].
35Jesus heard that they had put him out, and meeting him He said, Do you believe in and adhere to the Son of Man or the Son of God ? He answered, Who is He, Sir? Tell me, that I may believe in and adhere to Him. Jesus said to him, You have seen Him; [in fact] He is talking to you right now. He called out, Lord, I believe! [I rely on, I trust, I cleave to You!] And he worshiped Him. Then Jesus said, I came into this world for judgment [as a Separator, in order that there may be separation between those who believe on Me and those who reject Me], to make the sightless see and to make those who see become blind. Some Pharisees who were near, hearing this remark, said to Him, Are we also blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin; but because you now claim to have sight, your sin remains. [If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but because you insist, We do see clearly, you are unable to escape your guilt.]
Jesus is still trying to open the eyes of the spiritually blind; what are our contrary preconceived ideas and traditions of God’s truth that are impeding our spiritual eyesight and hindering our spiritual growth? One of them is certainly the idea that Jesus came to supply or guarantee that our physical needs will always be met; there are too many instances to the contrary recorded in the Bible and Church history, where God’s faithful people suffered want and deprivation, to justify the belief that our physical needs will always be met.
Basically considered, wherever there are ample resources, all the people have access to supplies to satisfy their needs – if they will work; "For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat. Indeed, we hear that some among you are disorderly [that they are passing their lives in idleness, neglectful of duty], being busy with other people's affairs instead of their own and doing no work. Now we charge and exhort such persons [as ministers in Him exhorting those] in the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) that they work in quietness and earn their own food and other necessities" (2 Thess. 3:10-12). Therefore, we conclude that it is our responsibility to sensibly go about providing for our own physical necessities to the best of our ability, and that we can not expect God to help or provide for us if we don’t.
To be sensible we need to remember God’s injunctions through His servant Paul; "For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied). But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing. For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs" (1 Tim. 6:7-10). We are also warned against going into excessive debt: "Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one's fellowmen, meeting all its requirements]" (Rom. 13:8). These are some of the things that this ungodly world system seeks after, but we are also warned against adopting its practices; "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]" (Rom. 12:1-2).
Wherever there is a shortage of resources or an evil government, everyone suffers as a result: There was a time, in the days of the apostles, when the saints in Jerusalem were in want and it was necessary for the churches to take up a contribution to relieve them; "Now concerning the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints (God's people): you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do. On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come. And when I arrive, I will send on those whom you approve and authorize with credentials to carry your gift [of charity] to Jerusalem" (1 Cor. 16:1-3). In Biblical days and throughout all history, Christians have suffered justly and unjustly for their association with Christ: "But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle, sometimes being yourselves a gazingstock, publicly exposed to insults and abuse and distress, and sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who were so treated. For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession. Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming one will come and He will not delay. But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. [Hab. 2:3,4.] But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul" (Heb. 10:32-39).
HEBREWS 11:32-40.... And what shall I say further? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, [Judg. 4:1-5; 6:1-8,35; 11:1-12,15; 13:1-16; 1 Sam. 1:1-30:31; 2 Sam. 1:1-24:25; 1 Kings 1:1-2:46; Acts 3:24.] who by [the help of] faith subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, [Dan. 6] extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts. [Dan. 3]
35[Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. [1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:25-37.] Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated– [Men] of whom the world was not worthy--roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth. And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].
So how are we to understand, "And my God will liberally supply ( fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19)? God will accomplish this in the same way that he supplied Paul’s need; "But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)" (2 Cor. 12:9-10). "For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but one Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]" (Heb. 4:15-16).
However, none of what you find in this article should be taken to mean that God will never use miraculous means to relieve suffering or provide for the Church, but only that we do not have any unqualified promise or guarantee that He will! If we rightly understand what God has revealed to us, we will be less likely to become discouraged when He allows us to suffer according to His will; "Therefore, those who are ill-treated and suffer in accordance with God's will must do right and commit their souls [in charge as a deposit] to the one Who created [them] and will never fail [them]" (1 Peter 4:19).
Another passage to consider is; "For such as are blessed of God shall [in the end] inherit the earth, but they that are cursed of Him shall be cut off. [Isa. 57:13 c.] The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread. All day long they are merciful and deal graciously; they lend, and their offspring are blessed. Depart from evil and do good; and you will dwell forever [securely]. For the Lord delights in justice and forsakes not His saints; they are preserved forever, but the offspring of the wicked [in time] shall be cut off. [Then] the [consistently] righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever" (Ps. 37:22-29).
There are two things that need to be noted about the above passage: (1) These promises apply mainly to the nation of Israel and are in regards to the physical earth and the benefits thereof; the promises to the Church are mainly of a spiritual nature and our dwelling place is the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earth. (2) The writer of this Psalm only says that he had never seen the righteous begging, but this does not mean that it never happened.
PROVERBS 1:1-5.... THE PROVERBS (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, that prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth – the wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]. Amen!