Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 29, 2023

Jesus Does Apologetics with Miracles

(3 Minute Read. 29Mar2023)

Healing of the Paralytic at Capernaum
(James Tissot painting c. 1886-1894)

Did Jesus Himself ever do apologetics?

You might be surprised by how He did it and by how often.

Apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith using reason and logic. Part of it involves arguing that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-Man, God in human flesh.

In a spectacle impossible to ignore or misunderstand, early in His ministry Jesus made precisely this case. He made the case for His own Deity in a way that was compelling logically, physically, and emotionally via a miracle of creation.

Healing of the Paralytic

Three of the gospels relate the dramatic events of the miracle and its poignant human context. See Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26; Matthew 9:1–8.

Jesus told a paralytic who had been brought to Him for healing,
Son, your sins are forgiven.

This astounding statement by Jesus caused the scribes and Pharisees to think, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?

The scribes and Pharisees were correct. God alone can forgive sins.

Aware of what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking, Jesus said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins — I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.

By claiming the authority to forgive sin, a prerogative that belongs to God alone, Jesus was claiming to be God. To back up this claim, He performed a miracle of creation by healing the paralytic. This involved creating new nerves and muscles to enable the paralytic to stand, take up his pallet, and walk away.

Just as nobody can forgive sin except God, so nobody can create new nerves and muscles to heal a paralytic except the Great Creator.

This was Jesus’ point when He asked the scribes and Pharisees, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’?

Of those two declarations by Jesus, one had an outcome that was visible to everyone. It was strikingly evident that the Lord Jesus Christ did indeed have the power to re-construct and animate the human body. In essence Jesus was saying, “This is how you know I really can do the invisible one also.”

Turning Water to Wine

Jesus’ first miracle of his ministry was also a miracle of creation which had an apologetic effect. He turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana
(John 2:1-11).

When the wedding celebration ran out of wine, Jesus had the servants fill six large stone water jars with water, holding 20-30 gallons each. In an instant Jesus turned about 150 gallons of water into first-class wine.

This was a major miracle of creation because most of the ingredients in wine are not in water. A water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. Just hydrogen and oxygen — that’s all!

Wine, however, has over 1,000 additional compounds that are not in water. Its chemistry is very complex. Wine has ethanol, glycerol, tannins, anthocyanins, phenolics, flavonols, organic acids, sugars, proteins, sulfites, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, methoxypyrazines, and many other compounds.

From where did all these different compounds come to make the wine? Jesus the Creator called them into being. Most of these additional compounds involve carbon atoms. Jesus had to create the carbon and all the other elements involved other than the hydrogen and oxygen in water. He arranged the molecules with finesse — in a way that delighted the human palate. The chief caterer was astonished at how good it tasted.

This initial miracle also had an apologetic effect. Turning water into wine is not a big deal for the Creator of the universe. But it would be a huge deal for anyone else. Thus it was a clear sign indicating Jesus’ identity. John reports that the result of the miracle was that His disciples believed in Him (John 2:11). (Click Who Got Married at Cana? for more about the wedding.)

As we read the historical reports of these two miracles, may we be like the people who saw Jesus heal the paralytic. Mark, Luke, and Matthew report that they were all amazed and struck with astonishment and filled with fear and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

May God grant us the eyes of the people of Capernaum and Cana to see the truth about Jesus. These miracles are stirring challenges to acknowledge the deity of Jesus of Nazareth as the Great Creator and trust Him for salvation from sin and eternal death.

See Jesus Does Apologetics for Jesus’ verbal arguments asserting His Deity.

Questions to Ponder

1. What can you do today to build up your apologetics arsenal in defense of faith in Jesus?
2. Do you notice how the miracles around you daily testify to the Great Creator’s authority and artistry?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom.
Alere Flammam Veritatis.
Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 14th article in the series on Apologists in the Bible. An apologist is one who gives a logical argument in defense of faith in God.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics
5. Jesus Does Apologetics
6. Job Gets a Dose of Apologetics
7. Matthew Does Apologetics with a Sword
8. David Does Apologetics with a Sling
9. Luke Does Apologetics with a Pen
(with video)
10. Moses Does Apologetics with Plagues
11. Jude Urges Apologetics
12. Man Born Blind Does Apologetics
13. Stephen Does Apologetics

Read the sequel:
15. Saul Dives In With Apologetics

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 29, 2023 A.D.

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

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